A royal baby with black heritage will have absolutely no effect on the issues facing black Britons like me

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2019-05-12 17:57Z by Steven

A royal baby with black heritage will have absolutely no effect on the issues facing black Britons like me

The Independent
2019-05-07

Kuba Shand-Baptiste

This is the same United Kingdom that was so taken aback by Jon Snow’s remark on ‘Channel 4 News’ that he had ‘never seen so many white people in one place’ at a predominantly white Brexiteer rally, that thousands of people, unfamiliar with being classified as anything but the default, complained

So, the new royal baby is here. Since Meghan Markle’s explosive arrival on the scene, the media has speculated wildly about the significance of her heritage, as well as that of her child.

What did her race say about this country? Was this as monumental a moment as Obama’s presidential election, then thought of as a marker of post-racialism in America? And now that the baby, with his mixed-race American mother and white British princely father, is here – does he represent the so-called progressiveness the United Kingdom increasingly ascribes for itself?…

…The United Kingdom this baby has been born into still struggles to muster the introspection to really grapple with its existing history with race. We’ve seen it in dog whistle attacks on Markle over the last few years, even in the last few months, from outrage over her star-studded baby shower in the States, to accusations of the Duchess of Sussex’s bad or “difficult” attitude. Yet, it seems, vast swathes of the nation are still taken by the notion that the arrival of this child has the power to eclipse that. No chance…

Read the entire article here.

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What The Reaction To The Royal Baby Says About Racial Identity And Racism

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-05-11 15:10Z by Steven

What The Reaction To The Royal Baby Says About Racial Identity And Racism

Gothamist
WYNC
New York, New York
2019-05-10

Rebecca Carroll, Editor of Special Projects

2019_05_babysussex.jpg
Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire (Shutterstock)

In the five days since Meghan Markle, the black and biracial American who married into the British monarchy, gave birth to her son Archie Harrison Mountbattan-Windsor, at least two media outlets have posted blatantly racist commentary targeting the royal baby’s racial identity. On Tuesday, CNN published an article by John Blake with the headline, “How Black Will the Baby Be?

The story unleashed a torrent of backlash on social media…

…Don’t get me wrong. The myth of mixed-race and racially ambiguous children as representative of hope and harmony is real. Mixed-race people are notoriously fetishized, and colorism is rampant in mainstream media and Hollywood and, well, across many industries. Dark-skinned black folks are without question discriminated against in far greater numbers than lighter-skinned and mixed-race black folks…

Read the entire article here.

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Episode 1

Posted in Arts, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-02-06 02:22Z by Steven

Episode 1

Shade Podcast: UK culture and news podcast focused on the mixed race experience
2019-01-19

Laura Hesketh, Co-Host
Liverpool, England

Lou Mensah, Co-Host
London, England

Debut episode from Laura Hesketh & Lou Mensah where we discuss identification, Meghan Markle (00:01:36), the Khloé Kardashian bi racial doll tweet (00:07:25), Colin Kaepernick (00:10:40), Steven Riley (00:12:22), and more.

Listen to the episode (00:14:19) here. Download the episode here.

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Why Barack is black and Megan is biracial

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-07-01 20:07Z by Steven

Why Barack is black and Megan is biracial

Media Diversified
2018-06-28

Olivia Woldemikael, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Harvard University

Olivia Woldemikael discusses the differences in how Megan Markle and Barack Obama present themselves racially and asks what it means for blackness as an identity

The exclusivity and purity of the racial categories, black and white, is a myth, and a destructive one. Yet, it is continuously perpetuated in national discourse and family conversations. As the personalities of celebrities and politicians continue to be venerated in America, the racial identity of public figures such as Barack Obama and Meghan Markle are important sites for changing our ideas about race.

