Meghan Markle has revealed she was “devastated” to return to America in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, but said the protests that followed and the subsequent social and cultural reckoning have “inspired” her.
Meghan, speaking to Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th*—as part of the site’s “The 19th* Represents 2020 Virtual Summit”—said it was “just devastating, so sad, to see where the country was in that moment.” In the peaceful protests and seeing how people “owned” their part in discriminating against others—specifically Black people—Meghan’s feeling “shifted from sadness to a feeling of absolute inspiration, because I can see the tide is turning.”
“From my standpoint, it’s not new to see this undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias,” Meghan said.
Signaling she was relieved of being free to speak her mind now no longer a “senior royal,” Meghan said she was looking forward to using her voice “in a way that I haven’t been able to of late. So, yeah, it’s good to be home.”
Meghan was cast as interviewer in the exchange, congratulating Ramshaw in setting up the non-profit woman-focused politics and culture site. Then Ramshaw asked Meghan why she thought a woman-focused news organization was needed.
Meghan’s answer began by noting how a man had originated the word “suffragette,” originally intended as belittling—and what this symbolized in terms of the “ability of influence,” which when coming “from a patriarchal lens…shapes everything we see.”
Meghan did not speak about the various legal cases she and Prince Harry have launched against the media—and neither was she asked about them. Nor was she asked about the couple’s meetings with senior figures in the digital world over their demand to de-fund “hate” platforms.
“If you’re just trying to grab someone’s attention and keep it, you’re going for something salacious versus something truthful.”
— Meghan Markle
Invoking her own “standpoint and personal experience,” Meghan said: “The headline is the clickbait alone. It makes an imprint. That is part of how we start to view the world, how we interact with other people. I think there’s so much toxicity out there.” Harry and she talk about it often, she said, “this economy for attention. That is what is monetizable right now when you’re looking at the digital space and media. If you’re just trying to grab someone’s attention and keep it, you’re going for something salacious versus something truthful.”
Instead, Meghan said she wanted journalists to “tell the truth in reporting…through a compassionate and empathetic lens.” This would “help bind people as a community,” she claimed.
Meghan went on to talk about the importance of women exercising their right to vote, and to “be really aware of not taking it for granted. My husband has not been able to vote.” (The Royal Family can vote in British elections, but have long chosen not to, according to their stance of political neutrality.)
“The right to vote is not a privilege; it is a right in and of itself,” Meghan said. Women’s voices, she said, “are needed now more than ever, and the best way to exercise that is through voting.”
Meghan concluded: “From my standpoint, it’s not new to see this undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias, but I think to see the changes that are being made right now is really—it’s something I look forward to being a part of. And being part of using my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late. So, yeah, it’s good to be home.”