Don Lemon says Meghan Markle's claims of 'racism' in royal family not shocking: 'The Monarchy is built on it'
CNN host Don Lemon reacted to the landmark interview of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with Oprah Winfrey that aired on CBS on Sunday, March 7 night, saying that he was not surprised about the claims of racism within the British royal family because the monarchy was "built on a racist structure".
During her interview with Oprah, Markle opened up about her deep struggles while with the royal family and admitted that she had "suicidal thoughts." She also revealed that when she sought to be admitted to a hospital, she was advised against it because of optics.
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The most disturbing revelation came, however, when Markle told a shocked Oprah that an unnamed royal had discussions with Prince Harry regarding her then-unborn first child's skin color and expressed concerns about "how dark the baby is going to be potentially and what that would mean or look like." Markle did not name the royal because it "would be very damaging for them".
The following day, on 'CBS This Morning', Oprah said that Prince Harry had made it clear to her that neither his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, nor his grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh had been the ones to raise the matter of his son's skin color.
Lemon took to CNN on Monday to talk to CNN Newsroom anchor Brianna Keilar, to say that racism is what the monarchy is based on, saying, "I don't think Oprah or anyone that watched it, any person of color, is surprised that the British family, that there was racism there. That is what the monarch is based on: heredity, hierarchy, a caste system, bloodlines. And so the whole institution is built on a racist structure."
Lemon continued, "There should not be a 'Oh my God, the British family is racist.' Of course, they're racist. That's what the entire monarchy is built on. The racism, the family that is supposed to be in it only by birth. And so far, by birth, it's only been white royals on the British throne."
Keilar then mentioned how Harry spoke about not noticing the racism until he saw it through his wife's eyes, to which Lemon responded that it wasn't surprising, saying, "That is what privilege is all about. If you don't have to deal with it, then it didn't exist for you."
He also spoke of how "privileged people" are criticizing Markle and Harry for sharing their stories, saying, "Before the interview aired there were people on social media saying: 'I can't believe, why are they doing this, woe is me, they are rich, wealthy, royal,' what have you, not even knowing what the interview was going to be about. Not even knowing someone else's existence."
He continued, "Wonder why these people always try to explain what someone else's experiences are. And why all of these privileged people, most of them on social media, white women, who are criticizing Meghan and Harry and Oprah for what they were about to do and then the interview as well."
He went on, "Why is that? Why do you have to get on social media and weigh in on everything that has to do with black people and racism? Especially if you are a white person in this country. Unless you are going to be helpful and open about it, instead of saying it doesn't exist, 'Oh, my gosh, how dare you'."
Lemon also criticized people who had "built their reputations on criticizing people", saying, "Why don't you try to look at it with some understanding, with an open mind, instead of always criticizing. You know who you are, because you do it every time."
He continued, "Every time there is a story about criminal justice, or something Black, or Colin Kaepernick or Meghan Markle, they always have to rush to Twitter and criticize someone or get in on it because they want relevance. You are not relevant anymore. Stop trying to be relevant on the backs of Black people."
Lemon also went on to say he had a similar experience with his own fiance, Tim Malone, with respect to Harry not noticing racism until he got involve with Markle. He said, "Of course I am not surprised that Harry was introduced to racism through his wife and he felt it in a personal way. That's how it happens. I am a black man from the south who is engaged to a white man from east end of Long Island. There were revelations for him and still are in our relationship because it wasn't something that he had to confront on a daily basis. Now he does. Now Harry does."
He continued, "Harry has a black child. And a black wife now. So it is personal. I imagine that was quite an awakening for him thinking about how [Archie] might be treated differently than other children in the Royal family."
Lemon said that while he understood that relatives may have been curious what Archie would look like, he said it was inexcusable that someone expressed concerns that Archie would be "too dark". He also acknowledged that the public has heard only Markle's and Harry's side of the story, but said, "What's the other side going to say? 'Of course, we're not racist.' But what did they do? Think about their actions."
He continued, "They did not stand up for their own because their own was married to a black woman, had a black child. They didn't listen to him inside the Royal family. They let him go, let him leave the country, wouldn't come to terms with what they wanted to do. Listen, we only heard from one side, but one side at this point rings very true."