Supportive of Harry and Meghan: Joanne Savage says claims of racism are no surprise

Two News Letter journalists had opposite reactions to the Oprah Winfrey interview. Here, JOANNE SAVAGE says the royal system is backward

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 7:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 7:37 pm
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their interview with Oprah Winfrey. Joanne Savage writes: "If Meghan has started a conversation about race and royalty that reminds us of the Windsors’ brutal colonialist past, is this not a victory for progressives?" Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions /PA Wire

(See below for a link to Ben Lowry’s very different take on the TV programme)

In the middle of a global pandemic when so many are struggling to make a living under lockdown, lots of people will see Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview as an excessive case of self-pitying twaddle from two multi-millionaires cocooned in their Montecito mansion delivering grand objectives to change the world “one act of compassion at a time” while pouring scorn on an institution which so many revere.

We cannot deny that the press has been savage in its hounding of Meghan Markle from the moment the mixed-race beauty appeared on the arm of her prince, critiquing her attempts at “woke” politics and, never ceasing to make her skin colour an issue of wonder.

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Finally a woman who is not caucasian has made it into The Firm! Imagine!

There was a sense that suddenly the monarchy was displaying joyous cultural diversity by welcoming her with fanfare and adoration. But the reality, according to the duchess, is less pretty.

Is it hard to believe that some dim-witted, antiquated royal might be guilty of asking what skin colour Archie could be born with? Or that race may have been a factor in the decision not to bequeath him with a title?

The Windsors are and always will be a majoritarian conservative, all-white, expensive cadre of symbolic ‘figure heads’ endowed with hereditary power by sheer accident of birth.

Royal power, based on bloodshed and bloodlines, sits awkwardly alongside our democratic institutions like an outmoded bulwark, there only as a circus of distraction, a soap opera of bluebloods to gossip about while the political classes pass questionable legislation in plain sight.

Now Meghan has given us a taste of its backwardness on the question of race. Is this surprising given how endemic racial intolerance remains in certain quarters of the US and Britain? Do we see many black faces in all the top professions? No. There are only a token few.

If Meghan has started a conversation about race and royalty that reminds us of the Windsors’ brutal colonialist past, is this not a victory for progressives?

Should a baby’s skin colour matter? Of course not.

For it even to be raised as an issue suggests a colonialist mindset grappling with the possibility of a new phenomenon – a mixed race British prince. But The Firm put the kibosh on this.

The spectre of racist oppression has not been eradicated. Should we even be surprised?

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