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World: Removing One Royal Racist Is Nothing. We Need to Abolish the Monarchy.

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The shock and horror professed by so many white people at the latest royal racism controversy is not shared by many Black people. For us, there is only a sense of weariness because we have heard it all before. Its significance is just to show how utterly impossible it is for the royal family to ever move beyond racism.

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In an incident that has overshadowed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s trip to America, his godmother, Lady Susan Hussey, who was the Queen’s lady-in-waiting for decades, resigned from her role in the palace after being accused of subjecting Black British charity boss Ngozi Fulani to an ‘interrogation’ about ‘where she was really from?’.

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Fulani was born in Britain but when she tried to explain this to Hussey, the Lady was having none of it. She persisted—firstly asking her what part of Africa she was from before her detective work led her to conclude Fulani must really be from the Caribbean. Proud of herself she declared that ‘we got there in the end’ and as if that wasn’t bad enough in the exchange apparently also tried to touch Fulani’s hair. I suppose if you are going to racially harass someone you might as well go all in.

I doubt many Black people in Britain will be surprised about the conversation because we have been on the receiving end of the dreaded ‘where are you really from question’. Unlike the US, Britain offshored its colonial violence (and people) so it was only in the 1950s that immigration from the colonies brought millions of us into the Mother Country. So the vast majority of us have a migrant story in our relatively recent background.

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To ask where ‘we are really from’ is deeply racist because it is meant to place us outside of the nation. If you have a darker skin tone you always seem to be the other—not quite in the right place. The default remains that to be British is to be White, which is why we have to put the “Black” in front of “British”. Hussey’s interrogation was so prolonged and arrogant that it does stand out, usually when people ask they will back off when you make it clear you are in no mood to entertain them.

Reading the transcript, the complete arrogance of the elite leaps off the page. The entitlement to interrogate an invited guest who was clearly uncomfortable can probably only be found in those who feel they are born into the ruling class.

Lady Hussey’s behavior has been excused by some because she is in her eighties and was alien to the ‘terrifying nuances of modern race relations’. Her swift resignation and statement from a spokesperson for the palace that “racism has no place in our society”, could delude us into believing that a change is coming to the royal family. But the worst way to think about this episode is that Hussey was just one bad rotten apple. The fact she felt empowered to harass a guest to the palace in her official capacity tells us that the problem is the culture of the whole stinking barrel.

Prince William's Godmother Resigns From Royal Post After Racist Remarks

  Prince William's Godmother Resigns From Royal Post After Racist Remarks Lady Susan Hussey — Prince William‘s godmother and one of King Charles III’s top team members — has resigned amid allegations of racism, Us Weekly confirms. “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, November 30. “In this instance, […]“We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, November 30. “In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

Before the Queen died it was revealed that her majesty was exempt from race equality legislation and until at least the late 60s the palace refused to hire ethnic minority workers. The Hussey story made headlines because it is just the latest in a series of racism scandals to rock the royal family.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah lifted the lid on the racism she had experienced by the British press and within the family. The revelation that someone had worried how dark her and Prince Harry’s baby would be fits neatly with the ‘where are you really from?’ line of questioning.

The royal family has very little power and is popular because it is a symbol of the nation. The almost complete whiteness of the family is not an accident, it is entirely the point—to keep the representation of Britain white. Blackness and the royal family are like oil and water—which is why the Harry and Meghan union never really had a chance.

Prince William and Kate’s tour of the Caribbean this year showed that it is not only the elderly who find it difficult to navigate conversation around racism. At a time when the region is demanding reparations for slavery and countries like Barbados are removing the British monarch as their head of state, the couple decided to embark on a colonial nostalgia tour.

William and Kate’s US visit triumphs despite royal troubles

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Recreating photoshoots of William’s grandparents from the bad old days of the 60s and being pictured shaking the hands of smiling Black children through chain-link fences are the definition of bad optics. Remember the royal family's power is symbolic, and their disastrous visit angered many in the region causing countries to consider dropping the monarchy and question their continued membership of the Commonwealth (which is really just the old British empire with a PR machine).

The silver lining in all these stories is that people should now be able to see what the British monarchy is. The fact that King Charles remains the head of state in countries like my family’s Jamaica and leader of the Commonwealth (British Empire) group of nations, which are made up of over 2 billion Black and brown people round the world, gives the game away.

It is an institution fundamentally tied to Britain’s colonial past, that is bathed in the jewels and wealth stolen from across the empire. That is the irony of Hussey’s comments, the millions of colonial subjects in the empire were just as British as anyone on the British Isles.

Fulani’s family, just like my own, migrated from one part of Britain, the Caribbean (where they were enslaved) to another part of the empire, England. All the toil and brutality our ancestors endured in the Caribbean were in service to Britain. Where we are really all from is the British empire, but Britain hides this history by drawing a line between the Mother Country and the colonies.

The royal family is one of the few symbolic connections to the colonial past, when Britain was great (white), which is why it remains so popular. If Britain is serious about creating an anti-racist future, then removing people like Lady Hussey is meaningless.

The truth is there is nothing that can be done to reform the royal family—similar to a slave plantation the only way to modernize it would be to turn it into a museum where we could learn about its horrendous history. The only anti-racist action is to abolish the terrible institution and leave it in the past so that we can create a better future.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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