I have a problem with the way the media portrays Meghan Markle.
I’ll admit Markle’s rise to possible-princess fame irritates me. It’s not because of my undeniable crush on Prince Harry, or even Markle’s seemingly perfect hair. Rather it’s the media’s sudden interest in the struggle of bi-racial women, as if this confusing, unwelcoming journey of “fitting in” hasn’t somehow been previously addressed.
My problem with the media distributing the burden of representation to Meghan Markle is, as a half black, half white female, she doesn’t actually look like me.
Meghan has hair that effortlessly falls around her face — a trait society deems as “good hair,” and skin that could easily be mistaken for something other than black. Yet, with headlines such as “Black Twitter Wants An Invite To Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding” or “Black princess Meghan Markle,” the media is, in fact, portraying her as black.
Yes, this is the first time in the near 1,300-year history of Britain’s royal family that a member will marry an ethnic minority, but to be fair, she isn’t only a minority — and that makes all the difference.
With hashtags such as #BlackGirlMagic being pinned to Meghan’s posts, it is alarming that the world’s fixation on her ethnicity is so out of place.
Like Elaine Musiwa, culture and opinion writer at Vogue said in her piece titled,”The Problem With Calling Meghan Markle the ‘First Black Princess’,” Markle is the type of black the majority of right-leaning white America wishes we all could be, if there were to be blackness at all.
Admittedly, Markle has experienced issues a biracial person like myself is familiar with — being forced to pick just one race box while filling out forms for school because the idea of being more than one race was unfathomable, or constantly having to embarrassingly explain how it’s possible for your mother to be white.
Look, I understand the burden of representation, and the complexity of stereotypes, marginalizations, exploitations and misrepresentations. I get that no one will ever quite “get it right.” But Markle being used as a symbol of progress is dangerous to our society, and as a biracial female, quite frankly a slap in the face. It sort of feels like no one cared about my struggles until someone rich, pretty and royal came along.
So I don’t think we should necessarily be rejoicing just yet. Markle, although she is, in fact, biracial, doesn’t represent black women. And although having an ethnic minority (even a biracial one) deemed royal is something the world needed to see, let us not ignore the direction our country took after having a half-black president.
Now I know this whole rant may seem unusually pessimistic. Bitter, even. However, in a world that paints women of color as romantically undesirable, labeling a half-black woman with straight hair and fair skin all over the media as a “Black Princess” says one thing to ethnic minorities everywhere — you will be accepted, but only if you are this version of black.
Just to be clear, I’m not blaming Markle for the media’s agenda of making her the poster face of biracial struggles. I doubt she wanted this burden of representation. I am, however, blaming society for failing to listen to the same struggles of other biracial women who don’t have the privilege of long, flowing hair and perfectly even-toned light skin.
So, no, black women, Meghan Markle is not our hero, and we should be aware of these claims, as there is a lot at stake when there’s only one person that’s “just like you” in the media.
So as a voice for those of us who have naturally tight curls, big features and darker skin, Meghan Markle is not what all biracial kids look like. Some of us can’t be mistaken for anything else but black, and unfortunately for now, that still means there is no black princess.
Sierra Sangetti-Daniels is an Oneonta High School gradulate who is studying at the State University College at Oneonta.