For many, that moment comes early: when a teacher assumes the worst in you for no other reason than you’re Black; the first time you’re pulled over by police; or when a parent lays out the structural and damaging ways in which whiteness works. For Markle, it sounds like that moment of realization came in her thirties, when she decided to marry a prince. Call it naïveté or willful ignorance — you can also call it generations of conditioning to not only revere, but expect more from these white institutions. Throughout the Oprah interview, it became clear to me that the past few years have likely been the first time Markle has been faced up close with the reality that white supremacy is the foundation of certain systems, and that whether you call yourself “biracial” instead of “Black”
or say and do the “right” things, speak the “right” way, or have “good hair,” you are not immune to its oppression. Yes, Meghan Markle is light-skinned. She is the most palatable kind of Black woman — a fact that might even be related to why she was deemed desirable enough to date by Prince Harry — and still, even Markle’s proximity to whiteness couldn’t save her from the royal family’s commitment to anti-Blackness. What got her into the family (her “acceptable” Blackness and beauty) is also the reason she was forced out of it.