Updated: Mar 21, 2021
This week, I am somewhat shaken given the interview that Oprah Winfrey had with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Although I did not watch the interview in its entirety, I picked up enough information from social media to realize that Meghan Markle had been traumatized as a member of the royal family. (Black Twitter and British Twitter were battling like the 2021 version of the Revolutionary War!) Some of the major points that I gleaned from the conversation are as follows:
(1) Prince Harry is an amazing accomplice. He saw how being a member of the Royal Family tormented his mother, Princess Diana, and he did what he needed to do to protect his wife and his family at all costs. He gave up his title, moved to another country, and protected his woman. The wedding vows that he made were real, and he proved it in that interview. He wanted the entire world to know that they were real.
(2) Markle endured pressure that the public did not see. She mentioned that she had thoughts of harming herself although she was pregnant. She also noted that she expected to be protected in her position as a Princess and a Duchess. The problem was that she never was protected. In fact, it sounded like a case of continuous bullying. To know that "The Institution" (code for the organization that upholds the British monarchy) did not protect her is baffling. Meghan and Harry said that the core problem was racism despite denials from Queen Elizabeth who responded coolly and said that "recollections may vary." Reading and hearing about this lack of attention is somewhat sickening considering that they allowed racism to supersede blood ties that could not even penetrate strong traditions.
(3) Meghan's experience is not different from many experiences of Black women in the world. There were some people who are saying that if she and her royal status could not be protected from racism, the rest of us have no hope. This is a sobering thought since many people do not have national platforms to tell their stories, and they do not have the money to move out of situations that are harmful to them. They have to endure and bear stress and trauma, often making themselves sick and not living lives that represent their full potential.
People may say that the ultimate solution for anyone in situations similar to Meghan Markle's is to walk away. This might be an option, but what if everyone walked away? What if no one ever spoke out? What if no one ever said that bad behavior was unacceptable? Would these actions continue for years, resulting in continued trauma and sickness that dominates the lives of Meghan Markle and other women like her?
There are those of us who are meant to be abolitionists. Goodness knows that as sexy as being an abolitionist sounds, I don't enjoy being in this position. I didn't aspire to be a Harriet Tubman. This calling somehow chose me. I know that I cannot change who I am and who I was created to be. When I am in situations where injustice is rearing its head, I want to be silent. (I promise I do!) I just want to participate, not speak up and lead the movement. Nevertheless, I often find myself being the one who has to say something when situations are not equitable or when policies are not transparent.
For those of us who are abolitionists, activists, blueprinters, and the ones who make good trouble, I want to encourage you. When you speak up, people pay attention because you are not afraid to pay it forward, and you're not afraid to put yourself out there so other people can have better lives.
Even if you are not applauded by those who see what you're trying to do to make environments better, in the end, you have to believe that what you are doing matters. There are too many people enduring pain they shouldn't have to carry.
There are too many Meghan Markles in the world. Whether you are Meghan or an abolitionist, the pain needs to stop.