Back in 2012, the Duchess of Sussex appeared in USA Network’s “Characters Unite: ‘I Won’t Stand For'” campaign, where Markle detailed her past experiences with racism. The candid video has since resurfaced on social media in recent months.
“My name is Meghan Markle and I’m here because I think it’s a really important campaign to be a part of,” she said as she addressed the camera. “For me, I think it hits a really personal note. I’m biracial. 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.”
Markle, who can be seen wearing a t-shirt that reads, “I Won’t Stand For Racism,” then went on to describe being the subject of offensive jokes and names, recalling a time when her mother Doria Ragland was also called a racial slur.
“And so, some of the slurs that I’ve heard, the really offensive jokes or the names, it 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,'” the former Suits star said. “So, I think for me, beyond being personally affected by racism, just to see the landscape of what our country is like right now—certainly the world—and to want things to be better.“
“Quite honestly, your race is part of what defines you,” she continued. “I think what shifts things is that the world really treats you based on how you look. Certain people don’t look at me and see me as a black woman or a biracial woman. They treat me differently, I think, than they would if they knew what I was mixed with and I think that that is, I don’t know, it can be a struggle as much as it can be a good thing depending on the people that you’re dealing with.”
According to Markle, it wasn’t until she began traveling the world that she realized how skewed people’s perceptions of race could be.
“Leaving L.A. was sort of like leaving this bubble where I was used to everything and had been exposed to everything except for a close-mindedness that I experienced when I traveled outside of where I was from,” she explained. “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 L.A. And they drove across the country and to stop to get food—whatever kind of place they were going to—and they had to go around to the back to get food for the family. You know, I thought that that was really isolated to those days that we were passed and, sadly they’re not.”
As she concluded, she expressed hope that the world would become more accepting by the time that she became a mother. In May 2019, Markle and her husband Prince Harry welcomed their first son Archie Harrison.
“I’m really proud of my heritage on both sides. I’m really proud of where I come from and where I’m going,” she shared. “But, yeah, I hope that by the time I have children that people are even more openminded to how things are changing and that having a mixed world is what it’s all about. I mean, certainly, it makes it a lot more beautiful and a lot more interesting.”
“E! stands in solidarity with the black community against systemic racism and oppression experienced every day in America,” the network said in a statement on May 31. “We owe it to our black staff, talent, production partners and viewers to demand change and accountability. To be silent is to be complicit. #BlackLivesMatter.”