As the husband of Meghan Markle, a biracial woman, and the father of mixed-race son Archie, Prince Harry has deepened his commitment to racial equality in 2020. But one reason we love the Duke of Sussex is that he is the first to say he has much to learn from others, as he did in a Zoom conversation for British GQ with activist Patrick Hutchinson.
GQ featured Hutchinson, a personal trainer, in its Heroes series after he made headlines in June during a Black Lives Matter protest in London. He and his friends saw an injured white counter protester fall to the ground as tensions were heating up, so he lifted the man onto his shoulders and, with his friends surrounding him for protection, brought the man to safety.
Harry and Hutchinson talked about the incident, Hutchinson’s life, and the frustration of having “to protest about something so obvious in life,” which you should definitely read and watch. But we wanted to highlight here their exchange on raising Black children. As a father of four — a 30-year-old son, and daughters ages 8, 11, and 25 — as well as a grandfather, Hutchinson did have some words of wisdom to share on the matter.
“But what do you tell your kids?” Harry asked. “How do you explain to them what structural racism is? Are they too young for that conversation? Do you talk about unconscious bias and the fact that some people may treat you differently? In some instances, it’s intentional, but in a lot of cases it’s actually accidental.”
Hutchinson said his 8-year-old is more interested in Roblox, but his 11-year-old is well aware of racism and has experienced it.
“When all this happened and we sat down and had a bit of a discussion, she said to me that she’s already experienced it,” Hutchinson said, explaining that she recounted events in her gymnastics club. “I know that her dark skin, to some people, may not be as beautiful as it is to me. I call her ‘pretty girl’ to help empower her and let her know that she’s beautiful and that she can do whatever she wants in life. Because I know that when she gets out there, there’s a chance that that might hold her back, through no fault of her own.”
#britishgq – Kicking off this year's #GQHEROES with a WORLD EXCLUSIVE conversation between #PrinceHarry and #PatrickHutchinson 🚨
Prince Harry speaks with Patrick Hutchinson about both their journeys and what we need to do next to further anti-racism. pic.twitter.com/zPf5GXicXq
— UTCAI (@UTCAI_) October 26, 2020
Harry then asked Hutchinson how he bears knowing that his children and grandchildren are still growing up in a world that can treat them so badly because of their race.
“It’s tough, but you can’t spend too much time [on it], because it’s stuff like that that drives you mad,” Hutchinson responded. “So you may have a moment here and there, but then you move on. You don’t dwell on it. Because, yeah, it can make you unwell.”
Still, Hutchinson and the other friends who were all at that protest in June are working to make the world better for the next generation. They started an organization called United to Change and Inspire, he’s coming out with a book soon.
“It’s a number of letters to my children and grandchildren,” he said of the book he cowrote. “But, to be honest, it’s more to society, but it’s just a format to my children, grandchildren. But obviously, people from society will be reading it, so it’s geared to them too.”
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the family update at the end of their interview, when Hutchinson asked after Meghan and Archie.
“[We’re] working very hard, and Archie is keeping us very busy, but he’s making us laugh every day, which is great,” Harry said.
When Archie’s ready, Meghan and Harry can also get advice from these other famous parents who talk about racism with their children.