Prince Charles racial microaggression’d a British-Indian woman

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On Friday, Prince Charles was chosen as the next leader of the Commonwealth, which is what his mother wanted. Queen Elizabeth II made a rare public show of support for Charles in the middle of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting, telling the assembled heads of government that Charles should be the next one to fill the symbolic-figurehead role which she has occupied since 1953. The heads of government voted (or whatever) and confirmed it, although I’m pretty sure that when the Queen passes away, Charles is still going to have to formalize that sh-t all over again.

Anyway, on the same day that the British Commonwealth countries chose Charles as their next symbolic figurehead, a British-Indian woman publicly called out Charles for a racial microaggression. And speaking as an Indian-American woman, people do this sh-t to me all the time and it’s not okay.

Just a day before Prince Charles was officially named the next leader of the Commonwealth, Anita Sethi, a British writer, slammed the royal for making an ignorant comment to her during their brief interaction at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting this week.

In an article about the experience for The Guardian, Sethi writes that when she had a chance to meet Charles after speaking during the Commonwealth People’s Forum, he asked her where she was from. When she responded Manchester, a city in northeastern England, he reportedly responded: “Well, you don’t look like it!”

Sethi, who is of Indian descent, said she was “stunned” by the remark. The incident came just a few hours after Queen Elizabeth, for the first time publicly, endorsed her son to succeed her as the next Head of the Commonwealth.

“That the mooted next leader of an organization that represents one-third of the people on the planet commented that I, a brown woman, did not look as if I was from a city in the UK is shocking,” Sethi writes. “This is exactly why some people, including the prince, urgently need a history lesson about immigration, the British empire, the Commonwealth and colonialism.” (Clarence House has not commented on the controversy.)

“So what does a British person look like? A British person can look like me. A British person can have black or brown, not only white, skin and still be just as British.”

In her article, Sethi says that she thinks the outlook she observed in her exchange with Charles should disqualify him not only from the position as the Head of the Commonwealth, but also as the next British monarch.

“We need to skip a generation so that Prince Charles does not become king of England or head of the Commonwealth, and these privileges pass to leaders more enlightened.”

Charles was officially named the next leader of the Commonwealth a day after Sethi’s article was published, on Friday. In the past, the royal has spoken out about his sympathy for those who have faced persecution and discrimination, most recently, in a televised Easter address. In it, he said: “My heart goes out to all who this day, whatever their beliefs, are being persecuted on religious grounds.”

[From People]

This is what I get: “Where are you from?” I tell them “Virginia.” They say: “No, I mean… where are you really from?” Seriously. That still happens to me all the time. Once when I was getting a haircut from a new hairdresser, I said something about my name (which is super-Indian) and the woman looked at me in horror and said, “Oh my God ARE YOU A MUSLIM?” Or what about the time when someone heard me give a speech and then came up to me later and complimented my English? I have a million stories like that. I guarantee every brown person in America and Britain has a story like that. Now, do I think this moment utterly disqualifies Prince Charles as a person? Eh. I think it makes him a douchebag who is far from woke. Just because he’s not as bad as his father, doesn’t mean that Charles doesn’t have a nasty racist streak too.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 in London

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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277 Responses to “Prince Charles racial microaggression’d a British-Indian woman”

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  1. Tanesha86 says:

    This doesn’t surprise me one bit

    • Char says:

      They ruled India as a colony for how long, now wonder they still believe all the people from former colonies are beneath them (speaking as someone from a colonized country who faced prejudice at the formal colonizor country).

      • Rumi says:

        I despise the concept of the Commonwealth. The thing that binds all these countries is that a group of white people forcibly colonized and stole from the people and land.

        Its idiotic and rude, he did this on the day of the event when the Elizabeth endorsed Charles as a leader of the Commonwealth.
        The woman’s name is Anita Sethi an accomplished writer and journalist. She felt humiliated. Ive visited Manchester, I loved it, a beautiful diverse city and she looks like she is from there.
        Meghan will be the token black person. Look we aren’t racist we have Meghan.
        Some people have said it was a joke misinterpreted but no it’s a racist remark. I’m glad she called him out for what it was.

    • flan says:

      It does surprise me a little and I mean the sheer stupidity of it.

      Anyone who lived in a British city for a few months would not have been surprised to hear this lady is from Manchester. Charles has traveled all over the country since he was a kid, so how can he think it’s unexpected for Ms. Sethi to be from there? I think the only Brits who would still be surprised by this live in quite small towns or villages and don’t travel much.

      And even if he did know, he should also know enough not to make a joke like that.

      They should have made Meghan Head of the Commonwealth.

    • Mrs,Krabapple says:

      That family has a long racist history, including Charles’ own father who is a modern-day racist a-hole. The only thing that surprises me is that there are people who are surprised by this.

    • TheOriginalMe says:

      Hi Kaiser, I’m an Indian American woman too… I used to get the “where are you really from” in places like Oklahoma, South/North Carolina but not as much up north where I am now. I haven’t gotten it for a long time now. Where I used to get it, and aggressively too, was when I lived in Germany and Switzerland. And to annoy them, I’d say the US. So they would ask, but where are your parents from. And I would say the US. Then they would say but where are your grandparents from and I would say the US … which is a lie but they would get so annoyed with me…. which was my reward. Also in Germany, my passport and my luggage were systemically checked every time I came in through the airport…. unless there was a darker person on the same flight or a woman in a hijab. Then I was spared. Strangers also had no shame in asking me if I were a cleaning lady… Not that there’s anything wrong in being a cleaning lady, mind you, but I just happen NOT to be one in spite of being brown. Lol. Ridiculous.

