'To change the Meghan Markle narrative, we need to look at our own inherent biases'

Since joining the Royal Family, Meghan Markle’s every move has been scrutinised.

So much so that when Prince Harry started dating Meghan in 2016, he issued an unprecedented statement about the commentary of his then-girlfriend in the press, referring to “the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”

Diversity campaigner Nova Reid tells Yahoo UK’s ‘The Royal Box’: “We find it really difficult to talk about race in the UK, not all of us know our history.

“Lots of people don’t know about our role in colonialism and the slave trade so we have deep rooted trauma in the way in which we treat each other, in the way we perceive each other based on skin colour and there is a lot of unspoken and unresolved healing that needs to happen.

“I think as a result of that what used to be overt racism has now taken on a new form, and it’s more coded and it’s the nuances of the language that’s being used [to talk about Meghan]- ‘exotic,’ ‘narcissistic,’ all of these negative connotations that contribute to the coded ways racism exists in Britain.”

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Meghan Markle during a Royal visit to Nottingham. Photo credit should read: M6027D/EMPICS Entertainment
Meghan during her first official engagement with Harry in Nottingham in November 2017. [Photo: PA]

Nova says inherent biases sometimes come out in the language that is chosen.

With regards to some of the press coverage surrounding Meghan, she says: “I think there are a lot of unresolved issues with bias in the press, stereotypes that perpetuate narratives that aren’t necessarily true.”

Nova adds: “I think the only way we can change the narrative about Meghan is if, as an industry, we start looking at our own inherent biases.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Harry issued a statement when he began dating Meghan. [Photo: Getty]

Prince Harry even touched on the subject of ‘unconscious bias’ on racism in an interview between with Dr Jane Goodall in British Vogue’s September issue, guest edited by Meghan.

He said that people must understand how their upbringing causes them to be prejudiced without realising it.

“Unconscious bias,” he says, “is something which so many people don’t understand, why they feel the way they do.”

He continued: “Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say ‘what you’ve just said, or the way you’ve behaved, is racist’ - they’ll turn around and say, ‘I’m not a racist’.

“‘I’m not saying you’re a racist, I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that because of the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view - unconscious point of view - where naturally you will look at someone in a different way.' And that is the point at which people start to have to understand.”