1/18/2020 0 Comments
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s recent announcement to take a step back as senior members of the Royal family and create their own income has been met with unrelenting commentary on social channels. This isn’t surprising as the tone of voice adopted by most of the mainstream press in the UK has given people of colour more than food for thought. Especially when senior broadcast journalists such as Piers Morgan and Eamonn Holmes feel like it’s completely appropriate to denigrate the Duchess, using personal slurs like ‘uppity’, ‘manipulative’ and ‘awful’. This is interesting character analysis from two men who actually don’t know the Duchess on a personal basis.
The ensuing narrative and conclusion by many notable black commentators is that the decision has been based on the level of racism and unfair coverage by the British press. Yet the Prince and Duchess themselves have not implicitly stated racism by the press to be the reason behind their decision to be less high profile royals.
A Buzzfeed article reveals evidence of the two very different ways the press talks about Meghan Markle compared to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Quick examples include criticism of Meghan guest-editing Vogue when both Kate Middleton and Prince Charles have guest-edited other publications to not half an eyelash twitch much less raised eyebrows. Cradling her bump was an issue yet Kate doing it made Kate ‘sweet’. Meghan and Harry choosing to spend Christmas away from the Queen was a massive disrespect (according to press commentary) and yet Kate Middleton did the same several years before and had no such backlash. The examples are numerous and very telling.
Some claim this is directly because of Meghan’s attitude and conduct - it’s her fault the press and royal courtiers ceased to keep her in their bosom following the heady days leading up to the wedding less than two years ago. She’s ‘difficult’, likes her own way and a headache for palace staff because she has a habit of wanting to hug strangers. Allegedly.
The whole episode has shone a very bright light on race relations in the UK at a time when British politics is more divisive than ever, with a growing unease on the rise of unbridled extreme views. The wider impact isn’t just the polarised views of two opposing sides. For some, it triggers the reality of what it’s like to be black in the workplace, business and society at large.
If we dissect racism through the lens of power, specifically the wielding of power and position by one group to subordinate or rule another, the conversation around white privilege becomes less an issue of birthright opportunities and more one of practical reality.
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