      • Sojaschnitzel says:

        @TheOriginalMe on behalf of my country I would like to apologize. Seriously. Which part of germany were you in? The region can make a BIG difference. East and south are sadly still a bit problematic. In the east, neo nazis are a real thing (again). In the south, it’s “only” patriarchic catholic bs that’s making it uncomfortable for women, punks and foreigners.
        In some parts people wouldn’t ask you such things though, or at least I want to believe that. Which airport did you take?
        Internet hugs and a big sorry to you. I am embarrassed.

    • asfasl;dfja says:

      Seriously – have you even heard some of Prince Philip’s quotes? ugh.

  2. Snazzy says:

    I’m of Indian decent and live in Switzerland and it happens to me all the time too. I say I’m Canadian (where I was born and raised) but always get “Not but you’re not a real Canadian. What are you?” DUDE, I actually look more like “real” canadians (i.e. the native population) than the white folk you think are real Canadians. I go bonkers on people when they ask me that. I’ve had enough

    • Renee2 says:

      Oh Snazzy,

      As a Black Canadian, I heard this many a time during my youth. As an adult I had an English woman look at me and state that Canada was a Christian country, she stopped herself before stating that it was a white country, and that if people didn’t like it they should go back where they came from. I asked her where I should return to since I was born in Canada and told her that she should go back to England if she wanted to speak English so badly. I can’t even speak another language!!

      • Snazzy says:

        Ohhh I’ve heard the Christian country thing a few times too!! And the English thing too (great comment about her going back to England).

        I always remind them that (1) bilingualism is enshrined in our constitution and that (2) we have always embraced multiculturalism as a policy (even if there are idiots out there). I mean just go to any bank machine in Vancouver – it’s in English, French, Panjabi and Mandarin!

        It’s just so tiring to always have to fight, isn’t it?

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        This thing about being a “real Canadian” is tiring and depressing. Some people really want to draw up the moat around themselves. It’s like the last thing they cling to, that sense of identity as ‘superior’ simply for having been born X or Z.

        And yet as always, and as in the USA too, and I would guess in England as well, it’s the immigrants who are the strivers and the children of immigrants who are doing the best in school.

      • Peeking in says:

        Renee – Same. Until Drake became popular, it seemed like people didn’t know there were black Canadians.
        How about this one “you’re pretty for a black girl” or “OMG, you don’t sound black” or meeting someone after having spoken on the phone, and have them try to hide their surprise. And on and on…

      • GreenTurtle says:

        @WATP- to your second para, spot on. I live in Virginia, USA, and the Indian and Pakistani families I know are business owners and physicians.

      • otaku fairy says:

        Your response to that was perfect!

    • Aang says:

      Sorry Snazzy. I had a Canadian guy come up to me at the super market while I was browsing the sushi bar and ask if I were Japanese. I said no, I’m indigenous. Not sure why I even said that, I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my heritage but I was surprised by the question. His reply was “it must be nice getting free university”. So either they think I don’t belong or when the racists find out I belong here more than they do they mention all the “privileges” that natives are “given”. Toronto is so diverse and amazing but the smaller Ontario towns can be like rural America.

    • HK9 says:

      As a Black Canadian I’ve has people do this to me all the time. I’m like, I’m Canadian-born here….and you?? I find it so ridiculous, people needing to find out where you’re from as if they’re entitled to check you out to see of you’re “ok”.

    • TheOriginalMe says:

      Same here Snazzy. Germany and Switzerland have a hard time accepting me as an American. My PhD thesis advisor, when he asked me where I was born, and I said Australia… This big boss of a big research lab, (ie a highly educated and well-travelled man), says but you don’t look like an Australian.

      In fact, I look a lot like the indigenous people of Australia. Lol.

  3. Alissa says:

    it’s an incredibly stupid and racist comment, but man I really hate the term microaggression.

    • Alix says:

      Especially when contorted into a verb. “Committed a microaggression” — fixed it for ya.

    • NameChange says:

      It’s a polite way out of calling someone what they are: racist.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      It has the potential to be used as a euphemism and it’s social science-ese but it does effectively capture the subtle, passive-aggressive, under the radar, part of everyday discourse nature of this behavior. People sometimes want to think racism and other forms of oppression are found only in open violence and slurs. These daily gears can really grind one down and people use them to express their aggression and “get away with it.” Power moves that remind the “other” of who is top dog and who belongs, as Charles so disgustingly did.

      • sunny says:

        Yes @whoarethesepeople! There are different degrees of racism that PoC get to deal with every day. While I have personally faced less than a dozen truly horrible racist incidents in my life, I have dealt with hundreds of microagressions. It is the daily under the radar nonsense that many people of colour are forced to live with every day. We do need a term that encapsulates these incidents.

