I am not a royalist. I am of the mindset that Britain should abolish the monarchy especially since it’s long been established that royal families were not, as originally believed, ordained by God Himself but are in fact just normal people who cheat and rob and shit like the rest of us. This said, I don’t know what else this cold little rock produces that injects an estimated £1.8bn annually into the British economy the way the royal family do.
I’ve kicked off with the family’s financial value because one of the many reasons angry, intensely clapped white women like Sarah Vine and Joanna Williams regurgitate when they’re desperately searching for reasons to justify their naked, unadulterated hatred of Meghan Markle is her wealth. And, for them, Meghan does not do a good enough job of apologising for her privilege. According to Williams“the truth is that few Brits have a problem with Meghan because she is (ever so slightly) black.” Yet, despite their protestations, their lamentations of Meghan and Harry’s flights on private jets and their renovation of Frogmore Cottage- their vitriol for old Liz II was all but mute when in 2016 the royal family’s Sovereign Grant was almost doubled to £76m “with the increase earmarked for refurbishing Buckingham Palace.”
This kind of wealth and these expenditures are obscene. No one should have access to the kind of money these people do especially when you deep that royal family’s existence serves only to preserve (even if only aesthetically) the British colonial, imperial past and the violence therein. However, those who decry Meghan’s position in the royal family do so not because they object to the monarchy.
Let’s be clear, Kate Middleton was also the target of vicious commentary. Too-often wrong and strong Germaine Greer infamously launched into a diatribe accusing Kate of being “too thin”, “vomiting up her guts” and having “a bastard of job” being married to William. I mean, she wasn’t lying about the last point if the rumours are to believed but I digress. The over-scrutinisation Kate experienced was run of the mill misogyny. It was abhorrent and it was cruel but misogyny’s just one straight road on the journey to hating women. Meghan lives at the junction of two roads, she’s both a person of colour and a woman. It is at this intersection, if you will, that she draws fire from both misogynists and racists. Before they got married even Harry, as racist as he’s been (receipts), recognised that this intersection is dangerous for his then girlfriend and was forced to denounce the racist sexism she was a target of even then.
The indefatigability of British racism, the insidious way in which it takes form means that only a few people on the fringes are screaming the N word at Meghan. This kind of racism where explicit slurs are used is easy to define but the kind of racism the British public have learned to target Meghan with is packed with microagressions. Public opinion is shaped by articles like Joanna Williams’ entitled Meghan is the worst kind of snob. On the surface, this doesn’t appear racist but without an ounce of irony Williams claims Meghan’s crime of snobbery is “why people dislike her. It’s got nothing to do with race” but then goes on to mention her race eight times in her raggedy, unseasoned column.
This ain’t new, I’m not telling you anything black women and other women of colour ain’t told you before in countless articles across Beyoncé’s internet. But in the aftermath that will follow last night’s ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey it is important to again affirm the indisputable fact; Meghan is berated, maligned and harassed for one reason and one reason only and that is because she is not white. And the length’s racists go in order to pretend that isn’t the case only highlight the fact that it is.
In the now viral clip from the documentary directed by Harry’s friend of 20 years ITV’s Tom Brady, Meghan speaks openly about the toll the abuse from the tabloids has had on her mental health as a new mother and a newly-wed. While it is heart-breaking and it feels real to me, you only have to read the comments under the video on Twitter to see how the conditioning from supreme dry heads Sarah Vine and Joanna Williams is taking effect; “… she has been the architect of her own disaster…”, “…if she didn’t hypocritically push away a nation who would have cared about her she wouldn’t feel so alone”, “She’s an actress playing a very good part…” read just some of the less unhinged but still frightening replies. All of whom, when pressed will tell you, like Vine and Williams have taught them, their hatred for Meghan has absolutely nothing to do with her race.
Make no mistake, the documentary’s narrative, while presented by Tom Brady, is controlled by Harry and Meghan. And after having so much slanderous, dangerous, battered and deep fried bullshit reported about the couple, can you blame them for wanting to ensure their story is broadcast on their terms? In her segment, Meghan later goes on to thank Brady for asking about how she’s coping because “not many people have asked if [she’s] okay.” This moment struck a chord with me. Many black women and other women of colour can relate to being somehow both hyper-visible and invisible. Our identities as both black people or people of colour and women make us hyper-visible as targets of hate and abuse but those same identities make us invisible as recipients of love, support and protection. Our vulnerability is not recognised by racists. Emotions that we do not feel and actions we have not taken are applied to us and we are read as “aggressive” or their favourite “intimidating” and it leaves those who hate us free to subject us to unfathomable ills because they believe our ”strength” is ceaseless.
When Meghan said “I didn’t think this would be easy but I thought it would be fair” I felt that in my chest. We are sold the crock of shit and then go on to sell the same fallacy abroad that Britain is a “tolerant” society, so much more advanced in race relations than America. Alas, this only means that as America’s mother, Britain has had more time to perfect sly racism and learned well-well how to throw stones and hide her hand. Racist misogyny is alive and kicking in this Divided Kingdom. The tabloid and British public’s disdain for Meghan is a reflection of their disdain for black women and other women of colour. The micro-aggressions they lobby at us are designed to make us question ourselves, our sanity and serve as a dog-whistle to racist misogynists. It is imperative that we support the everyday black women and other women of colour and hear them when they share their experiences because if Meghan is struggling with her mental health what more for her sisters who do not have access to her wealth and privilege?
Click here to pay me for my words.
Follow me on Twitter here if you like the cut of my jib.
Click the heart below if you enjoyed.