A video message from Meghan Markle to the students of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles was released yesterday featuring Meghan voicing outrage over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others and declaring her support for Black Lives Matter. Dickie Arbiter, who used to be Queen Elizabeth’s press secretary, and who is now a regular go-to for media outlets for royal commentary, and who has been critical of Meghan, was asked about Meghan’s remarks and whether or not she could have made them had she and Prince Harry not stepped down as senior members of the British royal family. He told Newsweek that:
"It would have been pretty impossible. "What's happened in the states is an absolute tragedy and it should never have happened but unfortunately it did happen.
"Had Meghan and Harry still been in the U.K. and working members of the royal family that speech couldn't have happened.
"I'm talking about the whole speech, end of. It's highly politicized because of the very nature of what it is.
"And it's starting to voice opinions about the internal affairs of another country. I don't think the queen has to say anything.
"It is a social issue for the United States and it is not for a head of state to voice an opinion, whether the queen or the president of France or whoever."
There’s a lot to unpack here. But let’s start with the basics, as in basically insulting, because that pretty much characterises the British royal attitude with respect to racial equality and, in particular, given the current situation, anti-Black racism.
Dickie is essentially saying that Meghan’s speech was “political”. That calling for the end of senseless Black killing is “political”. That calling for the end of anti-Black racism is “political”. That calling for justice and equality for Black people is “political”
To be clear, it is NOT political. Condemning anti-Black racism and saying that Black people shouldn’t have to die at the hands and under the knees of racists is about as political as mental health. It isn’t political and it’s not restricted to the “internal affairs of another country”. A Black Lives Matter protest was held two days ago in London and they were protesting for ALL Black lives, not just American ones. Anti-Black racism isn’t just an American problem, it’s a global problem. Black people in China are being attacked too. Because, yes, Chinese people can be racist. Anti-Black racism knows no borders, Dickie. But, you know, way to stay informed, buddy.
And the thing is, as a so-called royal expert, he shares this egregiously flawed interpretation of Black Lives Matter with many members of the British aristocracy, including members of the British royal family, and perhaps even the viper courtiers who staff them. These colonisers are really out here thinking that Black life, Black dignity, Black HUMANITY is …
This is why no senior member of the British royal family has spoken up and out in support of Black Lives Matter. This is why the closest Prince William and Catherine came to Black Lives Matter was this:
Heads Together is the mental health organisation founded by William, Kate, and Harry. The CHARITY stands with Black Lives Matter. But that still means that Will and Kate are one step removed from the movement. Because as high ranking members of the British royal family they have to observe the stance of the entire institution and maybe they do actually want to come out in support of Black Lives Matter but they can’t go against the Boss Queen and her advisors who are taking this position so as not to alienate all the British whites, aka racists, in the UK. That would be the most generous explanation.
But even that rationale is stupid, and do you know why?
For the Queen and the British royal family, the Crown comes first. And one of the Crown’s priorities, maybe the biggest priority, because they need to protect their reach and their relevance, is the COMMONWEALTH, the association of 54 member states of which the Queen is the head. Go down the list of Commonwealth countries and you will find in many of them, a majority in fact, A MAJORITY, the citizens of those countries are Black!
So, even if they want to persist in characterising Black Lives Matter as “political”, as gross as that is, it would actually be politically defensible, and advantageous, and above all respectful of their Commonwealth partners, to stand for Black Lives Matter!
But the fact that 1. they’re making it political and 2. they’re not actually making the political choice to align themselves with what would benefit so many Black Commonwealth citizens tells you what, specifically, they worry about most: white fragility.
Which means that they, and Dickie, are FULL OF SH-T.
Their defenders will say that “politically” they can’t afford to piss off Donald Trump but, once again, that is an undermining of the cause, and it perpetuates the anti-Black racist efforts to discredit what Black Lives Matter actually is which is that Black Lives Matter, period. No politics. Just facts.
Newsweek notes that “Buckingham Palace…declined to comment both on the protests and on Meghan’s speech” when contacted. I imagine the answer was the same for any other journalists asking the palace about Black Lives Matter. So they know people are curious and they are actively choosing NOT to engage in the worldwide plea for justice and equality for Black people. If you are a Black citizen then, living in a Commonwealth country, like Cameroon or Jamaica, or Kenya or Canada, what does the monarchy do for you? Never mind. I apologise for asking such a stupid question. You’ve already known the answer to that. It’s the rest of us who have to catch up.
So …what is the British royal family doing while it’s not caring about Black lives or afraid to care about Black lives? Planning a “mini” Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the monarch’s birthday, featuring a small military demonstration at Windsor Castle that will likely be televised to remind us all of the value of the Crown while they get to not value at all the millions of Black people they claim to represent.