        I’m all for a rebranding if people have ideas for another term but it requires its own term. In the absence of anything better, microaggressions will do

    • Redgrl says:

      He’s a buffoon – he tries to say the right things and support the right causes – and I’m sure on some level he means it. But at heart he’s a product of extreme privilege and dysfunction and really hasn’t a clue in the broader sense. On another note -I also hate the term “micro aggression”. It’s one of those trendy terms that creeps into common parlance and drives me up the wall – like people who talk about their journey,or the term pandemic or people who preface everything they say with “I feel.” No one – I repeat no one- cares how you “feel”. Just express your opinion and be done with it! Ugh – need more coffee…

    • Tanya says:

      Would you prefer passive-aggressive racism? No matter the term, the behavior exists, and I believe those of us dealing with it on a daily behavior hate it more than those hating the term.

  4. aquarius64 says:

    And this is Meghan’s future father in law.

  5. OriginalLala says:

    Can we just be done with the whole lot of them? it’s not like William, Kate or even Harry are much better…

  6. MVC says:

    Why is anyone surprised at this?

  7. Insomniac says:

    Every POC I know gets that “No-but-where-are-you-REALLY-from” crap on the regular. It’s awful.

  8. Maya Memsaab says:

    Firstly, not surprising in the least.

    Secondly, as an Indian currently living in the UK, nothing grinds my gears more than the “Your English is so good!” comments. Mostly I just grit my teeth at these remarks but every now and then I can’t help but react with irritation. My go-to snarky response is “Thank you! I’ve only been speaking English as a first language since I was 2, what with 150 years of colonialism and all…but thank you for validating me anyway!” Usually does the trick.

  9. Shotcaller says:

    Spoken like Phil’s boy.

  10. Who ARE these people? says:

    Sorry you deal with this s**t Kaiser. And it happens to every brown (and East Asian) person in Canada, too.

    And as you know it’s about appearance and also about names. Constant passive-aggressive reminders about not being a Smith or a MacKenzie, a James or a Jennifer, being “different,” strange,” “difficult,” or not “normal.”

    The young people meeting, mingling and mating will, I hope, overcome this but it will take time.

    Meanwhile, the snubbed have to put up with white Canadians patting themselves on the back for being “tolerant.”

    • sunny says:

      The where are you from bs is pretty common. My grandparents moved to the UK in the early 60′s from the West Indies and my younger cousins so now 3rd generation still get asked where they are from.

      I’m a Canadian(my dad who was raised in the islands and schooled in Britain moved over in the 1980′s), and I get that question all the time. Memorably, I had a grad school professor who displayed this sort of casual racism almost daily(and this was a former diplomat teaching in the best International affairs program in the country). In one of our seminars, he would always ask the people of colour to speak on behalf of entire countries of continents. Any time Africa was mentioned he would say, “What are your thoughts?”. I was like, “I’m Canadian born and raised. Also, my family is originally West Indian.” He would always ask my friend Chris about China- a guy who was raised in Toronto and whose family was Korean. It was truly mind-boggling that this dude had been a diplomat.

  11. Ophelia says:

    Always got the two-stage treatment of:
    “Oh, but you weren’t born here, right?”
    Followed by
    “Oh, okay but your parents weren’t from here originally, right?”

    It’s like they can’t stand being remotely wrong.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      It’s a compulsion to remind people they are “other.” I’m a white person from somewhere else so I get remarks on my “accent. ” I am a native English speaker in an English-speaking place. People will look for the smallest thing to remind you and reassure themselves that they belong and deserve the rights and privileges of belonging…and you don’t.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      All the while forgetting that their ancestors were immigrants, too. Ugh.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Ah, but they were WHITE immigrants. White, Christian immigrants. Makes all the difference.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        I know, Who. It’s all so disappointing.
        Icky Thump is playing in the quiet of my mind… “Why don’t you kick yourself out, you’re an immigrant, too”

      • Lorelei says:

        Exactly! Have none of these people paid any attention in grade-school history class? Do they not remember that Native Americans were “here first”? (Stupid way to word it but these are stupid people.)

        Probably the same folks who get horrified when it is pointed out to them that Jesus was a Middle Eastern man, not pale and blue-eyed like they enjoy pretending he is in the pictures hanging on their grandma’s wall.

        It’s also as if they HAVE to say something…no, one can really just say “hi” and not make an issue if they’re not sure about a person’s background. If someone wants to share more, they will.

        The only people who ask questions like this, in my experience, are the ones who it makes a difference to. I wouldn’t ask something like that just because it’s rude, but it also isn’t going to influence what I think about a person one way or the other so it genuinely doesn’t occur to me to ask probing questions like this. But I recognize that I am lucky to live in a very diverse area and that there probably are some people in more rural areas who don’t have ill intent but are simply clueless.

        Kaiser I hope you didn’t tip that hair stylist and never went back 😒

  12. Tania says:

    So, here’s the only time I’m okay with people asking where I’m from: The Indigenous network is a relatively small world and regardless of geography, most know someone from other Nations. So when someone asks, “where you from?” as the first question, followed up by, “and who are your parents?” Odds are, they know your parents. Or know your aunts and uncles and then share a memory of them that you can pass on. It’s how I found out my Mom’s nickname in school was, “Miler”.

  13. Ayra. says:

    BUT can anyone say that they’re genuinely shocked by this? With the history of BRF? Really?

