A University of Michigan student says she was dismissed as a participant for Miss World America because of her conservative political views.
Kathy Zhu, who studies political science at the University of Michigan, wrote on Twitter last week that the Miss World America organization sent a letter accusing her of being "racist Islamophobic and insensitive" and stripped her of her Miss Michigan title due to several offensive tweets she'd sent over the last few years.
The dust-up stemmed from two now-deleted tweets Zhu posted under the username @PoliticalKathy. In the first, Zhu had recounted an incident in which she went up to a Muslim Student Association booth celebrating World Hijab Day while she was still a student at the University of Central Florida and rejected their offer to wear a hijab.
"There is a 'try a hijab on' booth at my college campus. So you're telling me that it's now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?"
Zhu's tweet immediately went viral with thousands of Twitter users chiming in on her comments, calling them racist and insensitive, including one woman who claimed to be the person in the photo.
"I invited you to try one on and you said ‘no thank you,’" the woman wrote. "You didn’t take the time to even ask questions or try to understand what Hijab is. That’s ignorant of you. You literally sprinted after taking the photos. That’s pathetic."
Following the backlash to her tweet, Zhu transferred to the University of Michigan.
The second tweet was in response to another Twitter user in which she writes:
"Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community before blaming others."
Zhu defended her comments as applying to all communities.
"If there is a problem, fix things in your own community before lashing out at others and trying to find an issue there. That is all I wanted to say. It is not a problem against black people," Zhu told USA Today. "Obviously I am not racist or stuff like that."
According to the U.S. News and World Report, the data actually says that the "vast majority of homicide victims are killed by people of their own race," because "people tend to kill who they know."
Zhu, who was born in China and grew up in Kissimmee, regularly posts about her political views on her Instagram and Twitter accounts, and has become an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump. She says Miss World America should be more specific and clearly define what "insensitive" means as she does not believe she posted anything offensive.
Photo: Kathy Zhu