It’s no surprise to me that Barack Obama was considered America’s first black president and Meghan Markle is considered the biracial princess of England. The two are similarly “light-skinned” in racial parlance. Yet, the manner in which each of them has constructed signifiers of their race explains the difference in public perception. While perception alone does not diminish either’s proximity to whiteness and privilege, which may help explain their success. It does, however, draw attention to the way individuals are able to exercise agency in determining their racial identity, undermining the monolithic American racial ideology. The divergent public personas that Obama and Markle have cultivated demonstrate the fragility of racial categories and hierarchies, as well as highlight the need for a paradigmatic shift in the way we discuss and represent race in the media…

Read the entire article here.

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Steve William’s Column: Invisible blackness, can you see it?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-05-28 02:33Z by Steven

Steve William’s Column: Invisible blackness, can you see it?

South Strand News
Georgetown, South Carolina
2015-05-25

Steve Williams

Steve Williams (copy)
Steve Williams

Last weekend’s royal wedding in England was a beautiful thing to behold. Many have likened it to Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Social media is abuzz with millions who witnessed it; perhaps because Meghan Markle, who is of mixed racial heritage, didn’t diminish her African heritage rather, she celebrated it. When talking about her mixed heritage, race isn’t something she leads with, but she’s clearly comfortable talking about it. She tells a story of growing up and having her mother pick her up from school; how her friends would often ask — “who’s that black lady? Is she your maid?”

A self-described feminist and egalitarian Meghan has proudly supported many causes for those who are marginalized. Her wedding ceremony spoke volumes for her character. Likewise, kudos must be given to Prince Harry and the royal family for allowing her to express it. Maybe they’re more progressive than I thought…

While more and more celebrities like Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Sade, Drake, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are celebrating their multicultural heritage today, this was not always the case — particularly those black celebrities who could “pass” for white

…Yet, the question of race for many blacks in America was determined by the so-called “One Drop Rule.” The law adopted by most Southern states originated during slavery and reinforced under Jim Crow, said if an individual has one single drop of “black blood” in their ancestry, then that individual is black regardless of his or her appearance.

In the early 1900s, being “black” or “colored” had drastic practical consequences even for whites.

The story is told of John Kirby who was the son of Big John Godbolt. Godbolt was one-eighth African and seven-eighths European. That meant Big John was legally classified as “colored” under South Carolina law. But John Kirby’s mother was white which meant John Kirby and his siblings had less than one-eighth African blood and were legally not “colored.” Instead, having only one-thirty-second African blood they were legally coded as “white.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle and the Bicultural Blackness of the Royal Wedding

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-21 14:33Z by Steven

Meghan Markle and the Bicultural Blackness of the Royal Wedding

The New York Times
2018-05-20

Salamishah Tillet, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding ceremony in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Pool photo by WPA

“Who are your people?” is the question that repeatedly came to me as I watched Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s mother, sitting a few feet away from her daughter at Saturday’s royal wedding. A common expression among southern African-Americans when greeting a stranger, it is never simply a matter of bloodline or individual biography. Rather, responses like “I’m the daughter of so and so” or “My family comes from here by way of there” serves the greater purpose of attesting to one’s place in history and potential bonds of kinship.

Despite Ms. Ragland’s being the sole member of Ms. Markle’s family at the wedding, we still know so little about her. In contrast to the media obsession with Ms. Markle’s father and his children from his first marriage, Ms. Ragland is a bit of a mystery who rarely gives interviews. As a result of her silence, we are left to deduce meaning from her physical image. As she sat across from the British monarchy in her pale green Oscar de la Renta dress and coat, it was the symbolism of her long dreadlocks, quietly tucked underneath her hat, that spoke volumes as it reminded us that black women’s natural hair is regal too.

Among the group of black women with whom I watched the ceremony early Saturday morning in New Jersey, she was a source of pride. Yet out of a sense of sisterly protection, we were also worried about her as she sat there alone, without siblings or friends. The wedding itself helped alleviate our fears, for even if none were not physically present at St. George’s Chapel, the ceremony was filled with gestures, big and small, that explicitly celebrated her “people” and the various black worlds in which she raised Ms. Markle.

But it was “what are you?” — a substantially more alienating question than “who are your people?” — that Meghan Markle recalls hearing almost every day of her life. In a 2015 essay for Elle magazine, she wrote, “I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes. A mouthful, yes, but one that I feel paints a pretty solid picture of who I am.” But such an answer is insufficient. Ms. Markle went on, “But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do.”…

Read the entire article here.