    Best of luck to Meghan. As sad as it is to say, at best, she’ll be dealing with microagressions/covert racism instead of blatant acts of racism from that family. I can’t blame her mother for staying away.

  14. Macko says:

    Dear Celebitchy reader! I have a question, and by all respect please do not get me wrong. I ‘m white but from Eastern Europe, so people recognize at first when I open my mouth that english is not my first language. So I got that question too but not because of my skincolour so I think that makes it fine. So what I just really want to know. If I meet you and ask where are you from you answer what ever NY, Toronto or elswhere, can I ask than what your heritage is? Is that ok? Or you would just say it is non of my bussines?

    • MrsBump says:

      If you are friends with that person, of course you can. However if someone you just met says that are from the *insert western country here* , and you persist in trying to determine their origins, to me that’s a little rude given the context that we live in where non-white foreigners are demonised.

    • Apalapa says:

      If they want to tell you, they will tell you.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      I’ll go with both of the above – let people tell you when and how they want, and also it’s okay as part of getting to know someone deeper into the relationship, or if YOU GO FIRST. Generally though it’s used as the first thing, a way for someone to “frame” everything about the person who does not fit into their mental sense of who is “in” and who is “out,” who belongs and who does not. It shouldn’t be the first or most important thing to know about a person.

      I get really tired – and annoyed – by the accent question (as another English speaker who is white, as I am a native English speaker who is white) in part because I know that if I were brown, the questioner would ask a different question that’s even worse. They seem to think that harping on “accent” is innocuous, and it’s not. They are looking for difference and pleased as punch to find one they think is socially acceptable to harp on.

    • Chaine says:

      I am white and born in the US but I have a very unusual (non English) name. When I meet a new person odds are higher than not that one of the first things they say is “what kind of name is that” or “where is your name from.” I kind of hate that I am constantly asked this question as if I am some kind of freak. At this point in my life I wish people would just keep their question to themselves and go look it up on Google when they get home. If I were you I would not start out your interaction with people by asking intrusive questions about their origins.

      • Kitten says:

        This is exactly my situation. Even if it isn’t brought on by race, it’s still annoying AF to answer the same question a million times. Still, annoying is preferable to outright offensive.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Same situation. I chalk it up to simple ignorance, and use it as an opportunity to educate, but since I am not a POC, their comments are not laced with racist overtones, which is being described as a matter of course here.

        People can be so g.d. awful.

        I also wanted to add- perhaps PC’s future CW leader status could be derailed by a whisper campaign of dementia taking hold of his faculties.

      • Lady D says:

        …or as Dr. Who might say, “don’t you think s/he looks tired?” It worked to bring down Prime Minister Harriet Jones.

      • misty says:

        It’s usually the uncultured who ask these questions because they’ve never been exposed to people from different backgrounds before. I give a pass to people from rural towns who are new to the city but this man is royalty. His family literally tried to own and colonize the entire world and he still doesn’t know the demographics of his own country? He should have to read every book in their library and visit every museum before he is even considered for the crown.

    • Clare says:

      Honestly, if you’re curiosity about someone’s heritage is based on the colour of their skin, or the shape of their eyes, or any other physical feature – then no, it’s none of your business.

      • Aang says:

        Commenting on an accent is also rude.

      • Macko says:

        That is why I ask. If somebody asks where am I from because obviously you can hear me talking with an accent, that does not bother me at all. When they learn that II’m from Hungary ant the next question is are you hungry, well that ‘s bothers me.
        To be honest, I’m comming from a small town from a small country, the first time I saw a non white person I was 14 and I was in London. I guess my grandma never ever seen anybody with other skincolor other than white. So what I try to tell, there is some natural curiusity especially if people also asks me about my heritage.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        I get the “accent” comment a lot and … I’m a native English speaker from another English-speaking country so it’s really about searching out the fine distinctions. It’s like shouting, “OOH, you’re DIFFERENT!”

      • bluhare says:

        If I hear an English accent I always ask where they’re from because I want to see if they are from close to where I was born. I don’t sound English any more, but I do love connecting with people who are also English. I didn’t realize I was being rude.

    • Michelle says:

      Is this an Eastern European thing? I ask because I was never asked this question before I began dating my husband but it was the first thing his friends and family asked. Also when I’d say “Canadian”, they’d ask what came before that, which I guess to immigrants and first gens is a reasonable question but I am a multi-multi-generational Canadian and just kind of shrugged.

      • Kata says:

        It’s just that a lot of Eastern Europe is very very very white. We didn’t have slavery, we dindn’t have colonialism, we hardly had any immigrants ( my country at least). I’ve never met a non white person born in my country. And the movies and TV shows we get hardly if ever show non black POCs. So you get a very skewed perception.

      • Macko says:

        Is it? I do not think so! My husband is german, his friends asked me in the begining where am I from. We lived in Canada and I got the question a lot too. But I have to say we used to live in Toronto and there everybody comes from somewhere. If I met somebody and I could tell that he or she is not s native engish speaker I tired to guess the accent. I could easily identify hungarian of course, french was an easy one and some slavic country but I just never felt that it is a rude question. As somebody mentioned most of the eastern european countries have a different relationship to non white people. Some of you might be shocked, but even the n word is in common use here without ANY NEGTIVE meanings. Of course the younger generations who were fortunate enough to travel and see the world learn languages would not use it.

