Kara McCullough, a Black woman and HBCU graduate working as a Nuclear Chemist that showcases her natural hair, is the new Miss USA. Her victory makes back-to-back wins for the District of Columbia and Black women.
Her win should be a reason to celebrate, but the celebration has been tainted by the controversy regarding McCullough’s startling comments on healthcare and feminism during the pageant.
When asked if she thought affordable healthcare is a right or a privilege, McCullough said that it is a privilege. “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” said McCullough. “As a government employee, I am granted health care, and I can see firsthand that for one to have healthcare, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment [so] that we’re given the opportunity to have healthcare as well as jobs [for] all the American citizens worldwide.”
In reference to feminism, McCullough said she doesn’t consider herself a feminist. “As a woman scientist in the government, I’ve liked to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism.” She added, “Women are just as equal to men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”
In a country publicly divided by liberal and conservative ideals, her comments wouldn’t appease all. Social media users expressed that a woman with her education and background should be advocating for healthcare rights and feminism. McCullough’s comments were labeled conservative and safe, but there were also many users that shared their agreement with her responses.
Today McCullough talked to Good Morning America host Michael Strahan to clarify her statements on healthcare and feminism. “I am privileged to have healthcare, and I do believe it should be a right,” she said.
While talking about her feminism comments, she honed in on the point that her comments on feminism came from her lens as a government scientist and that she is a champion for women’s rights. “I don’t want anyone to look at it as if I’m not all about women’s rights, because I am.”
After her appearance on GMA, some users said she was backpedaling and others said she was just expounding on her original statements to add more clarity like she said during the interview.
Whether her stance was right or wrong, it appears McCullough will choose her words more carefully from here on out. — Congratulations to the new Miss USA, Kara McCullough!