Edward Enninful on the attacks on Duchess Meg: ‘I wouldn’t just blame it on racism’

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Edward Enninful is the editor-in-chief of British Vogue. Enninful was famously the one to pitch the Duchess of Sussex on the possibility of a cover, to which she suggested that she guest-edit the magazine and do it as a “Forces For Change” issue. That issue picked up magazine awards and Enninful got a lot of praise, just as Meghan got criticized and attacked for a full month about the issue. God, I always forget just how bad that was and how gleefully people attacked her and how much of it was about race. Enninful was also very recently the victim of racial profiling, when a security guard at British Vogue’s London headquarters told him to enter the building through the back. All of which to say, Enninful knows racism when he sees it. Right? Wrong.

British Vogue editor Edward Enninful is glad he was racially profiled at work because it reminds him never to think of himself as “too successful”. Speaking to Sky News on the day that Vogue revealed its September issue was produced by a predominantly black team, Mr Enninful says systemic racism is a global problem.

The editor of the fashion bible made headlines across the world when he tweeted about being racially profiled at Vogue House when a security guard told him to use the loading bay when he arrived at work. Recalling the incident, he said he is glad that it happened because it reminds him never to think that he is too well-known. He said: “It wasn’t an isolated incident. Of course, it takes you back to all those moments in your life when that sort of thing has happened. For me, the beauty of that incident is that it just makes me aware to never think I’m too successful, that it can happen any day. I have to be really alert and deal with it.”

He added: “It’s important that something like this did happen, because it reminds me never to think I am too well-known or too established, because to somebody you are another black person.”

Breaking new ground as an editor has always been Mr Enninful’s forte and never more so than when he invited the Duchess of Sussex to guest edit the Forces For Change edition. Meghan was heavily criticised for taking on the role. Mr Enninful describes her treatment as unfair and harsh but doesn’t blame it solely on racism. He said: “The Duchess of Sussex is a brave woman. I feel that part of the problem is, it was more institutional. She walked into an institution and everybody expected her to know the rules. Sometimes it takes a minute to understand the rules. She did get very unfair treatment. It was harsh but I wouldn’t just blame it on racism.”

[From More Radio]

I saw that the Sussex Squad peeps were upset about Enninful’s denial that Meghan’s treatment was racism (or solely about racism). The man is an editor and he absolutely could have said that better and done better with that question overall. I think what he was *trying* to say that there were a lot of different elements to why people smeared and attacked Meghan the way they have, and that racism is one part of it. Sexism is definitely in the mix, as is anti-Americanism and just a flat-out nativism from British people on the whole. But mostly I think that even though Enninful is a Black man, he is still a British man and as we’ve seen time and time again, most British media peeps are just psychologically incapable of identifying racism and naming it publicly.

As for this: “She walked into an institution and everybody expected her to know the rules. Sometimes it takes a minute to understand the rules.” As we saw for more than two years, it seemed like “the rules” were made up on the spot and applied arbitrarily. That’s all I’ll say about that.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful attend The Fashion Awards 2019 at The Royal Albert Hall. London, UK. 02/12/2019
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Edward Enninful at arrivals for 22nd Ann...