  15. Nicole says:

    And this is why I continue to side eye the coverage of Meghan’s marriage magically “fixing” the colonial racist institution that is the BRF. Like cmon that is not going to happen because that requires undoing hundreds of years of history and racism.
    And yes I get the “where are you really from” thing. It’s usually stops when I drop the “my family came at the same time as yours except they built the country for no money”. Usually shuts people up

    • Ayra. says:

      Nicole, they’re about to treat her like that token black friend that racists use. “We’re not racist, we have Meghan, she’s part black!”.

      • Nicole says:

        Not just her but her children. It’s infuriating to see people disregard the damage it does to biracial children to be around racist grandma or grandpa. They get enough of that from the outside world but you marrying into a family like this makes sure they get it at home too.

      • MrsBump says:

        Meghan benefits from the privilege of looking more white than black, and apart from the Daily Mail readers, who are pretty consistent in their hatred of everyone not white, no one batted an eye when the engagement was announced.
        Had she been a lot darker, if she didn’t straighten her hair .. would the reception have been the same , would Harry even have fallen for her? Given the comments he’s made in the past, i wonder. Calling someone of indian/pakistani origin a paki is akin to calling a black person a nigger, it’s unacceptable.

      • GreenTurtle says:

        Is Paki just a British thing? I live in an area with a lot of first and second generation Pakistanis, and I’ve never heard it before.

      • Veronica T says:

        Mrs Bump, if Meghan were darker, if she had her natural hair, would Harry have even looked at her!?!
        I say No. No way. Does anyone think he would have?

      • MrsBump says:

        VeronicaT – i feel that way too, he wouldn’t even have looked twice at her and that makes me so sad. My little two year niece said the other day that she was too dark and it broke my heart. If only i knew who’d said that to her, argghh
        All the little (and not so little) dark skinned girls identifying with Meghan as “their” princess .. when in reality, she’s not really (through no fault of her own obviously!) , ultimately it was her “white” features that mattered, and that she wasn’t “too black”. Sigh

      • PamelaRose says:

        I remember an interview she gave a few years back (don’t have the energy to look up the link) but, she had commented that she did well in Hollywood, as far as how many auditions she was able to get, based on the fact that she could check the “ethnic caucasian” box I believe. Which I found said a lot about how she views herself. Though she says biracial, I don’t think she sees herself as black.

    • IlsaLund says:

      Nicole, many of our ancestors were here before theirs. My ancestors were here at the founding of the country, but many of their ancestors didn’t arrive until the great migration wave of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

    • Div says:

      This. People and the media downplay the rampant racism in the royal family. The sad thing is Charles doing this is relatively mild compared to Phillip (who is extremely racist) but people will excuse both of them. The thing that drives me nuts is when people excuse Phillip’s racism on his age. Racism isn’t okay even if you are 100, and secondly his comments are less like Charles and more like Trump.
      Harry calling people a r*ghead was atrocious and he got a complete pass on it. I can believe he’s changed, but he may be one of a very few non racist Royals and I feel for Meghan.

    • dodgy says:

      Meghan is mixed race and kinda white passing (most white people I know thought she was tanned with a broken nose – before her ethnicity came out). She’ll be … fine? But that’s what she’s chosen for herself.

      • Kitten says:

        A “broken nose”??? Yikes.
        I think it’s clear that she is a woman of color.

      • Lana says:

        @kitten, I want to see how long this last before people start making excuses again for thier fav.
        As I said below, I’ve seen some regulars blame and excuse all types of racism for thier fav. Even blaming other people for thier missteps.

        People get more personally pissed at buttons and sashes more than they do about the constant racism in this family.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Lana- Knowing Harry’s stanbase, I bet you will see a LOT of people defending. Mostly white people I’m sure. I have to cop to a level of ignorance about some of the comments he made in the past–I’m hearing some of this sh*t for the first time myself.

        I knew about his Nazi uniform, which was bad enough but had no idea about some of the comments he’s made. I feel bad for Meghan….

      • Lorelei says:

        @dodgy I watched Suits from the beginning and had no idea she was biracial. The way I found out was when her father’s character was introduced and he was black. I was legit surprised! I remember asking my husband and he was surprised that I hadn’t realized it sooner, but I honestly didn’t.

        Apparently I wasn’t the only one because she said there were a lot of fans who came out of the woodwork with all sorts of angry slurs, saying they wouldn’t watch the show anymore, etc. THAT was the part that surprised me; that anyone who was a fan of hers from the show would care.

        I didn’t think that she had a broken nose, though. Yikes.

      • Veronica T says:

        Lana, someone here continually blames William for the 20 year old Harry’s wearing a Nazi uniform, like Harry was a 6 year old child and someone else said he did it to mock anti-semitism.
        Yes, Harry the Brilliant Satirist.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Kitten, look at latest header picture of her here and try to imagine that you did not know anything about her. She barely even looks tanned.

      • Oro says:

        Meghan is quite pale. Without the bronzer, she looks like a slightly tanned white woman.

      • dodgy says:

        @kitten – yeah, you could have knocked me over with a feather when the person told me that. I guess because her nose isn’t snubbed, or straight edged, or ski jump in profile. I mean, I’m a black woman so I know when people are walking around inconegro, as they were, and I would have pinged Markle as being not totally white even if I didn’t know her background. Markle’s freckles kinda help too, because you only see freckles on light-skinned people around my way.

