Indy 500 Has Trouble Finding Non-White Princesses

Indy 500 Princesses 2013

The Indy 500 has a crew of “princesses” that serve as ambassadors of IndyCar racing and the 500 Festival. This year, like many years, the 33-woman crew is made up of white women exclusively. And that’s not exactly an unusual situation for the festival to find itself in. As The Indianapolis Star‘s Erika D. Smith points out, the princesses don’t tend to demonstrate a whole lot of racial or ethnic diversity. But according to festival organizers, they’ve actually been trying to recruit a more diverse corps of princesses; they’ve just been having a really hard time getting applicants.

It’s not for a lack of trying to change that. Both the 500 Festival and IndyCar, separate entities that run 500-related events and the race, say they want to broaden their audience to boost participation and attendance. The future depends on it.

So I believe the 500 Festival’s communications manager, Megan Bulla, when she says the organizers do their best to recruit minorities to be princesses.

A coordinator makes the rounds to colleges all over the state and meets with student groups and sororities. They venture out to churches and synagogues. And in the past, she says the 500 Festival has worked with black newspaper, The Indianapolis Recorder, to get the word out.

It doesn’t always work out, though.

“We really didn’t have many people of diverse backgrounds apply,” Bulla said of this year’s princesses.

A couple hundred people apply to be princesses every year, and the festival has managed to attract some princesses of color in the past.

To be a princess, a woman must be an Indiana resident and a full-time college student between the ages of 18 and 23 who has no children and has never been married. The application form does not ask prospective princesses to disclose their heritage. At the end of the princess pageant, one of them will be crowned queen, and the queen gets a $2,500 scholarship. The regular princesses don’t get scholarships, but being one of the Indy 500 princesses carries bragging rights in some circles, and maybe they get to keep those jaunty pageant sashes or something.

Via The Indianapolis Star/Photo: Twitter/500Festival

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    • Tusconian

      Before the beauty pageant can reasonably expect black, Asian, and Latina women to apply, they need to make the sport a bit more…..welcoming to people of color. While in some (almost exclusively white) circles being the Indy 500 princess may award bragging rights, in the circles I’ve traveled in, both black and white, “Indiana + car racing = unsafe, stay away.” Maybe they should work on their overall image instead of focusing on getting a few black applicants, who almost certainly will not win, to be objectified almost exclusively by white men in some barely known pageant with a pretty crappy prize.

    • Tremley

      Diversity always just means less white people.
      This is a white country founded by white people for white people, if you want
      black nascar go to africa and set it up. Good luck getting large groups of
      people together without somebody being shot or raped. The number of black
      players in the nfl and nba are totally disproportionate to their percentage of
      the population and they just keep pushing for more. They will not be happy until
      all white people are gone.

      • Cee

        Oh god, just shut up.

      • Rhapsodyy89

        Yeah, because white people “founded” America right? It wasn’t already filled with Native Americans or anything, the white people just came and found this totally empty lot of land and founded it with the thought of “We need to build a new, whites-only continent, so our future generations can have a whites-only ‘sport’ where we just drive around in cars.” Stop being a racist d-bag please and thanks.

      • Tremley

        The oldest skeleton found in America is of a White European! Dated over 30,000 years before the first indian ever stepped foot in the Americas.
        Google “Ice age Columbus” or “first Americans”

      • CMJ

        Trrooollllllllllllllllllll….in the dungeon!

        (Just thought you should know!)

      • Tusconian

        Founded by white people, who packed up a bunch of black people to build everything and plant all the crops, took them to an already inhabited land full of brown people, waited a while, then decided to have the Chinese come build the railway. If white people wanted such a segregated society, maybe they should have stayed in Europe and stopped trading with Africa, Asia, and the Middle East while they were at it.

      • LEE

        Maybe because everything you mentioned iS based on TALENT and i really dont think that there are very many people looking for all the white people gone. JUST THE ONES LIKE YOU. North America was already here, by the way a group of people called NATIVE AMERICANS were already here, but why let facts get in the way and the last time i took a look the vast majority of MASS SHOOTINGS at SCHOOLS, WORKPLACES ETC weren`t being committed by BLACK PEOPLE, but by people that look the way that you probably look. But you keep your head in the sand and keep spouting your RACIST B.S. because TIMES ARE CHANGING.

    • Tremley

      No “anti-racists” say a 100% Black area needs more diversity.

      No “anti-racists” say a 100% Asian area needs more diversity.

      No “anti-racists” say a 100% Muslim area needs more diversity.

      According to “anti-racists”, they are already 100% diverse.

      They say ALL & ONLY White area need to be more diverse, and that White areas only stop needing to be more diverse when there are no White people left in them.

      Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

    • Tremley

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Countries

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Towns

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Neighbourhoods

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Schools

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Classes

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Sports

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White Anything

      Anti-Whites say there should be no White people

      Anti-racist is a codeword for anti White.

    • Tusconian

      Also, this is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Breezy

      I’m hesitant to comment, but I want new readers to be aware that the “Tremley” is not an accurate representation of the average gloss reader. There’s often some lively debate between commenters with the occasional asshole troll or two. Not usually a full-on white supremacist.

    • Tee Thompson

      They all have McDonald’s butts and attitudes.

    • Sean Seamus

      “…full-time college student with no children…”
      Well, that eliminates a huge chunk of the non-white population.

    • Amber

      I would like to point out that it is NOT a beauty pageant. The girls are never judged on their looks. Secondly, girls apply because it’s the experience of a lifetime. Not for the scholarship and the sash. Race 100% has nothing to do with this program. Attending the Indy 500 this year, the crowd was VERY diverse. In order to have there be more diverse princesses these women have to apply. The festival cannot make women of color apply. That’s their decision. The program has not marketed itself as “all white” and has not avoided marketing themselves to different races. These 33 women are intelligent, driven, genuine, caring individuals. For you all to criticize them because there is no “diversity” is pitiful and the women and the festival should not be faulted for that. It’s simple. Apply. These women work hard to uphold the traditions and morals of the festival and the Indy 500.