It’s difficult to imagine a more potent symbol for white privilege than the royal family of Great Britain. Think of it yourself. You’re born to unimaginable wealth and luxury and you have at your birth the automatic worship and envy of millions. You’re deferred to the moment you can talk. You’re automatically credited with wisdom and wit well beyond your ability at your first public utterance. And all of that based exclusively on the identity of your mother and father — and nothing to do with you. And you’re lily white, of course. But that goes without saying.
I don’t blame the people so born, but I do blame the system that created and perpetuated and nurtured them, and I blame the staggering absurdities that issue from such circumstances of accidental birth. It was inevitable, for example, that the moment a person of color — particularly a woman of color — joined the Royal family, racists and misogynists would find fault with her.
Now, I’m not saying that Fox News is racist, but, well, yes, that’s exactly what I am saying, come to think of it. We know they are racist because of how mercilessly, hatefully brutal they were to Barack Obama. We know they are racist because of how mercilessly, brutally hateful they have been to George Floyd. And we know they are racist because of how mercilessly, hatefully brutal they have been to Meghan Markle.
To hear Fox News tell it, one dared to be President, one, though viciously and callously murdered by a policeman, “was no saint himself,” and dared to resist arrest, and one dared to marry into the royal family. A balance had to be struck, and that balance was struck by a barrage of put-downs and disparagements aimed at the people of color because, let’s face it, because they are people of color. Some of the disparagements were subtle, some not so subtle, but all were inevitable.
In a recent unsubtle example of this, Brian Kilmeade now blames Meghan Markle for the Death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. That’s right, if Meghan, a woman of color, hadn’t done an interview with Oprah Winfrey, a woman of color, then perhaps the Prince would still be alive today. Kilmeade actually said that, or words to that effect.
In fact, he applied a formula that should be excruciatingly familiar to most of you. Kilmeade said, “There are reports that [Prince Philip] was enraged after the interview and the fallout from the interview with Oprah Winfrey, so here he is trying to recover and he gets hit with that.” I’m referring to Kilmeade’s use of the expression, “there are reports that …” It is a formula straight from the playbook of Former Guy, who used the expression “people have been saying” as a pretext for uttering numerous hateful things intended to incite his bigoted base to intolerance and violence.
But as bad as that is, Kilmeade did something even more revealing of his racist intent. He immediately tried to cover his tracks by saying, “[Prince Philip] was also reportedly very transparent about his distaste for [Sarah Ferguson] when she was married to Prince Andrew.” Yes, but that was 35 years ago when the Prince was 64. Hardly a frail and elderly age. But Kilmeade did this in order to hasten to show that he wasn’t being racist here. He was merely pointing out a commonality, even though it was entirely different, and not apropos to the current situation. After all, Philip didn’t die when Fergie married Andrew.
These people at Fox aren’t stupid. They know what they’re doing. They’re feeding the red meat of racism to their ignorant, bigoted viewers. They’re just being careful not to get any blood on their shoes.
But make no mistake, if Meghan were white we wouldn’t be having this conversation because she would not be a center of swirling controversy, just as if George Floyd were white we wouldn’t know his name because he’d still be alive, just as if Barack Obama were white Fox News would have treated him with unfairness, to be sure, but significantly dialled down unfairness. It’s all about race and gender. Meghan just gets a double dose because she’s both female and a person of color.
So now on top of everything else, Meghan Markle will now be blamed for the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. And you can bet that blame will translate into everything from public outcries of indignation to actual death threats, because that’s the way the knuckle-dragging, MAGA-hatted cretins who watch Fox News do things. And Kilmead knows this. Of course he does.
Fox News is a conduit for stochastic terrorism, and their dangerous and racist opinions continue to alert their rabid fan base with the dog whistle of hatred and intolerance. Brian Kilmeade has put Meghan Markle’s life in danger for the “crime” of being a person of color. It’s hard to believe it’s happening in the year 2021. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.