Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started Black History Month in the UK by publicly calling for an end to structural racism in The Evening Standard. “For as long as structural racism exists, there will be generations of young people of color who do not start their lives with the same equality of opportunity as their white peers,” the couple wrote. “And for as long as that continues, untapped potential will never get to be realized.“
Harry continued his activism by having a discussion for British GQ with Patrick Hutchinson, a Black Lives Matter activist who went viral for his selfless act of carrying an injured white man to safety after the man was allegedly attacked during a protest in London. “My real focus was on avoiding a catastrophe [the man being killed], all of a sudden the narrative changes into ‘Black Lives Matters, Youngsters Kill Protesters.’ That was the message we were trying to avoid,” Hutchinson told CNN at the time.
“I have no idea who this man was,” he added. “All I know is that he was there, up to no good, let’s just say. He wasn’t here to support Black Lives Matter.”
Harry and Hutchinson spoke candidly about anti-racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and taking care of your mental health in quarantine. And notably, Harry touched on Meghan’s impact on him—and how she made him realize once and for all the unconscious bias he has as a very privileged white man born to aristocracy. Meghan, of course, is half black and faces constant racist attacks from some commenters and British tabloids.
As he explained to Hutchinson: “You can’t really point fingers, especially when it comes to unconscious bias. But once you realize or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself, because ignorance is no longer an excuse. And unconscious bias, from my understanding, having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed. And then, sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realize it, especially then living a day or a week in my wife’s shoes.”
Harry added it’s important for anyone with privilege to understand how all people live, not just ones who look like them. “For me, it’s down to a more diverse perspective, otherwise you’re just perpetuating that bias,” he said. “And I think one of the most dangerous things is people within positions of power, whether it’s politics or whether it’s the media, where if you’re not aware of your own bias and you’re not aware of the culture within your system, then how are we ever going to progress? How are we ever going to get to that point where there is more fairness? Because it’s not a zero-sum game, right? Everyone benefits if the black community gets treated the way they should be treated.”
“Every day is a learning process. And it’s not actually up for debate. These are the facts,” he continued. “This is what’s happening. And it’s been very interesting for me to sit through or live through this in America.”
Change comes from everyone participating in making it happen, Harry agreed with Hutchinson: “It’s going to take every single one of us to really change things and anyone that’s pushing against it really needs to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. Because as I said, this isn’t black versus white. As you quite rightly pointed out, now in 2020 we have protestors of every color, every background, every religion, every age. This is a global movement. The train has left the station. If you’re not on it now, then get on it because there’s so much that we can do. And being a dad myself, the whole point in life, I guess, for me, is to try to leave the world in a better place than when you found it.”
You can read Hutchinson and Harry’s full discussion here.
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