THE HOME secretary has dismissed claims that racism has in any way categorised the UK media’s coverage of Meghan Markle.
Priti Patel, who was born in London to a Ugandan- Indian family, shared her comments on the debate during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.
In response to question over whether the media had been racist towards the duchess, she said: “I’m not in that category at all where I believe there’s racism at all. I think we live in a great country, a great society, full of opportunity, where people of any background can get on in life.
She added: “I don’t think so, no … I certainly haven’t seen that through any debates or commentary or things of that nature.
“As someone who’s been born and brought up in the United Kingdom, who comes from an immigrant background, I think Britain is a country of tremendous opportunity.”
Her comments come after Labour leadership challenger Clive Lewis said that the Duchess of Sussex was a victim of “structural racism”.
The MP for Norwich South told Sky News: “These themes run through our society. We can see it with Meghan Markle and the way that she’s been treated in the media. We know this is a reality of the 21st century still after 400 years of racism.”
Supporters of the couple and anti-racism commentators have also argued that racism has shaped the negative coverage the Duchess of Sussex has been subjected to in the media – and contributed to the pair’s decision to step back from their roles as senior royals.
Writing in the New York Times, author Afua Hirsch said the royal couple’s decision reflected the feeling many people of colour in the UK.
“If the media paid more attention to Britain’s communities of colour, perhaps it would find the announcement far less surprising. With a new prime minister whose track record includes overtly racist statements, some of which would make even Donald Trump blush, a Brexit project linked to native nationalism and a desire to rid Britain of large numbers of immigrants, and an ever thickening loom of imperial nostalgia, many of us are also thinking about moving,” Hirsch wrote.
Earlier today, Hirsch clashed with Piers Morgan over the issue on Good Morning Britain.
She said: “There have been allegations that she has been associated with very racialised forms of crime, there have been discussions about her ‘exotic’ DNA, her newborn baby was compared to a baby chimp.”
Morgan interrupted: “Is her DNA not exotic by royal standards? She’s the first mixed-race person to enter the royal family. Why do you take exception to the word exotic?”
In October last year, the Duke of Sussex issued a statement explaining the couple’s decision to launch legal action against the Mail on Sunday.
“My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” he said.