"It's quite telling that some white British people are more outraged that Harry and Meghan shared this lived experience of racism than they are at the act of racism itself."
As the whole world continues to discuss Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview, political and women’s rights activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, author of This is Why I Resist, wants you to know that Britain is facing a racial reckoning. Here’s why.
There is visible outrage from the British public this week. That’s following Harry and Meghan’s disclosure in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that the Royal Family expressed concerns about how dark Archie’s skin colour might be, and what that would mean.
As expected, some people are immediately denying that these conversations about Archie’s skin colour are racist, but, instead, an attack on the Queen and Royal Family.
This shines a light on racism as the single most polarising issue that divides this nation.
If the greatest trick the devil pulled was convincing the world he did not exist, then the second greatest trick he orchestrated in the world is the denial of the existence of racism.
It is quite telling that some British people are more outraged that Harry and Meghan shared this lived experience of racism against their son than they are at the act of racism itself.
They are more outraged at the false allegation that Harry and Meghan’s shared experience is an attack on the Queen than they are at what mental and emotional anguish Harry and Meghan must have suffered.
They want to punish Harry and Meghan into silence rather than hold the Royal Family to account. They will do anything to avoid admitting that they feel uneasy about Archie’s proximity to blackness – because that would expose them for the racists they are.
In my book, This Is Why I Resist, I challenge those white people who refuse to dismantle white supremacy, argue ignorantly about their white privilege and play dumb about unlearning both the overt and covert racist behaviour they’ve seen. Some even claim they are unaware of how they benefit from and reproduce racism, but still refuse to educate themselves about it.
They pass all their responsibility to unpick and unlearn to black people.
They want us to do the heavy work – of unpicking and teaching, and then transmit it to them in bitesize chunks at their convenience, comfort and leisure. They expect us to do all this while dealing with the onslaught of visible and invisible individual barriers of racism, and while carrying the collective weight of experiences our black identity bears.
Our load is enough.
Meghan was suffocating and suffering in silence because structural systems, like the Monarchy, are rooted in a culture of white supremacy that shape the economic, political and social systems, which reinforce the legacy of slavery and colonisation. The Monarchy as an institution is rooted in the dehumanisation of black people.
For black and bi-racial women of black heritage like Meghan, when this culture of whiteness intersects with the Patriarchy, we visibly can’t breathe in plain sight. It is racism intersecting with misogyny and sexism. This is what it must have felt like for Meghan with the relentless racist and negative media coverage, compounded by the stone wall of silence from the Royal Family which refused to defend and protect her.
The Oprah interview was Harry and Meghan visibly exhaling.
They have been waiting to exhale for the last four years. This was their moment. By unburdening themselves of the ugliness they had experienced, debunking the falsehoods against them, and re-writing the narratives used against them, they literally found freedom. They will go on to live a life of service on their own terms.
For those British people who do understand that ‘concerns’ shared in conversations about Archie’s skin colour is racist, there is growing public outrage. They want the Monarchy held to account.
There is an opportunity here for the Royal Family to steer the nation by facing its own racial reckoning with humility. Racial reckoning demands justice.
There is no justice without accountability and no unity without justice.