  16. darkladi says:

    3 things I love:
    1. Being told how well I speak
    2. Being told how pretty I am for a Black woman
    3. People assuming I must be an immigrant. I always respond that I am descended from kidnap victims

  17. Margo S. says:

    I need to apologise because I used to do this dumb shit all the time. I move to Toronto at 18 in 2006 and obviously it’s an awesome diverse city. But I would always ask about people’s heritage. I was seriously just curious, not thinking that what I was doing was insulting. I am so sorry. I was a narrow minded naive girl.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Thanks for saying this and growing. Were you from a smaller town in Ontario?

      Toronto is truly awesomely diverse. I hope it fans out across the country and overcomes the old British colonialism that is still apparent.

    • Snowflake says:

      Same here. I asked my husband about his heritage when I met him. Is there a way to ask without being offensive? I don’t care what race or ethnicity someone is, a lot of times I’m just curious.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Snowflake, curiosity is normal and understandable, but what happens when questioners make it one of the first things to be asked about someone, it’s setting up a “framework” as that ethnicity or immigration status being the most important thing about a person. If you truly don’t care … then you wouldn’t have that curiosity. People of colour or other signal difference etc. don’t always like to be treated as curiosities on display for the benefit of those in the majority. We’re just going about our lives. Asking about things we have in common – our work, education, favourite movies and foods, if we have a pet, children, aging parents, and so on – is so much easier to take than being asked about the things that are different, at least until we are at a level of established equality. So, maybe just wait. If you truly have no judgement, then there’s no reason to know right away until you get to know someone – and, more important, they get to know you.

      • Clare says:

        No, there is no polite way to remind someone that they look different, and that makes you curious. Nope nope nope. If your curiosity is based on how someone looks – keep it to yourself. It isn’t your right to have your curiosity sated – it is THEIR right not to be othered by you.

        I apologize if that sounds harsh but the number of times I’ve been asked where I’, ‘really from’ by ‘curious’ strangers and/or acquaintances…a nice little reminder that I ‘look different’.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        PS I should add, POC and people with other differences (including me) get told “We’re just curious!” a lot. It makes me feel like an exhibit, not a person. They’re curious about something superficial, not about me as an individual. Be curious about my actual life, not about my skin colour/hair/facial features/language/”accent”/place of birth/religion/ethnicity/name etc.

        So, yeah, “I’m just curious” — please be aware that that in itself can be a problem. We’re not curiosities under glass.

      • Snowflake says:

        I apologize for my ignorance guys. Thanks for explaining.

    • Peeking in says:

      Thanks for saying this Margo. I don’t get offended if people ask about my heritage, Toronto is diverse now, but it wasn’t always, so likely my parents/grand-parents were immigrants. Asking about my heritage is different (to me) than asking “where are you from”, like I don’t belong or I just got here.

      • Taxi says:

        @ who ARE these people:
        In the part of the US where I live, queries about where I went to school, my interests or my occupation are far more intrusive opportunities for judgment than “where are you from?” based on appearance or my speech pattern, or accent.
        Asking about school questions academic rank or level of education because some schools are far more prestigious than others. It’s also usually a tacit request for me to return the question so the other can enumerate her number of advanced degrees. “Occupation? ” is code for how much money do you make. “Interests?” Scrapbooking vs. serving on charitable foundation boards.
        I’m not offended at all if asked about my heritage based on my appearance or or where I grew up based on someone’s perception of my “accent.” That’s a far nicer conversation opener to me than “Where do/did you live/work/vacation, 0r go to school?”
        If the first question I get is “What’s your favorite music/book/film. . .” that also invites immediate judgment – too trivial, intellectual, ribald, etc. Based on sincere curiosity, triggered by appearance, accent, style of clothing “Where are you from?” is very benign compared to the alternatives you suggest.

  18. Reader says:

    Honestly, those who say “what are you?” come off as ignorant and uncultured.

    How is it that well-traveled people even say these things? I give some slack to the underprivileged and uneducated but the royals?

    Anyway I get the “what are you” followed by the “is your family in the Mafia” A LOT—it apparently never gets old for some.

    And other times I’ve gotten “WOW—you are DARK.” “No, really, You are really dark. My neighbor’s cousin is Italian too but you look so much darker than her.”

    I just nod my head and let it go.

    Happens. All. The. Time.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Yes, as an Italian in UK I get so many comments about accents and stereotypes!

      I am so terrible and naughty that my answers used to startle people (I used to reply “where do you think I am from?” and that usually shut the conversation down).
      After the referendum (Brexit), I am living a secluded life as much as I can (I was attacked by xenophobic idiots) and tension is so high that I don’t get asked the “where are you from” question anymore.

    • Nick2b says:

      Dark ass Sicilian here! Totally get the mafia jokes as well.

  19. BlueSky says:

    As a POC people are AMAZED that I don’t have children, like “what? You don’t have 4 kids with 3 men?” Or they assume I know every black person in the county. Or “Is your name (insert ethnic name here)? I say “no” then it’s “You look like (insert ethnic name here). Or people assume I’m white when I speak to them on the phone and are taken aback when they meet me in person.

