Meghan Markle: I Never Experienced Racism Until I Married Harry
With all the racial strife making headlines in America these days, it’s not uncommon for people in the UK and other foreign nations to look at the situation with a mix of pity and disdain.
There’s a widespread feeling in the global community that Americans are simply ill-equipped to confront the challenges of creating harmony in an ethnically and culturally diverse nation.
Of course, just about every country has issues with racism — some are just better at hiding it.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the unexpected claim made by Meghan Markle in her new Netflix docuseries:
According to the Duchess of Sussex, when it comes to matters of racial sensitivity, America might be bad, but the British Royal Family is much worse.
In the second episode of the doc, Meghan states that in her youth and young adulthood “most people didn’t treat me like a Black woman.”
It wasn’t until she married into the royal family and moved to the UK, the Duchess says, that she began to encounter prejudice because of the color of her skin.
“Now people are very aware of my race because they made it such an issue in the UK,” Meghan revealed in the series.
Meghan says she was not expecting to be targeted by bigots, and she was unprepared for the experience.
She notes that because of the lack of racism in her childhood, her parents never felt the need to give her “the talk” about the challenges she would face as a mixed-race woman.
Brits probably won’t love the implication that the UK has an even bigger problem with structural racism than the US.
But it seems that at this point, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have given up on endearing themselves to the residents of Harry’s homeland, and have instead decided to simply speak their truth.
And the fact that so many have taken issue with Meghan’s comments is proof of how crucially important they are.
Fortunately, all the criticism the Duchess is sure to receive in the weeks to come is being balanced by widespread praise for her bravery in standing up to one of the world’s most powerful institutions.
Harry has also been applauded for standing by his wife’s side as she takes on what may prove to be the fight of her life.
“White people should be watching #MeghanandHarry bc Harry is showing up the way white people need to show up as they learn,” writer and cultural critic Rebecca Carroll tweeted this week.
Exposing racism is never easy, and those who have dared to do so have often met with horrific consequences.
But it’s also the first step toward creating a better future for children of color.
Meghan is essentially holding a mirror up to the people of the UK and pointing out to them that just because they refuse to acknowledge their problem with racism, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Meghan’s refusal to remain silent about the prejudice she encountered in London is unlikely to help her standing among her critics.
Fortunately, the Duchess demonstrated long ago that she’s not interested in winning any popularity contests.