You’re probably sick of seeing Meghan Markle’s name all over the news, as am I, but this is a pretty big story with larger repercussions and effects.
If you’re like me, the royal family seem a million lightyears away from us normal folk. They’re wealthy, succeeding off of their bloodline, and seemingly unaware of everyday issues. Meghan’s arrival into the family following her engagement to Prince Harry flipped this set of ideals on its head. Suddenly, a still wealthy but non-entitled, relatively ordinary woman of colour was a Duchess.
This, on its own, caused shockwaves across the world which were further amplified when Meghan spoke candidly and honestly about her experiences as a royal in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.
I’m not here to discuss what was said in the interview, what I thought about it, or who I think the explicitly racist family member was (I doubt it’s one individual). Rather, I think it’s more important to discuss: a) why people can’t stop talking about Meghan (which includes myself), and b) why people are so offended by her.
First of all, people love tradition. There’s something ‘wholesome’, apparently, about the royals. Nothing ever changes; they show up at the same events every year, the Queen wears the same outfit in different colours, and they say similar things to the press no matter what is going on in the world. Meghan threatened this. She discusses feminism and race which are discussions that the royals have shied away from for forever.
At a much deeper level, people love to hate someone. There is nothing more collective than a group of individuals expressing hatred for someone else. Remember when #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty took over the world for a week? Taylor, like Meghan, was an easy target. If Meghan is pushing back and fighting against an institution that is seemingly so sacred to the British people, individuals are going to talk about it and critique her.
Then comes the colour of her skin. You are simply living under a rock if you think that Meghan’s race does not play a massive role in how people view her. I believe that if she were white, she would be presented as whiny, weak, and a drain on the system. However, this isn’t the case. Meghan is portrayed as a Disney villain whose goal is to destroy Buckingham Palace and threaten every institution that we have become so familiar with.
Now, I completely support the abolishment of the monarchy. They are a drain on our finances, take away from real international and national issues, and put a halt in our transition to the next step of modernity. But, in contrast to popular belief, this is not Meghan’s fault. The issues with the monarchy stretch back for so long that it’s nonsensical to blame Meghan for any of this. The media and public have pinned her as a ‘woman with a hidden agenda,’ and as a result she has been the victim of years of racism and misogyny.
At the same time, there’s something intrinsically fascinating about Meghan. Much like with Diana and Kate, people are obsessed with everything that she does. But, for Meghan, this fascination is usually buried so far beneath racism that it borderlines on creepy obsessions (*cough* P***s M****n).
With the interview being amongst the biggest news of the year so far, the undeniable racism surrounding Meghan has surfaced yet again. I couldn’t help but notice that people who are commenting and discussing the interview aren’t questioning Harry’s authenticity or truth, they’re questioning Meghan’s (despite the fact that it was a joint interview).
In short, people feel attacked by a woman of colour in a position of power and privilege. Meghan is the scapegoat for endless racism and misogyny that the public and the media were dying to place on someone. So, when she sat down with Oprah and talked about the hell that she had experienced at the expense of the British tabloids and public, it slapped the undiscussed and unaddressed racism right in our faces – and it’s no surprise that the source of this realisation would face further rejection.
I personally have no issue with Meghan, because she has done absolutely nothing to offend me or anyone else (of my knowledge). The entire monarchic institution, yes, I have issues with, but all Meghan has done is call out a system that we are told from birth to trust and blindly follow. I for one am glad that Meghan and Harry had the confidence to stand up against the monarchy and *hopefully* allow for some real changes in such a disturbing system.