“Not a racist family…”
For days before the US broadcast on Sunday, there were already all sorts of speculations about what the Sussexes would reveal about the royal family and the chain of events that led to their decision to leave the monarchy behind and declare their independence.
Not surprisingly, the smear campaign by the royalist claimed that Harry and Meghan were disrespecting the Queen and the monarchy and questioning why the couple were so keen to go on TV when they’d left the UK to protect their privacy. The couple’s fans, on the other hand, felt that the couple had the freedom to share their narrative after months of having little control over the allegations made by UK tabloid press.
Even after Oprah’s masterfully conducted interview was broadcast, there was uproar – mainly in the British press. They claimed Oprah had given Meghan an easy ride, as they were friends. They questioned how Meghan would know Princess Eugenia and not know the whole royal family. Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan and a host of his trolls on social media called into question Meghan’s claims that at some point during her time as a working royal she was suicidal. Society of Editors, Ian Murray, claimed there was no racism in the press in response to the Sussexes’s accusations of racism in the British press, then, fortunately, had to step down from his position due to the backlash over this ridiculous defence.
Piers Morgan, Ian Murray and now Prince William, second in line to the British throne; all middle-aged white men in positions of power and influence with not a clue and not care about the realities of people of colour in the UK.
Mid-2020, following George Floyd’s murder by a white police officer in the US, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement rising on both sides of the Atlantic we saw the chasms that opened in our society, when the majority of white British nationals denied that this was a racist country, playing down everyday microaggressions and institutionalised racism people of colour in this country suffer daily. Those who were brave enough to debate with the blinkered over the colonial legacy of the empire, such as Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and Afua Hirsch were often told to “go back home” at the first sign of criticism of the country.
Speaking of statues coming down all over the world calling for a requestioning of our long-standing national heroes in the light of their racist acts, Afua Hirsch was asked by Nick Ferrari, another white middle-aged man, “Why do you stay in this country if you take such offence to Nelson’s column, if you take such offence when you hear Winston Churchill’s name? If it offends you so much, how do you manage to stay here?” A common attack that any person of colour who’s ever criticised Britain is familiar with, regardless of the fact that they are British nationals born and bred in the United Kingdom. If your skin tone is darker than Pantone 97-7 C, you are truly banned from expressing any negative opinions of the country.
Much like, if skin tone is darker than Pantone 97-7 C, you will be subjected regularly to the prying question, “Where are you from? No, but, where are you really from?” in all its variations. You may in conversations be called, “dusky” and “exotic” – terms on face value seem inoffensive to the majority of the British public, but are deeply offensive to those at the receiving end.
This is why, following Meghan’s claims that a royal questioned how dark Archie’s skin tone will be, Buckingham Palace’s statement that “recollections may vary” was disappointing to many of us, the subjects of colour, as it minimised Meghan’s experience. We, the laypeople of colour, knew the depth and width of her experience through the microaggressions about skin tone we often face. For people who often claim they are not racist, the British have an unhealthy obsession with skin colour which they have spread anywhere they’ve set foot on, the hangover of which is the desire for light-skin in many former British colonies such as Nigeria and India.
When the second in line to the throne casually responds with “We are very much not a racist family” when questioned about the claims, forgive those of us who know better and raise an eyebrow. “Not a racist family” is perhaps the Firm’s version of the racist guy who comments on the colour of your black baby’s skin and then turns around to say, “Calm down love, it was only a joke. I am not racist,” quickly followed by the mandatory addendum, “I have black friends.” And we know better.
No comments yet