Meghan Markle candidly opened up about her experiences with racism in a 2012 campaign video that has resurfaced in light of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protests.
In the clip, which was filmed as part of the ‘I Won’t Stand For…’ campaign for non-profit organization Erase the Hate, Meghan, now 38, discusses her biracial heritage, while detailing the racist behavior she has witnessed – including her mother, Doria Ragland, being called the N-word.
Meghan, who had not yet met Prince Harry or had her son, Archie, when she taped the video, also shared her hope that society will become more ‘open-minded’ and learn to see the beauty in a ‘mixed world’.
Speaking out: Meghan Markle opened up about her experiences with racism in a 2012 video that has resurfaced in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protests
Candid: In the clip, the duchess, who had not yet met Prince Harry, says she dreams of bringing kids into a more ‘open-minded’ society that appreciates the ‘beauty of a mixed world’
‘For me I think it hits a really personal note,’ Meghan says while discussing racism in the video, which also featured her then-Suits co-star Patrick J Adams.
‘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.
‘And so some of the slurs I’ve heard, the really offensive jokes or the names, it has just hit me in a really strong way. A couple of years ago I heard someone call my mom the N-word.
‘So I think for me beyond being personally affected by racism, to see the landscape of what our country is like right now and certainly the world and to want things to be better.’
The former actress, who gave birth to her son Archie on May 6, 2019, also opened up about her desire to encourage more tolerance and acceptance in the world in the hopes of bringing children into a more just and open society.
Dressed in a white T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘I won’t stand for racism’, she said: ‘I am really proud of my heritage on both sides, I’m really proud of where I’ve come from and where I’m coming.
‘But I hope by the time I have children that people are even more open-minded to how things are changing and that having a mixed world is what it’s all about.
‘Certainly it makes it a lot more beautiful and a lot more interesting.’
Revealing that many people don’t immediately realize what her heritage is, Meghan said that, to most, she is not seen ‘as a black woman or a biracial woman’.
Shocking: Meghan, now 38, recalled her mother once being labeled the N-word, and she shared her grandfather’s experiences with severe racism after moving to LA from Cleveland
Heartbreaking: In a 2015 essay written for Elle magazine, Meghan said that hearing the racial slur left her mother, Doria, in tears
‘They treat me differently I think than they would if they knew what I was mixed with,’ she explained.
She added: ‘That can be a struggle as much as it can be a good thing depending on the people you are dealing with.’
Meghan then revealed that when her grandfather moved the family from Cleveland to Los Angeles, they had to use the back door whenever they stopped for food.
She said: ‘I thought that was really isolated to those days that have passed and sadly they are not.’
Although the video was filmed and shared back in February 2012, it has resurfaced online and on social media in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who passed away after a police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest on May 25.
In the days since his tragic death, the US and other cities around the world have been gripped by protests and riots.
However the video is not the only time that Meghan has spoken out about racism, and her personal experiences with it.
In 2015, two years before she met Prince Harry, Meghan wrote a candid article for Elle magazine in which described her experiences of growing up with a white father and a black mother.
Meghan’s parents met at a TV studio in Los Angeles, where Thomas was working as a lighting director and Doria was a temp in the studio.
Heritage: Meghan said that, to most, she is not seen ‘as a black woman or a biracial woman’
Standing out: ‘They treat me differently I think than they would if they knew what I was mixed with,’ Meghan, pictured with her father Thomas, explained
Pride: In the Elle piece, which was written two years before she met Harry, Meghan said she’s ‘come to embrace’ that her mixed heritage ‘keeps her with a foot on both sides of the fence’
The duchess explained that, after her parents married and had Meghan, they settled in a ‘leafy and affordable’ neighborhood where Doria, ‘caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow’ was confused by strangers as her child’s nanny – facing questions about where her daughter’s mother was.
She described a touching story of how Doria and Thomas, although they divorced when Meghan was six, worked hard to make sure their daughter felt included.
‘When I was about seven I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called the Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll and two children.
‘This perfect nuclear family was sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls.
‘I don’t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one. On Christmas morning, there I found my Heart Family – a black mom doll, a white dad doll and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized the family.’
Meghan also opened up in further detail about the harrowing incident in which her mother was ‘called the N-word’ by a stranger in public.
‘We were leaving a concert and she wasn’t pulling out of a parking space quickly enough for another driver,’ she recalled. ‘I looked to my mom her eyes welling with hateful tears.
‘We drove home in deafening silence, her chocolate knuckles pale from gripping the wheel so tightly.’
She added: ‘While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.’