Black fans have always had mixed feelings.

In recent weeks, Prince Harry and his biography are bestsellers additional He has been front and center in the Sussex squad’s campaign to tell us all how awful his broken family is. And while I have no plans to read the memoir, I’m glad Harry has stepped into the spotlight in place of his wife. It is tough. He can take it. And that’s good, because reception additional And the Sussex’s Netflix docuseries wasn’t entirely positive. Ports like BuzzFeedthe The New York TimesAnd slate Go on the record, even people formerly sympathetic to the Sussexes are getting a little sick of the couple’s total existence, these days.

All exposure damaged their image. Recently, writer Gloria Alamo chirp: “I think the sooner we understand that Harry and his wife are not taking a stand against his colonial family, but are resenting their inability to participate in it in the way they thought they would be able to… the freer we’ll all be.” The rest of the world may be catching up now, but so are some responses Alamro’s tweet makes clear that Sussex’s Black Watchers – even those who steadfastly defend it against their haters – have always had complex feelings for Meghan Markle. I count myself among that number.

Prior to that “fairy tale” marriage, Markle was living a different kind of feminist fairytale. She was a self-made millionaire, famous enough, who spent her free time traveling around the world with her divas, dressing fabulously, and doing good deeds periodically. Even though she loves her prince and kids out loud, you can tell – in her interviews and on her Netflix series – that Meghan kind of misses her old life. And why not? Her new life forced her to face things she was never ready for. The abuse is not her fault, but some of the wrong remarks in her response might be.

A little context here: I am proud to be an African American woman of a certain age. And I care about the British royal family. Like, really care. As in, I have vivid memories of waking up early to watch Princess Diana’s wedding on black-and-white TV, and two years later, of rushing to finish my paper trail so I could watch Sarah Ferguson. I’ve read thousands of pages of Tudor biographies. When I traveled to Great Britain, the aim was to visit historical sites associated with Elizabeth I, such as Hampton Court, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.

In the tower, I remember meeting other tourists, ohing And Ahing Over the crown jewels, when I notice a South Asian family next to me, she points and smiles at the screen. And he hit me. I was a person whose ancestors gained their freedom and dignity and even their lives were stolen to build this empire, and I made a special trip to celebrate the thieves.

“what am I doing here? What are any of us doing here? “

This is where Meghan Markle seems caught up in her private, most intimate dance with that nation and its history. I was shocked to discover institutional racism in the very organization that created its most enduring business model. And she tells us that. Many. And while I’m Team Megan, it’s painful, unpleasant, and a little upsetting to watch her figure it out in real time.

It is not the sadness of her response that is troubling. It’s the surprise.

Can you believe the police didn’t protect me? Can you believe no one cares that microaggressions put my emotional health at risk? Can you believe all these strangers called me bad names on the internet? Can you believe my white in-laws wouldn’t stand up to racists who hurt me?

Um… yes. I am a black woman. are you new here?

And that’s the problem. she is. Megan is very new to being treated as if she is black and she has to take that into account in the way she lives her life. I don’t mean she didn’t know racism was real or needed to stop. she is not Stacy Dash or anything. But Meghan Markle’s expectation that a system built on the exploitation of non-white people would protect her is naive in the extreme, and bad looking really. Meghan Markle isn’t just biracial or light-skinned. The fact is that she could — and apparently passed on — turn white her entire life, and that largely determined her racial experience and education prior to her engagement.

The Netflix series clearly demonstrates this. Her mother, Doria Ragland, who is black, talks about how non-black Megan seemed from the start, and how outsiders assumed she was her daughter’s nanny. This is a story familiar to anyone who comes from a black, mixed-race family. But apparently a lot of biracial kids are black And Something else, not black – like Barack Obama, or Halle Berry, or Lenny Kravitz.

Not Megan. Early episodes of the Netflix series include interviews with several people in Megan’s orbit who had no idea she was part Black until she told them. There is no indication that she denied her heritage. She just looked white enough that people assumed she was, and so the reality of racism that many black kids learn in grade school is something she just discovered in her 30s.

But there were ways she could have learned more, and it’s upsetting that Meghan never really took advantage of them. Of all the childhood friends, classmates, and girl squad members who have served as witnesses for Megan’s character on the Netflix series, almost none of them are black. it’s a Al-Qaeda For whites have no black friends. And nothing is more indicative of the whiteness of Meghan’s world than that she doesn’t seem to have much either.

At one point in the second episode of the series, Megan talks about how being biracial means she doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere, and declares, “People don’t talk about what it’s like to be mixed.” Tell me you don’t have a black friend group without telling me you don’t have a black friend group!

The person I feel most sorry for in this whole mess is Ragland, who openly admits and regrets that she didn’t do enough to educate Megan about racism. Having to teach your children how to survive systemic racism is an emotionally crushing reality for most black parents. There are many ways you can try to procrastinate: moving to the right neighborhood, scouting suitable schools, and keeping a close eye on the books, movies, and media your child is exposed to. If you play your cards right—and having a daughter, not a son, can help—you may not have to start “talking” with your kids until middle school.

But fate gave Meghan and her mom a choice to pass on those difficult conversations, and they obviously took it. And I understand — and even sympathize — with Ragland’s choice. If there was a magic wand or random accident of genetics that would prevent anti-blackness from shaping my child’s life, I might do the same. Had she not married Harry, Meghan may have spent her entire life as a self-conscious, progressive, semi-white woman, accomplished B-list actress, and internet personality, whose racial identity might have occasionally featured in a celebrity “Little Little Known Fact” nothing more.

Apparently that was Megan’s choice, which is why I’m so uncomfortable with her. At a certain point, you either have to be responsible for filling in the holes in your upbringing, or own up to your decision not to. Meghan could have Googled “racism in the British royal family” the way she Googled the words “God save the Queen.” Years before she met Harry, she could have formed friendships and connections with black people who might have managed to distance her from some misguided expectation that her race would never matter. But it looks like she didn’t.

Megan is still somewhat sympathetic. It has become an iconic image for many black women like me, who have lived through the “threatened pet’, women who believed the pro-diversity pronouncements of the white-led institutions where we studied or worked, or who believed that we were magical sentient beings who could guide them to a more enlightened future. It is humbling and humiliating to face your own wrong, to fall for the oldest that a white supremacist society has to offer. But While it’s disappointing that the royal family has turned out this way, it’s no surprise—except for Meghan.

And Meghan’s persistent, breathless, tearful surprise about her experience — a shock she expects the viewing (and now, reading) world to share — is the clearest indication that she’s speaking primarily from a white perspective, and to a white audience. There is no corner of the diaspora that people would not have warned her about, had she ever asked.

I don’t hate Megan. I wish her a healthy and happy life with her devoted husband, with the security that families of all colors deserve. I don’t think she should stop talking about her experience. But I also wish she’d put a little more thought into how she works Do you.

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