The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with son Archie Louis-Mountbatten Windsor will now live mostly in Canada. But I’m not here to debate the Monarchy, rather the circumstances that forced the couple’s hand.
Irrespective of title and lineage, Harry and Meghan are human beings; real people with feelings. As someone who lives with the hurt of estrangement, regardless of the why’s and the wherefore’s; the decision to cut the ties that bind is no less painful. It is a decision, not easily made, and one you have to live with for the rest of your life. However, ultimately, the preservation of one’s sanity and the urge to protect those nearest and dearest, trumps all.
The Monarchy is a tenacious institution, one that often seems reluctant to move with the times. By not protecting Meghan from the tabloids, and their relentless, vicious racist harrying, it not only cost them family; but also an opportunity to move forward and become a more progressive, relatable and ambiguous monarchy. It would seem they learned little from the death of Lady Diana. But while the Monarchy haven’t helped themselves, it is the bottom feeders of the British Press, the tabloids who are most culpable. The older I get, the more I despise them, yet remain aghast at the level of impunity with which they operate.
The tabloids are adept at tapping into society’s bigoted underbelly. And just because the majority don’t use the ‘n’ word now, racism still exists. Nowadays, instead, its covert and coded language, she with her “exotic DNA” and “straight outta Compton” upbringing. Or describing Meghan’s mother as a “dreadlocked African-American from the wrong side of the tracks.” Drip-fed, these subtle yet important distinctions leave their mark. Meghan is being specifically targeted as a bi-racial black woman, without question, her colour is the at the heart of this.
However, not all racism is covert, occasionally its as plain as the nose on your face. Like comedy writer, journalist and radio BBC 5 Live DJ Danny Baker’s remark. Tweeting on the same day Harry and Meghan appeared for the first time with their new-born son Archie; he shared a photograph which featured a picture of a chimpanzee with the caption “Royal Baby leaves hospital.” Ironically, the image was supposed to be an attempt at lampooning privilege with Mr Baker stating “I chose the wrong photo to illustrate a joke.”
The Press coverage of Meghan and her constant comparison to Kate, is like black and white. The bias is staggering, but then Kate keeps her head down while ticking all the tabloid boxes. She conforms, fits the mould, is an heir-making machine, has no voice or opinion, and as an added bonus is painfully thin and white. Not unlike Lady Diana before the Black Dress and the “there were three of us” interview. Overnight she went from media darling to Wallis Simpson. As joyous as the marriage of Harry and Meghan was, Meghan was not America’s Obama moment, but as long as she conformed, her mixed-race proximity to whiteness was palatable. But alas, the lass has sass and the Press weren’t for that.
Prince Andrew quits his Royal duties, after allegedly, having sex with teenage girls. The guy who procured the girls, many underage, was Jeffery Epstein; a close friend, convicted pedophile and child trafficker. Yet despite the fact the Press have known for years Andrew is a dirty, sweaty skank. Or that he, for reasons best known to himself, remained friends with Epstein after his release from prison. But bar a couple of weeks in the news, the story has up and conveniently vanished like a fart in the wind. Meghan, however, bares a shoulder or eats an avocado and the tabloids lose their minds. A recent headline screamed “Beaming Queen arrives with Prince Andrew after signing off on Harry’s deal.” If only Andrew had been exposed to the same forensic scrutiny as Meghan, it would read quite a different story. The hypocrisy is astounding.
And folk are shocked and angered that Harry got his wife and child the fuck out? The same lad, age twelve, who had to walk behind his mother’s coffin, who grew up knowing the media were complicit in the death of his mother. Paris or not, it was the same vultures who papped photos of her as she lay dying. Those said photos freely available to view on the Internet. I ask you, given the circumstances, would you wait around for similar to happen again?
“Whites, it must be frankly said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to re-educate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority, that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”
– Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
I appreciate that as a nation we are not all racist, much of it is ignorance and white privilege. Take Danny Baker (please). An overrated comedian and talentless white bloke mansplaining how he didn’t see likening a child of mixed-race to a chimpanzee as racist. That’s white privilege. Or, more recently, that at recent stand up show he received a standing ovation. By its very nature, an unconscious bias is privilege. And before it starts snowing, all I’m saying is; Privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard. Rather that your skin colour isn’t one of the things making it harder.
You may know it’s Burn’s Night on Saturday, but what you may not know is that the great Scottish Bard considered a position as a book-keeper on a Plantation before he put quill to paper. The slave trade made Scotland rich, very rich. It wasn’t just the United States who mercilessly exploited Caribbean countries, our forefathers were just as complicit. Slavery kick-started Scotland’s Industrial Revolution, companies like Tate and Lyle, made sweet from the shackled suffering of slaves.
While America wears its racism on its sleeve, here in Britain, like a handkerchief half seen, the bigotry is neatly tucked into our top pocket. At least with the USA, you know where you stand. Trump knew his voters, and he was elected because American citizens identified with his values. Trump may speak for white America, but let’s not saddle up the moral high horse just yet. Because in Britain, we pay money to let the tabloids do our dirty talking. The Daily Fail only costs 65p, but then so does two rolls of toilet paper. Seriously though, who reads this shit? Reckon it must be the same folk who gave Danny Baker a standing ovation. Even if the world had no toilet paper left, I still wouldn’t use that gutter tripe to wipe my arse.
What’s Black and White and Read All Over?
Folks used to consider the gore of gladiator pits entertainment. Gawp and mock at the Freak Show. Or queue in their droves for the soap operas of their time, public executions. For a mere pittance, they could watch hangings and the guillotine. And if they were lucky, one could sit in the front row and watch as the heads rolled into baskets. Nowadays it’s much more civilised of course, it’s all harmless stuff like internet trolls, Instagram and Love Island. However, the Beast still needs feeding, and the tabloids are more than happy to throw it some scraps. For those that like a bit more meat on their bones, there’s always a ‘journalist’ willing to pay for photos of the dying or lead with an expose after hacking the phone of a missing and subsequently murdered teenage girl.
Within hours of Prince Harry arriving in Canada to join his family, the couple issued another legal warning about media intrusion; after photographs of Meghan and baby Archie were published (without her consent) in newspapers and websites. They travel over three and a half thousand miles to start a new life, and still can’t be left in peace. Why? Because the tabloids have their hooks in and the masses can smell blood. Like the scene in Gladiator when Maximus realises in order to survive he must win the crowd, it is only after he has nobody else left to kill, he shouts “are you not entertained?”
It would seem not. Give them blood, guts and gore and they will scream for the soul. It is a truly vicious circle, misery loves company and the tabloids know it. The marriage of Harry and Meghan symbolised a new era, it was meant to personify a post-racial Britain – then the tabloids happened. And ultimately, we only have ourselves to blame.ShareThis>