Monday, August 22, 2011

Vanessa Willams and the Firsts

First and second which was later first
I don’t have to fact-check this article.  I saw it happen from the comfort of my parents living room.

I watched the Miss America Pageant when Vanessa Williams won.  I remember the lavender dress and the tulle.  I remember her singing happy days are here again – the old Barbra Streisand version.  There was a big hubbub when she won because she was black and there had never been a black Miss America before.  It ended up that year produced two black Miss Americas when Suzette Charles took her place. 

The next year was another first.  Sharlene Wells was a Mormon - Light blue dress with crystals on the shoulder.  She sang in Spanish while she played the harp. The fist Mormon Miss Amercia.

I remember thinking that there were a whole lot of firsts going on. In my head I made up a few  firsts of my own.

First Miss Congeniality that was half Filipino, half Eskimo, half Jehovah Witness, from Bozeman Montana.

First time that Miss America was crowned in a complete black-out.

First time that back to back, blond, singing Miss Oklahoma’s won.  Okay, that was real.
So, what do we do when we run out of firsts?  When we realize that a black Miss America is just as good as a tan one, or that the Mormon girl can do the job just as well as a Protestant or a Catholic?

The creating of the "firsts" list  is our attempt to acknowledge, encourage and support the breaking down of barriers - like the first catholic president, or the first non BCS bowl national champions.

Recently, a man who is openly SGAttracted was called to a position of leadership in his ward bishopric.  Another first.

What do we do when we find out that a gay priesthood holder can be just as worthy to hold the priesthood as a straight one? When we discover that you are just as good/important/worthy as I am of love and blessings?

The  "firsts" are coming faster and faster.  When we realize that many limitations are self imposed, old standards - silly ones that tell us that we can’t -  are falling off like paper-mache shackles in a Frankenstein movie. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if the "FIRSTS" are done as much out of acceptance, or if it is just those in the media trying to make something interesting. How about a gay Miss America?