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Miss Universe and the Diversity Dilemma

     The new Miss Universe has been crowned.  We would offer our congratulations if it were possible to identify her from the other contestants.  Despite the increasing self-congratulation of Western Civilization regarding its perceived progress in achieving diversity, the international beauty pageant is a venue that looks anything but international.  There appear to be two conflicting worlds in play.  One is the world we know, the world whose people have uniqueness in ethnicity and culture.  The other is the homogenized world that features a monolithic population.  In this latter world, there is room for only slight variations on a single theme.  There appear to be one culture, one thought stream, and even one race.

     The picture of the latest Miss Universe crowning tells which of the competing worlds has triumphed (at least in the realm of high profile beauty competitions).  In the real world, it is hard to conceive a way in which Miss Venezuela might closely resemble Miss Great Britain or how Miss Vietnam might be practically a doppelganger for Miss Poland.  Prior to the contest, one internet news site featured photos of every young woman who would be competing for the title.  While scanning the parade of faces, you might have found it all too easy to lose your place.  If the phone rang while you were viewing Miss Korea, you might return to the gallery, stumble on Miss Australia, and believe that was where you left off.  Thailand, Cambodia, Brazil or Nicaragua, the look was essentially the same.  Only the slightest shades of hair and skin tone separated one from the other.  And this goes for Miss Nairobi as well.  She was difficult to distinguish from Miss China. The effect was that of a multicultural Barbie collection in which the same face is repeated in different tones.

     So when you are told that the world has progressed from that unhappy Stone Age in which a single race and a single cultural mindset ruled the world, be skeptical.  Ask Miss Universe – ask ANY Miss Universe – and you’ll probably get a single, calming reply in a familiar – too familiar, in fact – vocal tone and style. 


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