While Meghan Markle and Prince Harry deactivated their social media accounts when they stepped back from the royal family, remnants of their online presence remain. And on Tuesday, a particularly salient moment from Meghan began circulating in the form of a recently resurfaced video. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent response to systemic racism in our country, a clip of Meghan candidly discussing her (and her family’s) experience with racism is gaining traction.
The video, which was originally posted late last year by a fan account, sees Meghan standing before a dark screen wearing a white t-shirt that reads “I won’t stand for racism.” It’s dated back to 2012, when the then-Suits star took part in an anti-racism campaign. “My name’s Meghan Markle, and I’m here because I think it’s a really important campaign to be a part of,” she starts. “For me, I think it hits a really personal note. I’m bi-racial, most people can’t tell what I’m mixed with and so much of my life has felt like being a fly on the wall.”
For Meghan, she was always affected by racist remarks she heard — noting that one moment stands out in her memory as especially jarring. She continued, “And so some of the slurs that I’ve heard or the really offensive jokes, or the names, it’s just hit me in a really strong way. And then, you know, a couple of years ago I heard someone call my mom the N word.”
Meghan Markle in 2012 for USA Network’s “Characters Unite ‘I Won’t Stand For____’” campaign.
Her’s was racism and it is what I won’t stand for either. pic.twitter.com/Xjy04KON9i
— BLACKLIVESMATTER (@Jasamgurlie) April 3, 2020
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Tonight in the U.K. #SayNoToRacism is trending and I thought this video was fitting! I had a very long rant on my Instagram stories earlier today regarding racism, I had to speak up when I saw evident parallels between @stormzy’s situation and the Duchess’. . . This video in general made me sad. Especially when Meghan said: “By the time I have children I hope that people are more open minded ” well Archie’s here and not much has changed! Today Tottenham (a U.K. football team) have vowed to take the “strongest possible action” after their 2-0 defeat by Chelsea was overshadowed by the game having to be paused when @toniruediger was targeted with racist abuse three times by a section of the crowd. . . . #duchessofsussex #meghanmarkle #princeharry #britishroyalfamily #royalfamily #royals.
That exposure to racism was not an isolated event in Meghan’s family history. As she goes on to explain in the video, “Leaving LA [to work on Suits in Toronto] was sort of like leaving this bubble where I was used to everything, and had been exposed to everything except for a closed-mindedness that I experienced when I traveled outside of where I was from. And I think that in doing that it just really opened my eyes to a mentality that still exists that I thought was backdated to the days of when my grandfather moved our family from Cleveland to LA, and they drove across the country and to stop and get food, whatever kind of place they were going to, and they had to go round the back to get food for the family.”
She added, “You know, I thought that was really isolated to those days that we were past, and sadly they’re not.”
It’s that history of “being personally affected by racism” and seeing “the landscape of what our country is like right now” that further made Meghan want systemic change. She acknowledged that not everyone sees her, a biracial woman, as a black woman, which reinforces her assertion that “the world really treats you based on how you look.”
“Quite honestly, your race is part of what defines you,” she underscores at one point, going on to issue a heartrending wish for the future.
“I am really proud of my heritage on both sides. I’m really proud of where I’ve come from and where I’m going. But yeah, I hope that by the time I have children, that people are even more open-minded to how things are changing and that having a mixed world is what it’s all about,” said Meghan, who is now the mother of a one-year-old son, Archie. “I mean, certainly, it makes it a lot more beautiful and a lot more interesting.”