To be sure, Meghan Markle‘s disclosure that the Royal Family was concerned about how “dark” her baby would be is sad, unfortunate, disgusting and, yes, very racist. Those reprehensible comments contributed to a desire to kill herself, she confessed to Oprah Winfrey in a widely-marketed primetime interview that aired Sunday night.
Markle, alongside her husband, Prince Harry, explained to Winfrey in uncomfortable detail why they took steps to separate themselves from the Royal Kingdom. The Duchess of Sussex, who is biracial with a Black mother, said before she gave birth to her son Archie, the Royal Family had “concerns and conversations as how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
While much of the other topics discussed with Oprah — she and Herry were not adequately supported by the Royals; Prince Charles, Harry’s father, stopped taking his calls; the British media — were indeed eye-opening revelations, the mainstream media decided to collectively clamor over what was called a “shocking” allegation of, gasp, racism in Buckingham Palace!
But, of course, to any amateur student of history, it is beyond common knowledge that racism in the Royal Family is nothing new. In fact, it’s the antithesis of new, dating back centuries when the United Kingdom colonized — that’s a nice word for raped, pillaged and enslaved — entire African nations, not to mention the West Indies, for starters, in order to generate the wealth they still benefit off to this very day.
The Queen of England ruled harshly and facilitated the theft of precious natural resources like gold, ivory and rubber at the expense of its native inhabitants, adversely affecting multiple generations of African ancestors.
A survey from last summer found that two-thirds of Black Britons said the UK had failed to adequately confront its racist history, double the number of white Brits who participated in the poll.
Aside from what the media has already documented for years as anti-Black racism wielded against Markle in present-day society, there are also the lesser-known instances, like when Princess Michael of Kent — she’s married to the Queen’s first cousin — wore a racist, Aunt Jemima/blackface-esque brooch to a lunch date with Markle. That was in 2017, before Markle and Harry got married.
Things have only gotten worse for her since then, thus the couple’s separation from the Royal Family.
Again, this isn’t to minimize the experience of Markle, who should be commended for coming forward and airing the Royals’ dirty laundry to make more people aware of the racism, hate and misogynoir she was forced to endure. She rightfully distinguished to Winfrey the difference between “Rude and racist,” reinforcing the fact to viewers that they “are not the same.”
After Oprah’s special Sunday night, we no longer need to imagine what Markle went through as a biracial woman whose mother is Black by marrying into the Royal Family.
But, again, Royal racism is nothing new, and until steps are taken to change British society, it will continue to thrive unchecked while mainstream media continues pretending to be shocked.