Someobody tell me how I ended up writing and posting my latest offering on a Sunday? What a ridiculous day to make a regular commitment – well, other than the obvious, of course – and who reads it on a Sunday? Well, on the subject of readers, let me, first, welcome those from China, Costa Rica, Spain and Ukraine! When I say ‘those’, as in plural, I do mean collectively – I have one reader in each country but how exciting is that? Again, one must ponder why? Flattered as I am, these are countries for whom English is not their mother tongue and, added to that, the subject matter frequently relates to the UK, alone, but … suffice to say, I am grateful for each and every one of them and may they enjoy my musings.
Now, I suppose the subject of our Royals is of interest worldwide and, particularly, ‘celebrity’ Royals as Meghan and Harry (note order) have chosen to be. The story of their exit has dominated the news since that announcement a week past Wednesday as, of course, it is of historic significance and, effectively, an abdication. However, in the great scheme of things … I read, and kept, a superb article by Celia Walden in last Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph headed ‘Sorry, but when did basic criticism become racism?’ which mirrored my thoughts exactly. A huge fan of hers, I suppose, like her other half, she is unafraid to voice her opinions no matter how controversial. In truth, I’m sure those opinions are synonymous with those of many who lack the courage to swim against the tide in this increasingly PC world which, sadly, is policed by the online, anonymous (read’cowardly’) bullies.
Off on another rant, it is now Monday and, for that, I apologise. Sunday ran away from me for many reasons but, as I said, silly day to post. So … I was about to write that I had decided to refrain from writing any more about the Royal ‘crisis’ despite the wealth of increasingly annoying comments regarding racism and Meghan’s treatment at the hands of the ‘heinous’ tabloid press. So much to say but Celia Walden had said most of it for me; that is, until I opened Saturday’s Times to read about Laurence Fox, actor and member of the Fox dynasty, on Thursday’s Question Time. I had missed the programme but, thankfully, was able to watch it on catch-up which I was at pains to do following Tom Ball’s article in synopsis! Discussing Harry and Meghan’s pertinent decision, Rachel Boyle – an audience member who just happens to be a lecturer in Race Ethnicity at Edge Hill University in Lancashire – used the words: “Let’s be really clear about what this is. Let’s call it by its name – it’s racism. She’s a black woman and she has been torn to pieces.” Oh, help! It should be mentioned that Ms Boyle is, herself, black.
“It’s so easy to just throw your charge of racism at everybody and it’s starting to get boring now.”, was Laurence Fox’s retort after referring to this country as being the ‘most tolerant’ in Europe. Entitled to his opinion – and one, no doubt, shared by many – it was not a personal attack on Ms Boyle, unlike her reply: “What worries me about your comment is you are a white privileged male.” Age-old. Predictable. Is Mr Fox not entitled to voice his own opinion on a subject in the public domain? Is his colour relevant? Is her’s? Did he make any reference to her being black?!
I absolutely loved Laurence Fox’s defence! “I can’t help what I am. I was born like this. It’s an immutable characteristic so to call me a white privileged male is to be racist. You’re being racist.”
The other, very relevant, perspective never voiced. Why is that? Such personal attacks directed at those deemed privileged are commonplace and deserving of the term ‘boring’. Most unwarranted, undeserving and without knowledge of personal circumstance, they serve, only, to detract from the point whilst revealing said person’s own bitter and resentful default. Most, therefore, are not worthy of response.
Laurence Fox’s alternative definition of racism was intelligent, accurate and deserving. There was no personal attack on Ms Boyle in retaliation for that delivered by her. However, Tom Ball’s article went on to say that, following Mr Fox’s comments, Equity had described him as a ‘disgrace to our industry.’ How sad. One step for man, two steps back thanks to cowardice – the fear of upsetting the deafening voice of the politically correct majority. As ever, the intelligent have no need to shout, instead choosing to pick their words and their battles.
Apparently, taking to Twitter in the aftermath, Laurence (feels like a friend, now!) posted a Martin Luther King quote: ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ Wise words which Ms Boyle would do well to consider – along with those who insist Meghan was driven from this country by racism. Should one not be held responsible for one’s actions? Permit me to rewind …
Welcomed into the Royal family as the future wife of the nation’s beloved Harry, she was afforded a wonderful wedding, at the nation’s expense; a ceremony which embraced her mixed-race heritage complete with a gospel choir. In the absence of her father, Prince Charles gave her away and, on that sunny day, the atmosphere was one of celebration – and optimism.
‘That optimism was eroded not by rapid-onset racism, but by Meghan’s behaviour.’
Celia Walden, The Daily Telegraph, 14/1/20.
Rumours of internal discord in the run-up to the marriage served only to herald that which was to come as, gradually, the Sussexes endeavoured to break free from the Cambridges: the move to Frogmore Cottage, the split from the Royal Foundation to set up their own … at the instigation of Harry? Doubtful, considering, pre-Meghan, he was virtually inseparable from his brother and sister-in-law. Priding themselves on their eco values, they were happy to preach about the carbon footprint while making frequent use of private jets. Meghan’s extravagant baby shower in New York was nothing short of provocative followed by the clandestine behaviour surrounding Archie’s birth, the refusal to appear on the steps of the hospital and, then, the secrecy apropos the christening and the godparents … why? The word ‘diva’ comes to mind. Sound like Harry? I don’t think so. I remember, too, the demand that she not be photographed in the Royal Box at Wimbledon. The list was burgeoning rapidly and written in indelible ink. However, Meghan must not be criticised or held accountable for her actions because she is black!
‘So, no, Meghan: had you been blonde-haired and blue-eyed, you wouldn’t have been judged any differently. Because this isn’t racism: this is piece-of-work-ism.’
Celia Walden, The Daily Telegraph 14/1/20.
The sad thing is, this determination to cry wolf makes a mockery of genuine racism. In this country, those who lack self-worth, who are embittered and dis-satisfied with their lot, are far too quick to judge others of whom they are envious, regardless of character or circumstance. So it is that those they deem ‘privileged’ are fair game, as a fox chased by baying hounds. Unleashed political correctness has silenced the voice of the timid whilst enabling the shouting of the anonymous, cowardly bully. Thank God for Laurence Fox and his ilk who, undeterred, have the courage – and the intelligence – to speak the truth.
‘I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that’s how I operate my life.’
This is Trish, signing off.