Former Miss Universe Malaysia Samantha Brahmacharini has apologized for racist remarks she made about black people suffering injustices at the hands of police in the United States. Brahmacharini, who was crowned in 2017, posted on her Instagram story that black people should “relax” and take instances of racism as “a challenge” amid the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd. After facing intense backlash for her tone deaf June 1 post, she took to Instagram again with an apologetic message: “I do hear you, I’m sorry, I know you’re hurting. I know it’s unfair. I’m not in your shoes to understand this fully,” she began.
“I understand a lot of people have shared that could have phrased my content differently, and I accept that I am responsible for my words,” she continued. “I will make sure I articulate my speech in a proper manner. To clear the air, yes I did poorly articulate myself when writing ‘black people chose to be black’ and ‘to the black people, relax, take it as a challenge, it makes you stronger.’ If I had been more attentive in how I wrote it, the message would off [sic] been understood as a heartfelt message to all victims of racism be it any colour [sic].”
Brahmacharini didn’t exactly acknowledge that what she wrote was racist. She included a bizarre message about why she believes that people “choose” to be born different races. “What I meant by ‘black people chose to be black’ is that throughout my journey I have learned that we are more than just this temporary physical body, like an avatar, merely a tiny speck of dust in this vast infinite universe,” Brahmacharini wrote. “We tend to overlook that from time to time. In our process toward evolution as a human being, on earth. We chose our body, our family, our place of birth, our name and our lessons from the path we take tailor made for us.”
Her original message was shocking: “To the black people, relax, take it as a challenge, it makes you stronger. You chose to be born as a ‘coloured’ person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson. Accept it as it is, till now hunger and poverty still exists. It is what it is. It’s inevitable. Best you can do is remain calm, protect heart [sic], don’t allow it to crumble. That’s your responsibility. Of course this is to the ones who understand this level and state of mind. Not for everyone. Everyone grows at a different rate.”
Brahmacharini’s comments come as thousands protest across the United States for Floyd and other victims of police violence. As the protesters march and demand change, they have been teargassed and hit with rubber bullets and flash bombs. Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he gasped for air and said he couldn’t breathe. After national upset and protests beginning in Minneapolis, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder.
President Donald Trump has called for violence against the protesters, tweeting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter flagged the tweet for “glorifying violence.” He issued an executive order the next day in attempt to shut down social media. Trump threatened on June 1 to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 — enabling the military to combat US citizens. It came after peaceful protesters outside the White House were teargassed as he headed to a nearby church for a photo op.