It is hard to miss hearing about the recent events surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. On January 8, 2020 the pair announced via an Instagram post that they intend to branch out from the British royal family and “make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role.”
People everywhere have been speculating what might have caused the couple’s desire to separate themselves from the monarchy and one look at the media’s portrayal of the couple, and more specifically Meghan, can answer that question for us. Media outlets have made Meghan out to be a villainous woman, criticizing everything she does, from the flowers she chose for her wedding to cradling her baby bump. Unlike Kate Middleton, Meghan was certainly not given the same acceptance, though both women were both “commoners.” The media has vilified Meghan time after time and it seems as though finally Harry had had enough of their treatment of his wife, perhaps seeing history beginning to repeat itself with Meghan as it did with his mother. Meghan is not “tearing apart” the royal family. Harry is not brainwashed or whipped. The couple is looking out for each other and trying to protect their new family.
But the attacks against Meghan have more sinister motivations that with Diana. These attacks have been motivated in part by racism. And the monarchy has done nothing up to this point to denounce these attacks and rumors the tabloids have conjured up about Meghan. Since the monarchy has done nothing to denounce the racism, they are complicit. Queen Elizabeth II was reported to be unhappy upon first hearing about the statement Harry and Meghan put out, yet she has not done anything to combat the attacks against Meghan. The queen even released a statement, saying, “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.″ And while to the unsuspecting reader this may seem very kind of the queen to say, many people see this as damage control. She does not apologize for not having defended her granddaughter-in-law, she does not denounce the tabloids and press coverage of Meghan, rather she tries to keep the image of a happy and strong family intact. The members of the British monarchy who sit idly by and do nothing in the face of racism are no better than those people who are spewing racist attacks.
If someone with as high of a status as Meghan Markle has to endure racist attacks with no support from individuals who could easily defend her, it is apparent that this happens to people of color no matter their social status. There is a glaring double standard to which people of color (especially women) are held up to. If women of color are not thought to be “angelic” then they are instantly the very opposite. They should not be expected to be angels nor should they be demonized; they should be allowed to be just as human and able to make mistakes as everyone else. Not only should we be allies who help combat racism, we should all be critically thinking the next time we read a tabloid, or even an article in an established newspaper. Who wrote this, why did they write this, what were their motivations? Then can we begin to not only understand what we are reading but also be sure we are not perpetuating double standards.