Author: Nykia Herron-Ash
There was never going to be a way for the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to ever truly be accepted by the Royal Family or the British public. Her fate was sealed from the moment she met her Prince. Her fate had actually already been determined by the DNA which was passed down to her from her very own mother. Being a woman is hard. But being a BLACK woman can be utterly exhausting… because, in whatever we do, too much is never enough.
I can speak on this. I am a black woman. I am a black AMERICAN woman. I know how strenuously and tirelessly we have to work just to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. And we are lucky if we are ever respected or treated with equality and equity. So, when Meghan Markle decided she would marry Prince Harry, I already knew her road ahead was going to be tough, if not brutal. How would she ever be a welcomed member of an institution which had never known the likes of her? And how would the British public receive this foreign black stranger into something that has always been undeniably British and white?
From the start, Meghan Markle seemingly has had to spend more time defending herself from the British press than she has even spent being a wife and a mother. And now on the heels of her and Harry’s exclusive interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey which is set to air on Monday at 01:00GMT, old allegations of her being a bully during her time at Kensington Palace are suddenly re-emerging. Claims from TWO years ago which should have been swiftly dealt with when they happened (if they happened) are now the source of an investigation by Buckingham Palace. Oh, the timing and convenience of it!
Is it possible that Meghan could be guilty of such accusations? Yes, it is. Is it also possible that the racism which is deeply ingrained in our society might negative shape the judgment capabilities of certain people as well? Of course, it is. If Meghan truly mistreated the staff at Kensington Palace, one must wonder why such a serious issue would get swept under the carpet and not revealed again for so long. It is quite fathomable that Buckingham Palace is doing its best to do damage control over what they know is going to be disclosed in the Oprah interview by viciously and frantically trying to discredit Meghan’s character. We’ve seen this happening to her repeatedly – by Royal Family staffers, the press, and even her own father.
It is no secret that Meghan Markle is a strong black woman who is not afraid to speak her mind and her heart.
But being a strong black woman comes with a hefty price.
A strong black woman will often be labelled as “angry.” A strong black woman is often called “disrespectful.” A strong black woman often gets hypersexualised and treated like an object of lustful desires. A strong black woman will be told she should stay in her place or be dismissed completely.
Many people are genuinely afraid of and/or intimidated by the sheer power of a black woman. That brazen power is mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We are great defenders of those we love. We will fight that fight to the death of ourselves to protect them. And we black women have to do twice as much – maybe even five or ten times more – as the average white person to make any ground or headway in our lifetimes. And even then, we get put down for being as fierce as we are only to be forgotten, excluded, dismissed, and disregarded which inevitably leaves us feeling as though we are not enough. So, which one is it? Is Meghan Markle too much or is she not enough? Or is it just that she makes some people too uncomfortable by holding a mirror to their deep-seated hatred and bigotry which they are not yet ready to face?
I appreciate Meghan Markle for her courage to stand up to institutional racism. I applaud her for using the platform she has been given to speak the unpopular truth. I admire her for not caving to the pressure to be quiet and look pretty as it seems the Royal Family would much rather have it and instead using her intelligence to effect change on a global scale.
I am also sad that she is not able to live peacefully with her husband and their baby and enjoy their lives together without their names constantly being dragged through the mud. I am now disheartened at what once was a big celebration.
That a black American woman would ever be a “princess” was something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It gave me so much hope that maybe we were all going in the right direction. I believed that this would be such a gamechanger for black women but once again I am left feeling that no matter what we do, we will never be enough for this world.
My message to all the little black and brown girls out there who dream of being princesses someday…
DREAM BIGGER! You deserve so much more.