The monarchy is literally a bloodline. The whole thing is racist
People have sorta figured out that being a racist person is bad. Doing racist shit, however, is fine. It’s actually impossible in many people’s heads, because they’re not racist people. This is worse than outright racism, because people are in complete denial. This is, in many ways, what’s happening to Meghan Markle. When she talks about structural racism she has experienced, Brits are like “shut the fuck up we’re not racist!”
I’ll repeat this because it’s an important point. Very few people are full-time racists. It’s not a central part of most people’s identities. And yet we can all do racist shit. We can all participate in racist systems. I have, and I do. So do you. Many people don’t understand this. They’ll accept the general idea that racism is bad, but then deny the specifics. In fact, the specifics can’t be happening, because they’ve already said that racism is bad. There’s a very real idea that we’re done with this, and people still complaining are causing the problem.
The UK is perhaps the worst place in the world for this. British people really have this idea that they are not racist, that they abolished slavery, that they gave up colonialism, and so can everyone please shut the fuck up. Hence when Meghan Markle gets up and talks, peoples heads explode with cognitive dissonance. Britain is not racist, British people are not racist, so this person must by lying, money-grubbing, and wrong wrong wrong.
To many people of color this makes no sense because of course Britain is racist, but many British people really think that vaguely acknowledging privilege makes it all go away, and it really doesn’t work like that. Racism is how the world was structured, how it is structured, and there is no more obvious embodiment of that than the British Monarchy, a literal bloodline.
The British Society Of Idiots
No one has a worse case of cognitive dissonance than the British press, specifically the British Society Of Editors. This was their response:
The UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account following the attack on the press by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Society of Editors has commented.
The UK media has never shied away from holding a spotlight up to those in positions of power, celebrity or influence. If sometimes the questions asked are awkward and embarrassing, then so be it, but the press is most certainly not racist. (British Society Of Editors)
As you can see, they’re treating racism as a thing you are and not something you do. So in their heads, it’s like, this is hardly our full time job, sometimes we write about Lewis Hamilton. But then they’re ignoring the very real racist acts that they commit. I mean, what the fuck are these headlines?
And they really can’t see that Meghan is called “Straight Out Of Compton” and gets comments on exotic DNA that a white person simply would not get. And then there’s the sheer tone of the coverage she gets. White people really think that if they don’t say the n-word, they’re not being racist, but racism is much more insidious than that. Racism can weaponize an avocado.
The idea that the press, in general, has zero to interrogate about bigotry is laughable. Of course they do. Every person is capable of racism, and everyone in the UK press is capable of a lot. This is like that sex abuser Prince Andrew saying he doesn’t sweat. Everybody sweats. It’s a big lie.
And it’s not like racism is an anomaly in the British press, it’s actually endemic. When the UN sent a Special Rapporteur on racism, the press was racist to the special rapporteur.
I found it telling and deeply regrettable that on a mission to investigate conditions of racial equality in the UK, I myself became the target of racist media coverage. (E. Tendayi Achiume)
There are in fact numerous instances of racism in the British Press as detailed in this open letter from journalists of color. Of course there’s racism in the British Press. For starters, journalists are around 94% white, disproportionately male, and consistently taking dumps on migrants, colored people, and women. Besides the fact that racism is everywhere, it’s most definitely here.
The worst bigotry is this proud bigotry of denial.
When Meghan Markle gets up and says she has experienced racism from the royal family, from the British press, from the British people, that breaks this veil of denial. She says specifically that it has happened to her. Therefore, either what British people believe about themselves is wrong, or this one person is making it all up, so many people go with the latter. You can see it as the resolution of cognitive dissonance, because for British people to look at themselves would be too hard. They are one of the most gaslit nations on Earth.
Britons live under a monarchy. In this day and age, they still live under a fucking Queen. This is not a mere technicality, just because someone doesn’t use power doesn’t mean they don’t have it. The Prime Minister still needs permisson to run a government in some random billionaire’s name. The fact that Britain is an outlier among modern nations must be rationalized away by imagining that this shitty family is somehow the embodiment of civilization. The cognitive dissonance of realizing that they’re still fucking serfs is simply too much to bear.
That is to say, the denial of racism goes beyond the personal, it is also completely blind to the structural. Even Harry and Meghan would not go this far, but the problem is not that the monarch is not nice to them. It’s that they’re not nice at all. I have said that racism is what you do, but there is one big exception. For the royal family, unique among almost all families, racism is what they are.
Bloodlines Are Racist, Duh
As Priyamvada Gopal points out,
To put it bluntly, any institution that relies on the notion of ‘bloodlines’ is constitutively racial — and inevitably then, racist. In some ways it does not matter which royal made the remarks about skin colour for what is at stake is the institution’s sense of itself as, ultimately, a guardian of something enshrined in ‘blood’. (The Big Issue)
Racism is broadly the idea that some bloodlines are better than other, and that they have the right to stomp over anyone else. This is literally a definition of British Empire. Of this decrepit family. British Empire was the pinnacle of white supremacism for years, and populating it with more colorful people doesn’t change what it is. This just expands the definition of whiteness, it doesn’t abolish it.
Hence the issue is actually much bigger than the royal family being nice to Meghan. That would solve the personal problem of them being dicks, but not the structural one of them being dictators.
As Gopal explains,
Like colonial race-thinking, the British monarchy — and other institutions of its kind — is predicated on the notion of a biological and moral distinctiveness that is passed on genetically. Whiteness, an idea itself produced in the age of Empire, enabled Europeans, including Britain, to rule millions of people defined by their non-whiteness.
The royal right to rule, similarly, is underpinned by something called ‘royal blood’. Indeed, even now, the Queen’s direct female descendants carry the title of ‘blood princesses.’ Both monarchy and empire inextricably bound up with notions of racial distinctiveness and purity. (ibid)
All Too Much
Hence we have Inception levels of denial. British people have to deny that Meghan Markle experience racism because that would mean that racism is something they can do. Then they have to deny that the Royal Family is structurally racist, because that would mean that racism is something they are.
Hence, yes, obviously, many people choose saying “The bitch is lying! She’s doing it for her Netflix special! She should just shut the fuck up!” Many people of color see this vituperative spitting and it looks insane, but this is precisely how cognitive dissonance is resolved.
In order to avoid an uncomfortable truth, people will believe any lie, as long as it preserves their sense of self. Because the sense of self must be preserved above all, and that is what the British preserve in their royal family. The sense that they are good people, who did good things, and not in fact the historically worst people in the world. The British people are in a toxic relationship with their royal family, gaslit into defending them, and attacking anyone who attacks their fragile sense of self. They are represented by Meghan Markle far more than they know.