Wigan groups say Harry and Meghan interview highlighted important issues of racism

Campaigners and organisations said the bombshell interview with the Duke of Duchess of Sussex shone a light on the problems ethnic minorities face.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 9:55 am

In a series of revelations which have rocked Buckingham Palace Meghan told Oprah Winfrey there were discussions over how dark their son Archie’s skin would be, that she was denied mental health support and at one stage considered suicide and how she felt unprotected amid an onslaught of negative publicity.

Everything Human Rights, which is based in the borough, said the issues she highlighted in the tell-all discussion will be all too familiar to many ethnic minority people and mixed-race couples.

Anti-racism campaigners said they hoped that following the interview the couple would now continue to campaign for change on these issues.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talking to Oprah Winfrey

Everything Human Rights co-founder Farai Nhakaniso said: “This sheds light on issues faced by ethnic minorities and people of colour in the UK and across the globe.

“These are things ethnic minority communities have been trying to speak about - that institutional racism is there and needs to be dealt with.

“The conversations about a baby’s skin colour are things that happen to mixed-race couples and shouldn’t be happening.

“I also relate to what she said about mental health. Racism and discrimination affect people’s mental health and wellbeing, there is no doubt about that.

Everything Human Rights co-founders Farai Nhakaniso (right) and Tabeth Mabiza

“We need to recognise that and put systems in place to support people going through it. That is why mental health needs to be diverse and people need training on this.

“As a borough and a community we need to be coming together to ensure the support is there when people come forward with issues like this.

“Let’s listen to what she says. They are using their platform to raise these issues which are faced internationally by a large part of the world. Let’s not be quick to judge or to get sidetracked into discussing other things.

“I think it’s wonderful they have brought these things to light. All these things she said are things that do happen in ethnic minority communities.”

Activists also said it was not just the royal family which needed to reflect, although they acknowledged the damaging nature of the interview.

Barry Conway from Wigan Trades Council said: “Racism is institutional and endemic in our society. We have known it affects every major institution for years.

“This is an example of the way racism infects society as a whole. It doesn’t matter how high or low a person is in the social hierarchy when they expose this in the way Meghan and Harry did.

“We need to fight and challenge racism wherever it is found. They have said what happened to them and highlighted an institution where it exists, but people will go out on the streets to fight for change and they will need people to join them.”

Dave Lowe, an activist from the Wigan branch of Stand Up To Racism, said: “What has happened with things like Black Lives Matter mean that now people will be looking at things like this and institutions like the royal family more critically.

“All our major institutions are riddled with racism, so for them to come out and say what they said is very important.

“I think this will be more damaging to the palace than Diana’s death was. Hearing Meghan talk about being on the edge and driven to wanting to kill herself sounded like history repeating itself.

“I also think the interview will help fight racism because it feeds into the whole situation with Black Lives Matter. What would be really good is if they now showed support for the wider anti-racist cause.

“British institutions like parliament, the civil service and the monarchy have all really come under scrutiny with institutional racism, climate change and Brexit and they just don’t seem up to it as far as meeting these challenges goes.”

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