The winner of the Miss Black University of Texas is taking the high road after critics on social media claimed she’s “not black enough.”

Congratulations to our 2017 Miss Black University of Texas! We thank our lovely contestants, as well as everyone else who came to support!👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/yEva52wpSp

— Iota Delta NUPEs (@ID_NUPEs) May 2, 2017

Rachael Malonson, who is biracial, was crowned on Sunday. The event was hosted by Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity.

In a Facebook post after her win, Malonson said she was at first reluctant to take part in the pageant because of her mixed race.

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Ok so I did my creeping on ol girl who won that black pageant….she shouldn’t have won.

— Chocolatey Socrates (@ShawtiBroCuz_) May 3, 2017

@nyleswashington @ID_NUPEs @RachaelMalonson @WhatUpDoeDoe @Emma_mattie @Davidallen_3 Let me ask a better question … is she black ?

— D’Antrese (@dantreselove) May 3, 2017
— Tae🌊🍍 (@_golden_tae) May 3, 2017

“I challenged myself by vulnerably expressing obstacles I face as a biracial woman and was not going to leave the stage without letting others know that my blessings and strength are in Christ alone,” she wrote.

Wow. It’s really beautiful to see how the black community at UT will come together and stand up for their brothers and sisters❤️

— Rachael Malonson (@RachaelMalonson) May 2, 2017

A time that was supposed to make me feel worthless turned into a beautiful reminder that I have true brothers and sisters at UT❤️

— Rachael Malonson (@RachaelMalonson) May 2, 2017

But soon after she was crowned, Twitter trolls said she should not have won the pageant because, quite simply, she didn’t actually identify as African American.

Malonson, a broadcasting and journalism student at the University of Texas, according to her Twitter profile, seems to have taken the criticism in stride. In a Twitter post, she thanked everyone who came out and supported her, particularly those in the African American community.

In a story in the Daily Texan, a student newspaper, Malonson said she has long struggled with her mixed heritage because no one could figure out where she was from. So many people thought she was Hispanic, she said, that she started to believe it herself – even though she was not.

“I remember I felt so insecure because people didn’t understand who I was by my look,” Malonson said. “I’m confident in it now and see it as a unique trait where I’m able to teach people that not every black person (and) not every mixed person looks the same way.”

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