    Like the term or not, it gets old dealing with micro aggression on a daily basis. It’s real

    • Nicole says:

      Bluesky same. I’m actually working on research about microagressions towards black women and it’s the best and most harmful study (to me personally) I’ve done so far. Some people don’t realize just how many offensive things we have to shrug off to make it through the day.

    • dodgy says:

      Yeah, I get this, for real. When it comes about that I am married and have no children, I get the, “But… your people-!” I tend to dare them to finish it, tbh. After that bloody referendum in June 23, 2016, and now the Windrush scandal people are all trying to treat me as if I don’t have British citizenship too.

  20. LittleWing says:

    Not at all surprised. Royal parasites, all of them. All entitlement, not much brains. (surely a symptom of inbreeding). Good luck, meghan.

  21. Lindy says:

    Hardly surprising! I can’t believe Charles will be the next king of england, a typical upper class racist snob. Poor Meghan good luck with that family.

  22. Who ARE these people? says:

    Harry has his work cut out for him, as a representative of that senseless and archaic institution and more so as a future husband of the woman he chose and loves.

  23. T.Fanty says:

    What makes this super unpleasant is that it is happening at the exact time the government is illegally deporting the Windrush generations of British citizens out of pure racism. I’ve always tried to like Charles, but this is unacceptable.

  24. All About Eve says:

    Meghan is marrying a man who wore a Nazi uniform, used a racial slur to describe a soldier, and said to a British comedian “you don’t sound like a black chap.” I think her father-in-law should be the least of her problems!

    Prince Charles like the rest of his family are so far removed from the real world that every once in a while when they open their mouths they show their ignorance & complete lack of awareness. As much as they try to portray themselves as modern, they really are not.

    • Ollie says:

      Yeah I remember that “you don’t sound black”. Seriously how does he get away with all this stuff? Because he is a Prince?

      I lost all respect for him back then. I overlooked the Nazi uniform because he was young and it was just a costume… But then came the Paki comment and this…
      What do black people sound like, Harry?
      I wonder what he thinks about his future MIL? Does she sound black enough?

  25. SM says:

    It is bad but is it surprising? I never expect to ever use Prince Charles and woke in the same sentence. It’s how the monarchism of the mind functions anyway – they think that they conquired the world and brought civilization and basically all the good things to their colonies and then when colonial world system collapsed, just went home to the their posh, well educated and white countries.

  26. JP says:

    Happens to me ALL THE TIME! Where are you from? Texas. But where is your family from? Texas, my great grandparents were all born in Texas. But before that? Well, before that Texas was Mexico- so Mexico? Does that work?? It’s like I have to give a country, meanwhile my Irish looking husband whose family immigrated much more recently never had to defend his Texan roots. Such bs.

  27. FU Pay Me says:

    He’s the most racist tampon I’ve ever seen.

  28. Lala says:

    Old White Rich British Man…being bigoted…not surprised…regarding Harry’s past behavior and racism…when he was younger, yes…it seemed as though he was going to grow up to be the most vile and worthless of them all…however, going to war…and obviously…going to therapy…and becoming more involved with his charities and more open in general…let’s me know that as a human being, he has evolved…so…no, he’s NOT his Father…THANK GAWD!

    • Veronica T says:

      Sorry, people don’t change that much. I think Harry learned to shut his mouth, maybe, sometimes. When did he say to the man of color that he “didn’t sound black”? Not too long ago, right?

      • Wisdomheaven says:

        Why are people not willing to give Harry the benefit that he matured and learned from his past comments and actions? It does happen. Happened to one of my good friends who used to say off the wall comments, but grew up and apologized and has been an incredible ally since.

        Maybe I am naive, but I do not think for one second that Meghan would be with Harry if he still held the same racist sentiments he expressed before.

      • Lorelei says:

        @wisdom I think this is also where I come down on it. I don’t want to give Harry a pass, but if we’d all grown up with cameras all over and everyone reporting every stupid thing we EVER said or did…I agree that Meghan’s opinion is what matters and she’s smart!

  29. Cee says:

    I’ve been told my English is PERFECT and that I sound like a northeastern american, and how weird that it is because English is not my first language. Just because my first language is spanish doesn’t mean it is impossible to be bilingual and speak without an accent. Some people are very ignorant!

    Also – to racists, being British means being OLD SCHOOL WHITE BRITISHERS GOING BACK TO KING ARTHUR AND HIS DRAGONS. It’s not about being born in Britain, like this woman, but having the ancestry and skin colour to back it up.

    God, some people are just…

    • Div says:

      People are shocked that my parents speak without an accent (and even me, despite the fact that I came to the states as a toddler). I’m always like, well, English is the official language since y’all colonized, raped, kidnapped, and stole from my people for a few hundred years. Add in American and British TV and it’s pretty easy to “shed” an accent. I also think a lot of people are ignorant about how normal it is in many countries to grow up speaking two, three, or even four languages, and so while someone might have trouble mastering English it doesn’t mean that their language skills are poor in general.

