Meghan set the record straight in her interview with Oprah. What conclusions can we draw about the British media and aristocracy?
I’m British but I’ve never really been that interested in the royals. When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, I’m not sure I gave it any thought.
Strange then that during the last few years, I’ve gradually grown more aware of how Meghan has been treated in the media, her status as a royal now symbolically entangled with wider racial and social issues in the UK. Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Harry exposed some dark and sinister truths about the tabloid press, the royal family, and British society as a whole.
It seems to me that the defining cause of prejudice against Meghan is her race. I think we all felt that when she told Oprah that a member of the royal family had asked “How dark will baby’s skin be?”
She has also been attacked because of her gender, her nationality and her class. This calls to mind intersectional feminism, a framework that suggests that the combination of different forms of discrimination creates unique prejudices. As John Bercow, the former speaker of the Houses of Commons, stated last year, Meghan “has been subjected to racism, sexism and misogyny.”
Meghan Markle is biracial, a woman, a foreign immigrant to the UK, and comes from a poor background. The combination of these traits is considered to be undesirable by a society and culture defined by the privilege it affords white, British men. Although it’s true that Kate Middleton has not escaped the media’s unhealthy objectification of women, Meghan has not been treated as her equal in the newspapers.
It’s also fair to say that Prince Harry has suffered untold cruelty from the British media, but it’s telling that ‘Megxit’ has been the word of choice to describe the couple’s departure from the UK. ‘Sussexit’ was also trending around the time of the announcement, but the media chose ‘Megxit’ because it singled out Meghan as the problem. As Meghan said in a recently released clip, other family members have been treated rudely, but “Rude and racist are not the same.”
Early on, Meghan was described as having “exotic DNA” and a “dreadlocked” mother, the focus being on her race. She also came from the “wrong side of the tracks”, drawing attention to her class. Meghan’s dark nail polish, black clothes and sleeveless tops have been used as evidence that she is sinister, dangerous and lewd. This obsession with what women wear is typically sexist reporting, and the idea that darkness and blackness are something to be feared is a common racist trope. Astonishingly, the BBC even had to fire a journalist for comparing her newborn child to a chimpanzee.
Meghan has also been accused of controlling and manipulating Prince Harry, invoking the misogynist image of a domineering and nagging wife. In March last year, video footage emerged of Meghan reaching out to touch her husband. She was accused of aggressively pushing him out of the way. When Meghan wore trousers at an event, the tabloid press crudely asked “Guess who wears the trousers in Prince Harry’s relationship?” When Meghan sat down and crossed her legs, it was deemed a breach of royal protocol, evidence of Markle being unable to act like a proper ‘lady’. The list of misogynoir goes on.
Meghan was even criticised for eating avocado on toast for breakfast, with the Daily Mail publishing the headline ‘How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack — beloved of all millennials — is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder?’ Yes, that’s a real headline! Don’t worry, I’m facepalming too.
This constant barrage of unwarranted criticism must have been hard to bear, but in times of hardship, you can always rely on your family to support you, right?
Wrong. The royal family has been complicit in the bullying of Meghan Markle, refusing to defend her in the press. Meghan is, like Diana, an outlier, who represents a new kind of royal. Though unlike Diana, she is biracial, and with this comes new barriers.
The royal family are the keystone of white privilege which Britain was built upon, and a non-white foreigner entering the fray has been perceived as a threat to this old and tired institution. Meghan told Oprah that “They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband,” highlighting how she has been unfairly treated by the very people that should been protecting her.
Maybe it is not surprising that this family is not welcoming to non-white folk. Prince William and Kate Middleton have continued to uphold the colonial traditions, seemingly very comfortable in their privileged roles. In 2012, the Cambridges visited Tuvalu and were carried on thrones by locals, a stark image that recalls the brutality and subjugation that were hallmarks of the British Empire.
Meghan and Harry represent a refreshing, modern approach that threatens this cultural stagnation. The British media has symbolised this as a demonstration of ‘wokeness’, a concept that the right has been weaponising in an attempt to stir up a culture war that hinders social and racial justice. The Telegraph just accused the Sussexes of being “the perfect leaders of the new international woke elite” who embody “Victimhood, sanctimony and hypocrisy.” Dragging Meghan into a culture war designed to promote right-wing politics and re-elect Boris Johnson may seem absurd, but it’s actually happening.
Press coverage abroad has been more positive. The American media have generally branded the Sussex’s departure as a bid for freedom. The Americans do not have the unrealistic expectations that the British have for their royals. They see a couple who are suffering and applaud their decision to do what anyone who loves their family would do in the same situation. The British are less forgiving.
The timing of bullying allegations against Meghan, which were released shortly before the Oprah interview, show a family and media that are keen to prevent a biracial woman from having a voice. The alleged bullying took place years ago, and the press have been frantically trying to explain why this information has only come to light now. It stinks of desperation.
Most disturbing of all is that the cruel bias in the British media is often premeditated. Two days before the Oprah interview aired, so-called royal experts were asked by provocative Youtubers to make statements about the programme. They agreed, showing us how this media circus works: it doesn’t matter what you did or said, but it matters what is printed.
The statements centre around attacking Meghan personally. In the video, Ingrid Seward says of Markle, without a hint of irony, that she is “an actress giving one of her great performances. From start to finish, Meghan was acting.” The lack of self-awareness here is stark.
How many articles over the years were written before events even took place? What more evidence could there be that the anti-Meghan narrative had already been decided because of characteristics she was born with? How much of Meghan’s life has been premeditated because of her gender, the colour of her skin and where she was born?
Unsurprisingly, Meghan’s mental health severely deteriorated during this period. The British tabloids are relentless bullies, capable of driving people to suicide. It was heartbreaking to hear Meghan say the words: “I’m everywhere but I am nowhere… I could not feel lonelier.” I am sure that any human being that has not been entirely lost to media brainwashing would be able to empathise.
No wonder then that Markle also stated that it was “liberating” to be able to speak for herself when prejudice institutions have been drowning out her voice. The oppressed are not expected to speak up. Meghan said to Oprah that “I don’t know how they could expect that after all this time we would still just be silent”. People may have kept their mouth shut about racism in the past, but not anymore.
Meghan Markle just bucked the trend and called out the racist, sexist and classist British media and aristocracy for what it is. She used her authentic voice to counter prejudice misinformation.
Are you going to do the same?
Originally published at https://woke-news.com.