In Meghan Markle’s latest episode of her podcast Archetypes, “The Duality of the Diva,” Mariah Carey and the Duchess discussed the complex nature of being biracial or mixed. Not only did it set the internet ablaze, but it also left something to be desired.
“I think for us, it’s very different because we’re light-skinned,” Markle said to Carey. “You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in-between.” She then goes into further detail about how marrying into the royal family exposed her to a sort of racism she hadn’t experienced before.
“If there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband. Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman. Because up until then, I had been treated like a mixed woman. And things really shifted.”
Alongside CNN’s Brianna Keilar and John Berman, Don Lemon discussed Markle’s revelation. “I commend Meghan Markle for going there, even though it is a bit shocking that at 30-some years of age, she is just understanding what it’s like to be a Black woman in America,” Lemon stated Wednesday morning.
In an explosive interview with Oprah last year, Markle and her husband Prince Harry revealed how insidious the racism toward her had been, not only from British tabloids but also the royal family.
She explained to the renowned media personality there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [her and Harry’s son, Archie’s] skin might be when he was born … Those were conversations that family had with Harry.” Her husband was noticeably tight-lipped when asked to name the family member who asked such a ridiculous question.
Markle has handled the vitriol she has received with grace. Not only did her family pack up and leave England when the treatment she received became unbearable, but the couple’s interview with Oprah shed light on the importance of mental health and how harshly discrimination happens on a global level.
In that same interview, Prince Harry shared that he had been financially cut off by his family when he and his wife opted out of their obligations. The fact the pair have been able to secure millions of dollars through undertakings with Spotify and Netflix is commendable. Markle’s interview in The Cut was a raw and honest look at her experience and how far she and Harry have come.
However, that doesn’t negate the fact that Markle gleefully benefited from being racially ambiguous until she couldn’t do so anymore. In past interviews, she described the privilege she has about being a light-skinned biracial woman and how it’s helped her access certain spaces and receive preferential treatment.
However, she never really condemned racism until she experienced it in such a public, overt and unapologetic way. The fact that she finally knows what it’s like to be treated like a Black woman—which is poorly—feels like a slap in the face to every Black woman who doesn’t have any other choice in the matter.
Markle felt not only racism because of marrying a British prince, but it was a combination of that, classism, xenophobia, and misogyny. Of course she experienced better treatment because she is a light-skinned Black woman. But now that she really knows how badly Black women are treated, what does she plan to do about it?