Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
If you are one of the millions of people who tuned into Oprah’s special sit down interview with the Duke and Duchess of Suxess, then you probably fall under one of two camps. The camp that is in support of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. And the camp that does not. But instead of telling you which to chose (to me it should not be about choosing really); I do believe that the interview provided some much needed insight into a few important issues. Issues, which because of the high profile of Meghan and Harry, have been overlooked and some key learning moments missed. Here are some of my takeaways and lessons on the whole interview and situation.
- Colorism is still, and will for some time remain an issues: Whether we like it or not, colorism has been and will be for some time an issue in our communities. I know this full well as a black South African with family members of varying skin tones. So much so that one of my cousins was teased (by everyone including her own parents), for being “too dark”. And how often we as children were told to stay out of the sun so we wouldn’t get dark. This hatred or fear of black or dark skin then feels almost obvious to many of us. And whilst Meghan could have passed for Latina or some other race. It is no surprise to me that she said people asked what color her sons skin would be. Especially as I was asked the same question myself by my husbands family when I was pregnant (my husband is white). Its also a thought I had while I was pregnant especially living in France which is a predominantly white country. As someone who has experienced varying degrees of racism, my hope was that my then unborn child would not be too dark as to be seen as a threat by others. A sad but real fear.
- Mental health issues affect us all: Having had several mental health issues. I can tell you now that no matter how well of you are, or how successful you are mental health issues can and does affect many of us. It does not discriminate. And it is something we all need to take more seriously as people if we truly hope to see our world changing for the better.
- Racism is still alive and well: Whether you live in a progressive house hold or not. There is no denying that racism and its effects are still alive and well. No matter how progressive people often think they are. It’s hard to undo centuries of oppression and division. And hearing that the royal family is racist should come as no surprise. Especially as so many of us speak English today, due to colonization by the British.
- That we cannot sugar coat things to make others more comfortable: If one thing was made clear to me this week, it is that we cannot sugar coat things because it makes things easier for others. No matter how uncomfortable you are or were by Meghan and Harry’s interview. I think it is our duty to listen. Especially when such serious issues are being brought to light.
So irregardless of where you stand. I hope if anything this interview helped you rethink some lingering questions you might have had. And to ask yourself, and those around you how you are handling certain issues around race, mental health and colorism to name a few.