Meghan Markle, The Royal Family, Right Wing Media Animus and The Specter of Deeply Entrenched Racism!Roundup
tags: racism, Oprah Winfrey, Royal Family, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry
Elwood Watson is Professor of African American and Gender Studies and Post-WWII U.S. History at East Tennessee State University.
It didn’t take long for the right-wing media, here in America and in Britain, to gin up their propaganda/outrage machine towards Meghan Markle, better known as The Duchess of Sussex. “Unreasonable,” “entitled,” “ungrateful,” “spoiled,” “Liar! Fake Outrage!” “Fights, Camera, Action,” “Megxile,” “So Who is The Royal Racist?” and so on. Hell, perennial Meghan Markle antagonist and fierce critic, Piers Morgan, literally screamed and stomped off of the set (https://youtu.be/sG9rX6Ifzhw) of the program Good Morning Britain. It was a meltdown of epic proportions for all to see.
They were savvy enough not to refer to her as “uppity,” a word reserved for Black people who anger racist, White people by taking them out of their comfort zones. These are the Black folks who upset White bigots by “doing their own thing on their own terms” and, in essence, by telling such Whites to “Go to hell!” Some in the right-wing media would have liked to have called her a “n*gger bitch,” though they know that would have resulted in some consequences, even in our current climate of over racial animus.
In the interview that was viewed around the world (https://youtu.be/4Kj8UPnZfPc), in Great Britain and America in particular, millions of people watched in shock, suspense and stunned silence as Ms. Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, passionately and emotionally detailed the bigotry and decay that they have endured at the hands of an old and antiquated institution. Indeed, racism and White privilege intersect at the highest realm of the monarchy. It was an interview meant for the ages. Viewers were titillated, fascinated and spellbound by what many heard as the demeaning, demoralizing and dehumanization Markle and her husband endured at the hands of their fellow royals.
Being told that their children would not receive the title of prince or princess. Being informed they would not receive security detail. Being interrogated about how dark the skin color of their son would be. Being asked questions that were seemingly never asked of other members of the royal family. The indignities went on. It was infuriating and heartbreaking to listen to.
To her credit, the former actress, now duchess, has refused to buckle under pressure from the royal family, scurrilous British tabloids, the intensely bigoted right-wing American media and has made it clear that she intends to call things as she sees them and will not be bullied or cowed into submission or silence. She intends to “keep it real” going forward. One has to salute Oprah Winfrey for conducting such a savvy and superb interview. It was one that was first-rate in every aspect of the word.
Whatever potential shenanigans the public relations team at Buckingham Palace has, or rather had, planned to combat the Winfrey interview, it would certainly be wise for them to say nothing now. Meghan Markle clearly won the public relations battle with a touchdown, a drop-the-mic performance. She and Prince Harry stood up to the multi-headed dragon of racism, power, colonialism, White privilege and other oppressive forces and delivered a much-needed bruising. As many a Black pastor would tell his congregation, “Let the church say AMEN!”
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