By Francesca Alexender
Like most things that cover racism, it takes a lot out of me, and the topic needs to breathe. While researching the common responses Meghan Markle receives I have guidelines as a writer not to do.
Don’t explain the role of racism. It’s not my job to prove that it, in fact, exists and plays a massive part in our society.
Do not try to find and leave the receipts. Trying to prove a case that whatever happened is racist is not only exhausting, but I would like to think that my audience is beyond needing proof.
My viewpoint should be unapologetic, and when they are featured in business publications, they belong there. However, there is still a lot of work to do.
Racism is not an American-exclusive topic but a global topic. Calling it out is powerful and may change perception.
As always, I speak from my own identity, which is a multicultural, indigenous and may be considered a bi-racial experience—knowing that I speak to that and not for everyone within the construct of these cultural parameters.
Now let’s get into it.
Why is it when being vocal about the displeasure of Meghan Markle is even remotely racist? The easy answer is that it usually links back to racist beliefs designed to invalidate a person of colour.
For years now, we have heard many people’s opinions of Meghan Markle when it comes to the royal family. Some opinions are so harsh it’s not worth mentioning their names, but it’s worth mentioning the underline racism. Remarks like the ones said about Meghan Markle are also designed to invalidate her as a human.
In this article, I will only speak to the women here. Why? Because we need to talk.
In the corporate/ business marketplace, your opinions of Meghan Markle covertly show your belief system and the women of colour around you are taking note. Are you here for every woman’s empowerment, or are you only interested in your agenda?
It’s human nature to find out through conversation if you have similarities during a meet and greet. This is when your first impressions kick in, and if you are bad-mouthing someone who is a person of colour, it’s alarming, and you may be instantly not trustworthy.
Here is a translation table of sorts from me personally that are my queues to determine if you are trustworthy or not:
“She thinks too highly of herself.” = We do not need to be aware of her or her accomplishments.
“I agree with conservative television that Meghan Markle makes too much of a big deal of the royals.”. = I do not care about this woman of colour’s opinion. He only sees the POC in the room as a problem.
“Meghan Markle is certainly polarizing.” = The focus on a woman of colour and her sharing her experiences is too much for me to handle. It’s not worth my time, but I will share my opinion anyway.
“If there was racism in the royal family…” = Bringing the burden of proof to the conversation is an exhausting rhetoric denial of a topic that has been proven. Only sees the POC in the room as a problem.
When explaining why you hate Meghan Markle, you say “I can’t believe she would go so hard for so long about her husband’s family!” = Negating that there is a partnership with her husband, who has taken on his own family as an act of love and activism. Only sees the POC in the room as a problem.
“She is everywhere! Podcasts, Spotify and Netflix. She is all in for the money…” = She’s a no-good gold digger. Doesn’t see partnership and providing for her family as a value.
“She was on a game show holding a briefcase and a show she wasn’t widely known on…” = She is not worthy to be royal or famous. Who does she think she is a mentality which is often used on POC women.
“I think people don’t like Meghan Markle because I think she talks down to other people. I think she is sanctimonious and I think there is this subtext of elevation. She’s up there and we are down here.” = Even though she is well-spoken, and impeccably dressed, I feel inferior to her overall presentation, and it offends me. I will put her down so I can feel superior.
“She’s very self-important.” = “Who does she think she is” mentality. You can’t be important around me type of belief.
“She wants all this attention and money for security that is so unrelatable.” = I don’t see that her and her children’s life being threatened is relevant, and I choose to ignore that her husband was after the security associated with being a royal. Only sees the POC in the room as a problem.
“I can’t stand that poised, orchestrated elegance. She mimics Diana…” = She doesn’t fit my idea of being elegant and not what my definition of a princess should look like.
I could go on, but my internal POC filter needs rest.
I offer this affirmation for the POC audience that is reading this article:
It is ok and safe for women of colour to be successful, ambitious and wealthy.
Most women of colour are conscious of the numerous nuances and are familiar with listening to your values.
If you see some of the quotes above, to be familiar with what you would say to a colleague, think again. The one confusing factor in navigating your part in racism is not even identifying what you are saying to be a micro-aggression.
I’m not here to debate or prove cause and effect. What I am doing here is letting you into perception. Perception is a powerful deal-maker or breaker.
Check out the incredibly interesting podcast Francesca did, taking a deeper dive into the topic. Either click the link below or listen directly here.