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When Oprah Winfrey held her monumental interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the world was hit by shocking revelations one after the other. The news of Meghan Markle’s treatment by the British media and press sparked controversy worldwide, and many people speculated it was due to her being originally from America and her biracial background.

A year after Harry and Meghan announced their exit from their royal duties, (Megxit), Megan and Harry joined Oprah on March 7, to clarify what really led them to step back as senior members of the royal family. The two main issues that were highlighted were racism and colorism

From the jump, Meghan was mistreated and not offered the same equal resources as her other white royal counterparts. She was always to be seen as an outsider and never completely accepted by the royal family. Maybe for show and to seem accepting on the surface, the Royal Family played along during the early months of the marriage but behind closed doors the duchess revealed the isolation she was forced to accept. 

The thing about discrimination in Britain is the elusive manner in which it is presented. To define it precisely it can be distinguished as covert racism. This a form of racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public or obvious. Concealed in the fabric of society, covert racism discriminates against individuals through often evasive or seemingly passive methods. This can be by snide remarks or using stereotypes to describe someone. The way the British media described Meghan as “evil” and “controlling” or depicting that she is “Straight Outta Compton” and hailed from gang life are serious stereotypes that are unacceptable. 

Meghan Markle comes from a mixed-race background with a white father and an African-American mother and was raised in Crenshaw, a city in Southern California. These remarks in passing may not hurt, but in the long run they can do so much damage. The use of this tactic is especially detrimental if it becomes normalized in society. 

During the interview, Meghan and Harry revealed that one turning point in their decision to leave stemmed from concerns about the color of their unborn child’s skin brought to the couple by a close relative. This raises the issue of colorism which can be traced back to Meghan’s initial marriage into the family. Perhaps the Institution was willing to allow Meghan to marry into the family because she is a lighter-skinned white – passing biracial woman.

Had she been brown or dark skinned, there may have been more barriers to her being accepted by the family and the racism might have been more conspicuous. Nonetheless, when it concerned Harry and Meghan’s child, there should not be any questioning of skin color. Having issues with it even in the slightest shows that you have bigoted ideals that you still implicitly practice.

In America, the overall reaction to the interview was shock and surprise. The press treated Meghan so terribly while the Institution sat quiet. However, the fact remains that the British Empire literally colonized around 200 existing countries today, including America, so why are we acting surprised that the British are capable of these acts? 

Another modern example of this bigotry is how Harry Potter actor Katie Leung was treated by the fandom. When she was cast in the role of Cho Chang, there was heavy backlash as she was an Asian girl and many went as far as to say Cho Chang was a Scottish girl adopted by parents from Hong Kong. They did everything in their power to whitewash one of the few Asian roles featured in the series, including creating fan art with Cho depicted as a white girl. There were even anti-Asian hate sites dedicated to the teenage actor.

When Chang alerted her publicist of the abuse, they passed it off as just “jealous, teenage girls” creating gossip and complaining and even going as far to say that this “happens all the time” and since they hadn’t come across it, that it never happened. They instructed her to deny any of the abusive events happening when doing press interviews for the film. 

This goes to show how some individuals will gaslight minorities into thinking that what they know is happening is not happening. That adds into the violence against minorities. It should not be normalized to undermine someone’s suffering. Instead of denying subliminal behavior and writing it off we should listen to our vulnerable brothers and sisters as to how we as a whole can do better in supporting each other. This first begins at the top with large institutions like the Crown. If they cannot set the example, we should demand them of better.

Hi my name is Egesi Iheduru and I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona but am now studying Psychology and Cinema Studies at New York University! I love to watch all types of movies, ranging from indie art films to superhero franchises (forever Team Marvel!). Some of my hobbies include cheerleading, gymnastics, singing, and shopping at the mall. In the near future, I see myself working in either political psychology or screenwriting/acting in feature films. I'm very excited to be joining Her Campus to share some of my wisdom I've learned throughout my college experience.
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