Racism in the Royal family

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Many news channels have been buzzing with the latest startling news that was brought to light through Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. Those in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Canada, amongst many others, have been questioning whether the claims made by both Meghan and Harry are plausible. That being said, I find it interesting that the conversation is avoiding focusing on another facet: whether the allegations voiced are condemnable. It is incredibly strange to me that the blatant racist remarks Archie faced prior to his birth are being ignored by many. This is not something to push off for later – this is a serious statement that brings to light the differential treatment of those of colour (in particular, those who are Black and Indigenous) living in predominantly Caucasian countries. 

Many of the claims Meghan brings up highlight how her treatment was different compared to that of others in the Royal Family. The clearest example of this is the media perception, with tabloids depicting Kate and Meghan in opposite lights regarding the same topics. For instance, Kate constantly touching her baby bump was a sign of an affectionate and loving mother, whilst Meghan doing the same was labeled as a display of vanity and self-absorption. These media tabloids seemed to have made Meghan’s life incredibly contradictory: she was told not to leave the palace, as she was seen everywhere (in gossip), but she was essentially nowhere, since she was restricted by the worry of the institution. This entrapping paradox kept Meghan isolated from the world while all they could discuss was her. The mental trauma this caused is something she has brought up previously as well. Meghan has discussed how there were points where she even questioned whether she was meant to exist anymore. 

It is clear that Meghan was struggling to adapt to the media pressure she was facing, but this was not the only concern she was being bombarded with. It was, from what she said, not her nor Harry’s decision to ultimately leave, but something they felt they had no choice but to resort to. There were discussions early on whether Meghan should be provided security, and this sentiment was also extended to Archie. Now, security is definitely something that should be reserved for those remaining working members of the Royal Family, since it is funded by UK taxpayer dollars. However, it is worth noting that, at the time of these discussions, Meghan claimed that both she and Harry were still executing their royal roles. If this truly was the case, it makes the origin of the discussion questionable. Why was the security of Meghan Markle questionable? What factor related to her made it worth questioning? When there is a pattern of strange behaviour related to the one individual of colour, it brings about the question of whether this discrepancy is fueled by race. This seems to be a part of the issue, since Archie’s skin tone was so heavily contemplated. 

As a result, we find ourselves looping back to the core issue I have with this interview: the racist undertones. Why was Archie the first descendent whose title was questioned, especially when the discussion was so heavily focused on his skin tone? Why was this being debated during this colourist contention? Why was it suggested that Meghan continue acting, instead of receiving any royal funds? Most importantly of all, why were these discussions happening before Meghan and Harry made the decision to leave the Royal Family? There is one common theme across this narrative, and it continuously goes back to race.

With all of this in mind, although I cannot say definitively what my opinion is on this entire debacle, since I will never truly know anything beyond this royal he-said-she-said, I do think there is one clear issue at play amongst this conversation: racism. This is a topic that has to be further discussed beyond simply debating whether Meghan and Harry blindsided the Queen or not – the most alarming of the issues is being dismissed, an issue that only this summer was sparking outrage amongst members of our communities. It is only by truly addressing the damaging roots our countries and ideologies are built on that we can make progress, and this interview clearly illustrates this large-scale issue.

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