Former Miss M'sia Sparks Outrage Over Insensitive Comments On #BlackLivesMatter Protests

According to Samantha Katie James, African Americans "chose" to be born as a "coloured person" in America.

Cover image via Roshanis Shukri/New Straits Times & Daily Express

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization's statement.

A former Miss Universe Malaysia is receiving flak over her insensitive comments on the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests in the US and many other countries

Miss Universe Malaysia 2017 Samantha Katie James, who is known for wearing a nasi lemak dress in the international beauty pageant three years ago, had taken to her Instagram Story today, 1 June, to tell African Americans to "relax" and take the current controversy as a "lesson".

She has 160,000 followers on her Instagram.

Former Miss Universe Malaysia Samantha Katie James dressed in a nasi lemak gown during the national costume category in the international beauty pageant held in Las Vegas on 26 November 2017.

Image via Roshanis Shukri/New Straits Times

It is believed that Samantha made the comments in reference to the nationwide protests in the US that were triggered over George Floyd's death, a black man who was suffocated to death by a white police officer kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis last Monday, 25 May.

Floyd's death was captured in videos. The Minneapolis police officer was heard telling Floyd to "relax", despite Floyd not showing any signs of resistance and repeatedly telling the officer "I can't breath".

The act of police brutality launched a series of demonstrations in the nation in the following days, with thousands of protesters calling the government to take action to resolve the underlying systematic discrimination against black people.

Samantha posted the controversial Instagram Stories at around 12pm today and screenshots have since been shared on Twitter

She started by claiming that white people have won because people responded with "rage and anguish".

"That means it has power over you. They (white people) have power over you. Foolish humans," wrote Samantha.

"I don't mean the riot. I mean everyone else who has nothing to do with it, but so busybody."

"Most people mindlessly follow what the masses do, creating unnecessary anguish."

Image via KRCR News

When a netizen replied to her Stories, telling her that this is how people who have been oppressed respond to injustice in order to demand change, Samantha said, "Fighting never solves anything."

She then changed the subject by mentioning children are dying from hunger and the amount of inhumanity among humans towards each other, before rambling about her happiness.

"Am I happy? Yes, I am happy. I'm happy because it's spring, I'm happy because people are having babies, I'm happy for a million reasons," Samantha said.

"Am I sad? Yes, I'm sad because every 45 seconds a child dies needlessly from hunger and the amount of inhumanity among humans to each other and to other species... at this moment, I'm both happy and sad."

"As long as you try to stay in the world of polarities, happy, sad, dark, light, positive, negative, good and evil, you cannot experience the richness of the moment which lies just behind the two."

She went on to say African Americans "chose" to be a "coloured person" in the country

"To the black people, relax. Take it as a challenge, makes you stronger," she said, adding that this philosophy can only be comprehended by people who have a certain "level and state of mind".

You chose to be born as a 'coloured' person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson.

"Accept it as it is. Until now, hunger and poverty still exist. It is what it is. It's inevitable. The best you can do is remain calm, protect the heart, don't allow it to crumble. That's your responsibility."

After claiming that the act of police brutality is inevitable, Samantha said she welcomed her followers to ask her questions to clear any of their confusion.

When a netizen criticised her for her misplaced comparison with other issues, Samantha simply shook it off with sarcastic responses

In an attempt to knock some sense into Samantha, a netizen said the act of police brutality is evitable, contending that the current worldwide protests are an effort to demand change.

"George Floyd's death is just the tip of the iceberg. There have been many deaths and this has hit the very top of the people's patience. How long do you expect them to stay silent?" the netizen asked.

However, the model - who was raised in an Indian household and is of Chinese and Brazilian parentage - made a counter argument by saying her "whiteness" had caused her a lot of discrimination in Malaysian schools, with the headmistress telling her not to bring Western culture to school. 

She then posted the netizen's story on her profile without censoring the person's Instagram handle.

"You want attention, nah take (sic)," Samantha challenged the person.

In many other screenshots where she mocked netizens for calling her out, Samantha showed no remorse over her comments and even laughed at some of the netizens' attempts for telling her she is wrong

At the time of writing, a tweet carrying screenshots of Samantha's Instagram Stories has gone viral with over 32,000 retweets

Her comments have made "Miss Universe Malaysia" and "Samantha" trend on Twitter as of press time.

Many netizens were baffled by her comments, saying that she must either be under the influence of substances or living in the world of The Sims, a popular life simulation video game.

Image via Twitter

A netizen has also launched a petition calling on the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO) to strip the beauty pageant queen of her title.

MUMO has since responded to the controversy in a statement on Twitter at 8.15pm today

The organisation said it was dismayed to hear Samantha's comments and noted it as "inappropriate, offensive, unacceptable, and hurtful".

The statement also explained that as of June 2018, Samantha no longer represents the organisation. Therefore, the view expressed by her was solely her own.

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