Why Black People Don’t Care About Royalty

White Americans may be obsessed with Prince Harry's visit, but African Americans are not.

Prince Harry (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Prince Harry (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(The Root) — It’s rarely a good idea to make a sweeping racial generalization — ever. But I’m taking a risk and making one now: Most black Americans don’t care about royalty. To be more specific, most don’t care about the British royal family — from Queen Elizabeth to Kate Middleton, and certainly not the visiting Prince Harry — that the rest of America seems obsessed with.

Now, before someone sends me an email, Facebook message or tweet to say, “But I care about the British royal family, Keli,” let me say this: I’m not saying there is not a single black person who cares about them. I’m saying I’ve never met that person, and in all of the black people I have met in my life, I have never met another black person who has met that person.

Need proof besides my word? Take a look at this photo of female Capitol Hill staffers waiting to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry during his visit to the United States this week. Do you see any black women? Because I don’t. (I realize that racial identity is a complex subject, so I apologize in advance to anyone in the photo who identifies as black.)

Yet Prince Harry’s visit is being covered as if it were definitely the most important news story to most American women, and possibly the most important news story to all Americans. Just as Middleton has graced the covers of hundreds of American magazines as if she’s one of the most interesting women to Americans.

Maybe they are.

Just not to black Americans.

So why is that?

For starters, I think a lot of black Americans don’t celebrate inherited privilege the way some other groups do. When some people see a name like “Romney” or “Bush,” they think, “I know that name. That name equals “experience” or “a great family.”

Black Americans are more likely to say, “I know that name. I guess his daddy’s planning to buy him a governor’s mansion or the White House.” This perception isn’t necessarily party-specific, either. Though Hillary Clinton is now beloved after an impressive stint as secretary of state in the Obama administration, I believe that for a number of African Americans, part of the allure of supporting President Obama over then-Sen. Clinton in 2008 was that his parents or spouse didn’t open doors for him the way Mrs. Clinton’s husband, as a former president, was able to do for her.