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“You say they’ll be cool with it, but seriously, Harry, you don’t know how white people can get about this stuff.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2018-05-20 00:44Z by Steven

“You say they’ll be cool with it, but seriously, Harry, you don’t know how white people can get about this stuff. I really don’t want to show up to the royal goddamned wedding and suddenly the Queen, Prince Charles, and Camilla Little-Miss-Perfect Duchess of Cornwall are being all weird! I wonder what could make them act like that, huh? Oh, God—please say your brother Prince William at least knows.” —“Meghan Markle

Furious Meghan Markle Can’t Believe Harry Hasn’t Told Family She’s Black Yet,” The Onion, May 17, 2018. https://www.theonion.com/furious-meghan-markle-can-t-believe-harry-hasn-t-told-f-1826104835.

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Meghan Markle Can’t Save the World

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2018-05-19 23:26Z by Steven

Meghan Markle Can’t Save the World

Jacobin
December 2017

Branko Marcetic, Editorial Assistant
Auckland, New Zealand


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photo call to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

A just world would be one without royalty — and celebrity humanitarians.

The British royal family has had a banner decade. Intentionally or not, the latest generation’s charisma, combined with a steady stream of high-profile media events from the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the 2012 Olympics to William and Kate’s wedding and their first, second, and third kid, has made the royal family more popular than ever, partially suppressing the British public’s rising tide of republican feeling. Prince Harry’s recent engagement to Suits actress and activist Meghan Markle has reinforced this process, foreshadowing a literal marriage of Hollywood glitz and British royalty.

The public has almost universally gushed over Markle since her relationship with and now engagement to Prince Harry was revealed, and it’s not hard to see why. The fact that she’s not only a “commoner” but American — and a person of color at that — signifies the changing face of the British monarchy. But most profiles have zeroed in on Markle’s outspoken feminism, her criticism of the Trump administration, and her humanitarian work for the UN and the charity World Vision. Pundits have also expressed their disappointment that she will have to curb her activist streak upon marrying into the family…

Read the entire article here.

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Furious Meghan Markle Can’t Believe Harry Hasn’t Told Family She’s Black Yet

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-05-19 21:44Z by Steven

Furious Meghan Markle Can’t Believe Harry Hasn’t Told Family She’s Black Yet

The Onion
2018-05-17

LONDON—Reacting with indignation and frustration as her fiancé admitted his continued omission, furious royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle found herself unable to believe Thursday that Prince Harry had not yet informed the royal family that she is, in fact, black. “Jesus, Harry, what the hell? Are you ashamed of me?…

Read (and laugh at) the entire article here.

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Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-05-19 21:28Z by Steven

Meghan Markle Is ‘Changing Discussions About What It Means to Be Biracial in America’

PEOPLE
2018-05-19

Breanne L. Heldman, Senior Editor


Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Meghan Markle didn’t just become the Duchess of Sussex on Saturday when she married Prince Harry in a gorgeous ceremony at St. George’s Church in Windsor Castle. She also became an important cultural icon of positive change in race relations around the world.

“The U.K. has one of the fastest-growing mixed-race populations in the world,” notes Dr. Sarah E. Gaither, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who also runs the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab. “To the biracial community, she’s really serving as a symbol of this changing demographic that Britain is facing in addition to the United States.”

“Meghan and Harry’s marriage is really significant because the British monarchy has always been viewed as so, so white,” DaVette See, correspondent for Black Girl Nerds, tells PEOPLE. “Now, they will be seen as more a part of a multicultural world.”.

“Being a biracial American, I didn’t grow up with a lot of biracial exemplars in mainstream media or the books I read,” says Gaither, “so Meghan Markle is really an inspiration for a lot of women of color, a lot of girls of color across the United States in showing that you can help change the historical ties. You can start changing discussions about what it means to be biracial and what it means to be black in America and, now in Britain as well.”…

Read the entire article here.

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