Prince Harry is being criticized for saying white people benefit from systemic racism

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Nominee, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and Jay-Z at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

I covered the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s discussion with Black leaders from the British commonwealth on the day the video was released. The video was part of Harry and Meghan’s continued work with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, positions they were given because Harry and Meghan are “younger royals” and they appeal demographically to the British commonwealth countries, which are full of young people of color. The Queen didn’t make Harry and Meghan withdraw from their QCT positions because even those fussy courtiers knew that it would look bad to replace the first black duchess with… you know, the Countess of Wessex or someone like that.

When I covered the video, I got mad because it was yet another example of the royal family wanting credit for Harry and Meghan bring to the table, yet the Windsors won’t support them or stop smearing them. I felt like Harry and Meghan should withdraw from the QCT out of a refusal to continue to be used as Inclusion Props. But as it turns out, those petty Windsors and the courtiers used Harry and Meghan’s QCT video for something else entirely: to simply further the smear campaign. In the video, Harry said this:

“When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past. It’s not going to be easy, and in some cases, it’s not going to be comfortable. But it needs to be done, because guess what: Everybody benefits.”

Acknowledging his own bias— “we can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently”—Harry then went on to call out systemic racism: “It’s there and it stays there because someone, somewhere is benefiting from it,” he said.

[From Vogue]

None of this is particularly controversial as far as content, it’s just that nothing like that has ever been said by a member of the royal family. There’s never been an acknowledgement that the family has historically been a group of racists and colonizers and they’ve benefited from it massively, as has the British establishment and aristocracy. The idea that systemic racism exists and thrives because white people benefit from it …is not a new thing. But there are so many white people in the British media who seem utterly shocked and appalled by Harry’s words, and the idea that he would turn his back on his racist, colonizer family and call them out this way.

There are “calls” for Harry to be stripped of his title. Many feel that the Queen will be very angry at Harry because he… acknowledged that systemic racism exists. An Oxford professor says the British empire has no dirty secrets! And Harry and Meghan are being called “woke” or performatively woke. All because Harry talked about racism. I cannot.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality!

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, QCT video screencaps.

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Nominee, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and Jay-Z at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.
Nominee, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and Jay-Z at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, January 5, 2020.