The British royals are racist, but they don’t see it themselves

He was at a black school on purpose, Prince William. He could have chosen any school to visit, the occasion was that the schools had started again. But Prince Harry’s brother, who accused him and his relatives of racism earlier this week, paid a visit to School 21 in Stratford, London last Thursday. That school is explicitly committed to ‘for children of all backgrounds’.

William was there with his wife, Kate, who launched a project for better mental health two years ago. Coincidentally, this was expanded to primary schools just this week. That also worked out well.

This first-ever royal visit following his brother Harry’s explosive interview was a careful response to his allegations that the British royal family is a racist stronghold that drove his wife to despair. The visit showed how involved the royal family is. Words are then not necessary. Prince William spoke just one sentence to the journalists in the schoolyard on Thursday: “The royal family is very much not racist.”

Across the country, journalists and academics are wondering whether this is really the case.

It would actually be something new, because in general the family is not very subtle in that area. Take Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s 99-year-old husband. “Are you still throwing spears at each other?” He asked an Australian native in 2002. It is an anecdote that often makes it to the prince’s long list of verbal slips, which also includes quite a few misogynistic comments.

But it was, we now know, not 99-year-old Prince Philip who asked his grandson Harry ‘what color his child would be’ and ‘what that would look like’. Nor was it Queen Elizabeth. It was another member of the royal family.

Slave brooch

The fact that younger generations of Windsors also lack a well-tuned antenna for contemporary sensitivities is not really news either. Many Britons still remember how 76-year-old Marie Christine von Reibnitz, who is known as Princess Michael, attended the Queen’s Christmas lunch in 2017. It was not just any lunch: Princess Michael would meet Meghan Markle for the first time, then Prince Harry’s fiancée. It was widely known that Markle has a white father and a black mother. Yet this princess, the wife of the queen’s cousin, chose her ‘slave brooch’, an effigy of a black servant, as decoration on her left shoulder that day.

“She is very sorry,” her spokesperson said later. “She didn’t mean anything by it. She once got the brooch from someone and has worn it many times before. ”

These days, professor Kehinde Andrews frequently speaks in British media, explaining over and over again that racism and the royals are so intertwined that they cannot see it for themselves. Andrews is a professor of black studies at the University of Birmingham. He tells how naive it was to think that all racism was over when Meghan Markle entered the family. And how then racism quickly emerged, but supposedly not. “Then they say: this is not about racism, you are just a personal problem.”

That story has lingered to this day. The story of the ‘difficult’ Meghan Markle, the demanding American who was so unkind that her assistants walked away from her crying.

Andrews in The Guardian: “Nobody has shouted racist swear words at her. But you see how a stereotype is created and held. How she is not given any room for her own input. She is treated like most black people in a white environment. ”

He describes how it works: everything she does or says is poured into the pre-cast mold of ‘she doesn’t belong here’, until that picture becomes reality.

“What happened to her is a very good example of modern racism,” said Andrews. “Nobody says the N-word to you, you have to prove for yourself that behind many small aggressions there is a basic tone of racism. It is hidden behind indifference and constant rejection. ”

Subtle blows

“It’s like death by a thousand cuts,” Meghan herself seems to have once told a friend, referring to an ancient Chinese method of torture in which a convict was put to death by cutting off lots of small pieces from his or her body. Not that one cut killed her, nor that one brooch or that one article in the tabloid press. It was the whole darn smack together that kept twisting together.

But it was mainly the more subtle blows that hurt her the most, says the American royal family reporter Omid Scobie, Meghan expert. Scobie wrote the book last year: Finding freedom, a biography about Meghan and Harry.

In general, he analyzes, Meghan fell victim to mechanisms that previously played a role in the Royal family.

He tells how the British royal family reassured him time and again that they had done ‘everything possible’ for Meghan there. “Everyone welcomed her, she got all the support she needed. We helped her very carefully in the beginning. ”

But they had also dropped her again. There she sat, in her castle, unable to respond to the press that was making up more and more, without being allowed to leave.

Scobie: “The world is now noticing that the palace’s ‘no comment’ policy can also cause victims. Meghan, as we know, was outraged by the story that she made her sister-in-law Kate cry when it was the other way around. But she was not allowed to straighten it out, even though she felt the story was stereotyping her. She was portrayed as the queen of hearts from Alice in Wonderland, who kept shouting ‘head off’.

“What stung her most was that other family members were allowed to put things right. For example, in July 2019, an official statement came out of the palace that Kate was not using botox. And in January 2020, Kensington Palace asked if Prince Harry would co-sign a statement saying it was not true that Prince William had bullied Harry and Meghan. “If we do make a statement, maybe we can also correct that I didn’t make Kate cry,” Meghan responded. But it fell through. The latter would then be image-technically wrong. ”

Recognizable suffering

Scobie sees a pattern: as the cruel comments and negative tabloid stories piled up, ‘shut up’ remained the motto for her, even though Meghan suffered. “It is suffering that is now all too recognizable. Suffered from other royal women. Sadness we already know from Princess Diana, who also considered suicide when she was married to Prince Charles, but felt lonely and abandoned. ” Harry, Diana’s son, recognized it too. He warned his family, “Guys, this isn’t going to end well.” But he had to move to California to really get rid of it.

Scobie: “But this time there is something else going on. Now racism also plays a role. It is no surprise to connoisseurs that the institute is racist. That’s it through and through. Listen, these are the people who joined two weeks ago The Times said Meghan wanted to be a royal ‘in the style of Beyoncé’. The people who thought it was a good idea to give Meghan ‘help’ by lending her Elizabeth’s right hand, which also happened to be black, as ‘mentor’. ”

Scobie herself is also mixed when it comes to skin color. With things like this, the racism radar immediately goes off for him. But he sees that they themselves are completely unaware of it. No, says Scobie, racial sensitivity may be lacking in this family. “Ignoring gossip is simply part of the mantra ‘never complain, never explain’ that the royals cherish. But expecting a victim of racism to shut up while parts of the press refer to her as ‘ghetto’, ‘native of Compton’ or ‘un-royal’ is another matter. These are not rudeness, they are racist attacks. I also think that the order to remain silent in that case borders on complicity in those attacks. ”

He continues, “And if it is not appropriate to recognize racism, then how are those 54 Commonwealth nations and their predominantly black, brown and mixed populations to feel about the Queen as their head of state?” Scobie doesn’t know the answer either. But say you very much not a racist family as William did on Thursday is probably not enough, even if you say so in a black school where you are running a mental well-being program.
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu
Among US Mod Menu

Related Posts

About The Author