- In an interview with Dr. Jane Goodall in Meghan Markle's guest-edited British Vogue issue, Prince Harry discusses racism and "unconscious bias" amid a conversation about sustainability and preserving the environment.
- While praising Goodall's work with young people, Prince Harry and the legendary anthropologist discussed how stigma is "handed down from generation to generation" and that children "are taught to hate."
- The Duke of Sussex noted how important it is for people to understand their "unconscious bias," where they might not realize that their upbringing or environment has influenced them to act racist.
Prince Harry had a hand in Meghan, Duchess of Sussex's guest-edited September issue of British Vogue: He interviewed legendary anthropologist Jane Goodall for the magazine. The duo discussed topics such as conservation and sustainability, but they also touched on the complexities of human nature and people's inherent biases toward those who are different from them.
The Duke of Sussex homed in on "unconscious bias," saying it is "something which so many people don't understand, why they feel the way that they do." He continued:
"Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say, 'What you've just said, or the way that you've behaved, is racist" — they'll turn around and say, 'I'm not a racist.' 'I'm not saying that you're a racist, I'm just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way that you've been brought up, the environment you've been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view — unconscious point of view — where naturally you will look at someone in a different way.' And that is the point at which people start to have to understand."
Prince Harry's comments strike a chord because Meghan, who is mixed race, has been the target of repeated racist criticism from online trolls and tabloids since she was first thrust into the royal spotlight.
The Duke of Sussex more directly called out the "wave and abuse" directed at Meghan in 2016, when they were still dating. He issued a rare statement from Kensington Palace condemning the "outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments." He called for her privacy, saying he was "worried for" Meghan's safety.
In her interview with the prince, Goodall pointed out that from working with young people, she's noticed how certain things, such as the concept of race, are learned. "Especially if you get little kids together, there's no difference!" she said. "They don't notice, 'My skin's white, mine's black,' until somebody tells them."
Prince Harry responded, "But again, just as stigma is handed down from generation to generation, your perspective on the world and on life and on people is something that is taught to you. It's learned from your family, learned from the older generation, or from advertising, from your environment. And, therefore, you have to be able to have a wider perspective."
Despite the repeated attacks toward the couple, most are praising Meghan and Harry's relationship, emphasizing how historic it is to have a woman of color in the royal family. The musician Pharrell Williams, for example, told the duke and duchess at the Lion King premiere, "Don't ever take that for granted, but what it means in today's climate, I just wanted to tell you it's so significant for so many of us."
Meghan responded with gratitude. "They don't make it easy," she said.