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DADult Life | June 24, 2018

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A mixed race dad’s take: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding

Mixed race family's take on royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

I hate shopping for greetings cards. Serious? Comedic? Borderline offensive? Better stick with romantic when buying for Jenna – it’s a tried and tested formula.

But what I find most frustrating about the things that will inevitably end up crushed within Roma’s steely grip is that there’s absolutely no diversity. It’s an incredible leap forward to see that there are same-sex cards now available on shelves, though any cards catering to people in mixed race relationships are yet to make their grand debut. Why?

So during the royal wedding, a globally broadcast spectacle of epic proportions, I half-joked that the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might prompt the likes of Clintons and Card Factory to step their game up and cater to those in couples like mine. And it struck a chord – some admitted they hadn’t even realised this was the case, while others knew the struggle well.

Newspapers have been only too quick to point out Meghan’s mixed race heritage, just because. There’s been no real purpose or insight to their reports, just simply pointing out the colour of her skin for the sake of it. Yes, her mum’s black and her dad’s white – are you going anywhere with that or nah? Just look at this filth from the Daily Mail.

Her background has been sensationalised in the same way her previous marriage has been highlighted. Yes, she’s a divorcee. Shock – couple’s relationship doesn’t work out – SCANDAL! If anything I reckon it humanises her, though that’s just my take.

 

 “For many of us, we love who we love and colour isn’t even an issue”

 

Since race has been such a running theme throughout the wedding, with plenty of crude coverage, I feel like some context from someone that’s grown up in a mixed race family is required. It’s easy to take for granted the relative ease of being in a mixed race relationship in today’s world – it’s normal. And why shouldn’t it be? For many of us, we love who we love and colour isn’t even an issue, while for others, gender isn’t an issue.

Rewind back to the 1950s and my granddad, a Dominican who emigrated to the UK, fell for my nan, a Britain-born cockney and vice versa. Sadly, her mother wasn’t impressed with the match at all for the obscene fact that my granddad wasn’t white. Refusing to give my granddad the time of day, she disowned her daughter. It didn’t matter that he was a loving, committed husband – he was black. But that rebuff only fuelled their love for each other, which led to five children, including my mum.

My mum was the one who told me about the huge mind-set gulf with her grandmother and how she only recalls seeing her once. She didn’t even want to look at my mum and her siblings during that time, which is utterly abhorrent. How could you possibly spurn your own flesh and blood, innocent children, for the simple fact they have brown skin? I recently discovered my nan was actually one of eight children and all but one great aunt also severed ties. Until this time, I was under the impression my nan only had one sister, which tells you how very absent they were from our family.

Fast-forward almost 70 years and history has repeated itself as Jenna and I fell for each other. Only we didn’t have a battle on our hands, nor did the colour of each other’s skin factor into our decision as to whether we’d date each other or not.

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And not that Harry, Meghan and I have had a conversation about this but I’d imagine the same rules applied to them. Assess whether each other is of sound mind, if they like films, fitness and food, then make it official.

I’m saddened that it came to it, but unbelievably proud of the sacrifice my grandparents made and the devotion they had for each other. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t be here today without them. Their resistance in the face of adversity seems largely like a foreign concept now in a world that’s far more progressive. Still, it’s not perfect though and the royal union has shown that there is still work to be done when it comes to looking at the colour of one’s skin.

 

“With a beautiful brown-skinned girl of my own, knowing that she’ll be able to see Meghan in the public eye one day, someone in the royal family with similar skin, for her that will be the norm. And frankly, it should be the norm for everyone else too.”

 

It seemed Harry had taken all he could when it came to remarks about his lady back in 2016, at which time he issued a statement defending her honour. In part it reads: “His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”

With the couple now wed, I for one hope that people will accept that times have changed and forget the narrative. Yes, there is a mixed race royal. Should that be such a wild concept to come to terms with? People of mixed race origins are in every part of society, as are white people, black people, immigrants and so on because that’s modern Britain; it’s the world we live in.

With a beautiful brown-skinned girl of my own, knowing that she’ll be able to see Meghan in the public eye one day, someone in the royal family with similar skin, for her that will be the norm. And frankly, it should be the norm for everyone else too.

Full disclosure: I totally shed a tear 😢 Yesterday I had the Royal Wedding on in the background while tidying up and with the sound of the hoover spooking Roma more than me reacting to a spider falling into my lap, she came to me for safety. I quickly finished off the task with her in one arm to show it’s nothing to be afraid of as she calmed down. When the din from the hoover had ended I realised the gospel choir had started and just what a fitting song that was playing, so we had a little dance. It was only when I started to record that I realised she had nodded off. Though she was completely oblivious, this simple moment had me glossy-eyed and my heart so full with nothing but pure love and adoration for my little darling ❤️🎶 #DADultLife #RoyalWedding #FatherDaughterDance

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