I I stayed up late to watch Oprah’s interview. As I looked at him, I thought, “Lord, give me strength!” Like me, Meghan is independent, well-educated, and career-minded. Like me, she is a woman of black descent. I felt their pain. It was very difficult to listen to Harry and Meghan’s story and not feel sorry for them, because I believed what they were saying.
It was the comments about Archie’s skin color that really affected me, that an anonymous member of the royal family had raised concerns about how dark Archie’s skin would be, when Meghan was still pregnant. I don’t remember what time it was in the morning, but I jumped out of bed angrily. Who in their right mind thinks it is an acceptable conversation to have with someone? What kind of family do you think is cause for concern if Archie is darker? Will he be loved less compared to his cousins? That was shocking.
That alarm about Archie’s skin color shows how black people are continually being dehumanized. That’s what’s driving the concern that Archie is darker. The stigma that comes from being close to Blackness has followed Archie into this world.
So far, we’ve only had one side of the story: the palace version. This was the first time Meghan and Harry were able to tell their story. I think it was necessary. People feel they have to take sides. But you can still support and respect the Queen and call the royal family if they have done something wrong. What about this blind adulation for them, no matter how they behave? The royal family as an institution has a legacy that has its roots in slavery, colonialism and racism. That doesn’t mean they are all racist, but they have a lot of work to do.
As a black woman, I am so used to all the nuances of racism that vary from person to person. There is obvious racism, but there is also a more subtle form of racism, which can best be described as a form of white violence. It is one of the worst types of racism, because it is very widespread, but they tell you that you are too sensitive or that you are making things up. It is a form of gas lighting.
I can’t believe we’re still having this debate about whether the way Meghan has been treated is racist. It is misogynoir, pure and simple. Look at the media coverage of her. The Daily Mail said she was “(almost) straight from Compton.” A BBC announcer tweeted a photo of Archie as a chimpanzee (for which he was fired). That tells you what kind of society we live in.
Hearing Meghan talk about how she committed suicide when she was pregnant with Archie, what was so disturbing was seeing how the institution that had the ability to protect her did nothing. They allowed the media to assassinate his character and were silent. Compare the treatment of Meghan and Prince Andrew, who was accused of having sex with a teenage trafficking victim, which he denies, and seems to receive constant support from the palace. Meghan may have been a “princess”, but there is no point living in a palace if you feel like a prisoner. Let’s not pretend that the rich don’t commit suicide or suffer from depression.
I have been speaking for Meghan on television and in the press for years. I don’t need to have met her to know that the way she’s been treated is wrong. The morning after the interview was broadcast, I went to Good Morning Britain and told Piers Morgan what I thought of him because of the way he criticized Meghan. I told him it was a disappointment. I’m glad I said it; He was asking me and I had slept for two hours.
The bottom line is that the way Meghan has been treated is unfair. She has been attacked for things she has not said. She has been unfavorably compared to the Duchess of Cambridge. She has been subjected to the worst kind of racism. I can’t keep quiet when I see that something is wrong. Inequality and injustice shoot me up. I refuse to be silent.
Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is an activist and author of This is Why I Resist: Don’t Define My Black Identity. She was talking to Sirin Kale