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A R Devine: Sorry, Meghan, you’re just not brown enough for the Guardian


In George Orwell’s celebrated novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the modern world was introduced to the concept of doublethink. This occurs when an individual, organisation or political party holds two contradictory beliefs and simultaneously believes in both fervently. If there were nominations for an award in doublethink the Guardian newspaper would sure to be a contender.

In 2015, its staff columnist Jessica Valenti wrote an article where she both condemned the rude behaviour of men cat-calling women and at the same time said that she missed it as she got older. She sounds like the kind of person that after a few drinks would have a row with herself on the way home from the pub. How does one end up as a regular columnist in a leading newspaper when you can’t even win an argument with yourself?

Another area where the Guardian excels in doublethink is the issue of racism. At times it has published decent articles, as here, that rightfully call out genuine racial bigotry and discrimination. However, it has in recent years become an unequivocal cheerleader for far-Left divisive identity politics and has published celebrations of anti-white racism as here, where the columnists, often whites themselves with a penchant for self-flagellation, make sweeping negative generalisations about all white people being racist and complicit in the historical oppression of non-whites.

This week, though, the Guardian scraped a new low in the bottom of the identity politics barrel when it published this article by the journalist Georgia Chambers entitled, ‘If Meghan Markle Represents the “Mixed Race Community”, what about me?’, in which she complains that Prince Harry’s fiancée isn’t the best representative for mixed-race people because, to put it plainly, Miss Markle isn’t the right shade of brown. Here she is in her own words as I don’t want to be accused of misrepresenting her:

‘Many women of black and white heritage, myself included, have darker skin and curly, afro hair that, thanks to our Eurocentric standards of beauty, are seen as less desirable. The media’s efforts to paint Markle as a patron for this imaginary mixed-race community therefore excludes many of us who do not have this commonly assumed “beauty privilege.”’

The only place where Miss Chambers is being excluded from ‘this imaginary mixed-race community’ on the basis of her skin colour is in her own mind, but what would you expect from the author of an article about another woman’s engagement who narcissistically includes ‘what about me?’ in the title?

Miss Chambers is the one focusing on Miss Markle’s skin tones, not the media; Miss Chambers is the one assuming that Miss Markle is deemed more attractive and more ‘privileged’ because of her lighter skin tone and straightened hair. She is the one judging people to be worthy or less worthy due to their colour.

What then is she projecting other than her own self-obsession? Were she as devoted to the Guardian’s diversity values, then shouldn’t she be celebrating the fact that there are a variety of mixed-race people of all shades and hairstyle choices?

Her contention and objection to Harry’s choice appears to be her theory that darker-skinned women with curly and Afro hair are deemed less desirable. Since attractiveness is subjective, the qualities one person finds attractive another person doesn’t, are we to assume she is projecting her own preferences? It is by no means clear that ‘whiter’ people are preferred or that there is a fashion discrimination against ‘blackness’ as she implies. Take the fashion industry, where there have been many black models down through the decades, many with darker skin such as Grace Jones and those such as Pat Cleveland who proudly displayed their Afro hair.

Did Miss Chambers or her publishers stop to consider that perhaps Miss Markle might just want to be viewed as an individual without unnecessary scrutiny of what colour she is or her racial heritage? Miss Markle is first and foremost an individual. To paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King, we should judge Miss Markle and every other human being on the content of their character and their arbitrary physical traits should be completely irrelevant. It would be great if the Guardian could ease up on the race baiting, but I suspect it will carry on in the same vein.

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Andrew Devine
Andrew Devine
Andrew Devine is an Orwell Prize winning writer & blogger

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