Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Racism and the Duchess

Of course, Marie-Antoinette is dragged into it again. But other than that this is a well-written piece. From The Telegraph:
Writing in The New York Times, British author Afua Hirsch decried our “racist treatment of Meghan”, which “proved what many of us have always known: no matter how beautiful you are, whom you marry, what palaces you occupy, charities you support, how faithful you are, how much money you accumulate or what good deeds you perform, in this society racism will still follow you”.

Supplant the word “racism” for “criticism”, and Oxford-educated Hirsch is bang on. We love our royals and, like a nation of nightmare mother-in-laws, we’re overprotective and intrusive, zeroing in on every tiniest spousal misstep and capable of coddling an inexhaustive number of petty grudges at any one time. 
So, yes, we sighed, snarked and snorted about silly things, like Markle closing her own car door, the fact that in six months this woman spent five times what any royal in the whole of Europe had on clothes, and various Marie-Antoinette-isms involving things like penning empowering messages on bananas for sex workers. And yes, the courtiers will also have been uniquely poisonous about all of that and more.
But as a former Hollywood actress, this can’t be Markle’s first encounter with back-stabbing and bitchery? And weren’t Camilla and Fergie put through exactly the same baptism of fire? 
Remember that Saturday, when we welcomed Ms Markle into the fold? I was in the grounds of Windsor Castle. I saw the Brits who had travelled to be there celebrating the arrival of the first African-American member of the Royal family – many of them mixed-race couples (estimated to be 9 per cent of the population in the UK, as opposed to just 4.6 per cent in Wokeville, Canada, and 2 per cent in the US).

And what struck me then, as someone who has lived in the US on and off for the past decade, was how blissfully uncluttered and unpolarised we were by racial issues in comparison. How very – to coin Megxit terminology – naturally and unselfconsciously “progressive”: a thought echoed by Trevor Phillips this month, who called Britain “the only country in the world where a sizeable mixed-race population has come about as a consequence of love, rather than coercion or slavery”. It struck me, too, that we were very optimistic about a woman we knew so little about. 
Over time, that optimism was eroded not by the occurrence of rapid-onset racism, but by Markle’s actions and behaviour. The capriciousness over Frogmore Cottage, Archie’s hide-and-seek christening and the ghastly press, who simply would not pander in the way that they were ordered to. 
Oh, and the overt whinging about us to everyone from Pharrell Williams (“they don’t make it easy”) to Tom Bradby: “Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she told the journalist as – in an eye-watering feat of narcissism – she managed to eclipse every cause she and her husband had gone to Africa to highlight, and make it all about her. In toddler tantrum-style, the list goes on, ending only with yesterday’s emergency summit. So, no, Meghan: had you been blonde-haired and blue-eyed, you wouldn’t have been judged any differently. Because this isn’t racism: this is piece-of-work-ism. (Read more.)

From The Federalist:
You don’t need genius to know that Hirsch is therefore utterly deluded in her assertions or, worse, deliberately race-baiting. Millions welcomed the new couple when they married, and lined up on the streets to celebrate. Britain remains one of the safest countries in Europe, and its overt structural racism is minimal compared to the rest of the continent. British society, other than some specific communities in a handful of cities, is overall extremely well integrated socially and economically, and significantly happy. These communities are also a significant social-conservative force and backers of Brexit. High-ranking members of the current Conservative government, including Sajid Javid and Priti Patel, are from a minority British background. 
The reason for Harry and Meghan’s departure is pure liberal-individualist narcissism. And both are equally responsible for that. Due to its symbolic and apolitical nature, British aristocracy are not supposed to publicly espouse political opinions, much less actively lecture people about mental health, toxic masculinity, or climate change. They are supposed to go to war, open hospitals, and silently take part in charitable causes. Duty, stoicism, propriety, and patriotism are supposed to be the four cornerstones of nobility. (Read more.) 

More HERE. (I hate the comparison with Marie-Antoinette.) Share

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