In Defense of Meghan Markle and ‘Angry Black Women’
Allegations of bullying levied at Markle remind us that our character will be attacked by folks uncomfortable with our existence
I’ll never forget the time a former manager, an older White woman, remarked how I wasn’t my usual “peppy self” and hadn’t been smiling as much. Now mind you, this was shortly after the 2016 presidential election, so there wasn’t exactly much to smile about.
It didn’t take long (16 months from my hire date, to be exact) for me to go from “office pet” to “office threat.” My work exceeded expectations, but my temperament apparently didn’t satisfy my manager’s “perky” criteria. Given the mostly White work environment and the cultural climate of the times, I was maintaining the best that I could yet not looked at favorably by my boss. The recent hubbub surrounding Meghan Markle made me think back to my past work experience this week. To be clear, I’m not equating my life experience to that of the duchess of Sussex. After all, people aren’t picking apart my every move on a global scale. But the pressure to perform and play nice in an effort to avoid being labeled the “angry Black woman” is resonant.
This past Wednesday, just mere days before Prince Harry and Meghan’s highly anticipated CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, bullying allegations against the duchess were published in The Times, sparking online outrage and rightfully so.
As writer Samantha Powell tweeted, “Why even comment on this royal family mess? Because misogynoir infuriates me.”
Same, Samantha. Same.
I’ve been a Meghan fan since day one (okay, maybe not her character on Suits, but still). I shrieked in the doctor’s office when I learned of her engagement to Prince Harry. I woke up early to watch the royal wedding in 2018, and I celebrated last year when a colleague broke the news during lunch that Meghan and Harry had given the royal family a royal “eff you.”
I want them to win. Specifically, I want Black women to win — to be free, to be happy, to be able to be unapologetically ourselves in whatever space we’re in. Sadly, not everyone shares that same desire.