    • Lorelei says:

      I work in a very small but extremely diverse office in NYC and I’m shocked at what people (who consider themselves verrrry progressive) say to me when their guard is down. Many people higher in the administration often try to insist on dealing with me even after I tell them to take it up with the CFO (a Sri Lankan woman). Our offices are spread out and frequently they’ve never met her before and have only dealt with her via email (or not at all). They say things like, “wow, she really is smart, isn’t she” on their way out as if I’m supposed to share their surprise. It is often a very casual, offhanded comment but after it happened repeatedly, I started noticing how awful and damaging it was. And there are a few people who would howl if you ever called them racist but *refuse* to see her as their equal, professionally speaking, even though she’s usually smarter than all of us combined.

      Our IT manager is from Hungary and is very self-conscious about the fact that English isn’t her first language. Again, many people only deal with her via email, and I’ve seen some very startled expressions when they meet her if they need to stop by the administrative offices for any reason. No one ever says anything overtly racist, but the fact that they are surprised that the person who’s been helping them for months has an accent says it all.

      It’s frustrating because it isn’t as if anyone uses a racist term which could be pointed out and they would apologize and not use it anymore— it’s just this very subtle undercurrent that’s *always* there.

  30. Millenial says:

    Let’s hope he apologizes and learns something, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  31. Merritt says:

    Happens to me all the time. I get asked where I’m from, I say Illinois. Then I get asked where my parents are from, I say the states where my parents were born. Then I get asked about my grandparents, I say they were born in the same states as my parents. Certain people are desperate to find a way to claim you are not an American. So I’m not surprised that people receive this push back in other countries.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Sheesh. How irritating for you! I agree, people are desperate to find a way to exclude others. That’s what this is all about.

      These countries will get hollowed out with immigration, too. Racism is unhealthy in every way.

  32. indefatigable says:

    I’m white and live in an area with a large first and second generation migrant populotion, so people often ask me where I’m from just because of the area I’m in. When I tell them I feel so unexoctic and bland.

  33. HannahF says:

    1. My blonde haired, blue eyed Caucasian mother was regularly asked where she was from or what she was and it drove her crazy. She was from Israel and learned British English which made for an odd accent. The most frequent guess was that she was from Scotland. Her answer always was that she was American.

    2. My 90 Y.O. dad, who immigrated from Germany, was recently hospitalized. He asked his attending physician, a POC, what her background was. We had to explain to the doc that my dad, a school snob, was asking about her academic background and didn’t give a flip about her ethnicity.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Aw. Hope your dad will be okay. My US-raised mother is in her 90s and still looks up the credentials of her doctors and surgeons (she was a teacher). Recently she had surgery at the hands of a highly qualified surgeon who was a) young b) a woman c) had a surname that, in my best guess, is Iranian. I think my mom was most confuzzled by the fact that the surgeon wore jeans to work. She said they were nice jeans, though.

  34. Savasana Lotus says:

    I’m curious if anyone where I’m from still experiences this. Los Angeles has the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia…same for Thailand, Armenia, Koreans and several other countries. I am on the cusp of gen-x and boomer. I grew up in Orange County when it was super white. My children were raised in LA where their friends were every hue. Cultures are celebrated in LA. At least that is my experience. Asking about ones background while enjoying an Ethiopian meal next to someone with Ethiopian heritage is not considered bad form. Many Vietnamese folks I know ARE from Vietnam having come as refugees in the 70s and I love hearing about their former country and sharing a bowl of Pho graciously offered. When I see a person I assume nothing. There is a large African American culture here along with brown Brits, brown people originally from India, their children who are LA natives, Americans with Korean heritage. I could go on forever. Koreatown is a place where everyone LOVES to eat. The food is smashing and Korean-Americans love to share it with people who are unfamiliar because they are proud and think it’s the greatest. Some born here, some not.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Sharing food and cultures is a wonderful thing, and LA, Toronto, NY etc are great this way. On the individual level, though, when you’re outside an ethnic or immigrant enclave and meeting someone in a different context, it’s still problematic to have “where are you from?” as the go-to question. People are more than the foods they bring to a new place, and they’re not bringing their foods for the benefit of others, they’re bringing their foods because that is what they like to eat. Restaurants are often the place many immigrants can get an economic foothold because they are excluded from the system otherwise, their credentials not recognized, etc. My family started with restaurants. They did it out of necessity, not so that the OGs could come in and marvel at the borscht.

    • Tanya says:

      Ha! Los Angeles has never inoculated itself from such behavior. I hate say this but you sound incredibly naive about a city I live in as well.

  35. Amelie says:

    I think I remember your name Kaiser… I won’t say it but I remember a few years back there was some huge guessing game in the comments (not sure how that came about) about your name and you actually revealed it. I didn’t think it was a super sounding Indian name given that their is an actress on a TV show who shares it if it’s the name I’m thinking of (and that was the first time I heard it and that actress is not Indian) but what do I know!

    I will admit to doing the “where are you from?” when I was younger (we are talking high school) but mostly because I’m always curious about people’s origins–even white people. I went to an international school for 9 years in the States and was exposed to many languages, cultures, ethnicities, and religions so I always naturally thought it was interesting to know about people from other countries so naturally one of the first questions i always asked was “Where are you from?” I had a very unique educational experience though that most people did not have though so it was a bit of an international bubble.

    People always ask about my name because it is French (yes my real name is Amelie) and people always ask about the movie and go on some tangent about Paris or their French vacation. Then for whatever reason people feel the need to tell me they learned French in high school but that they can’t remember it. Cool, dude. If I had a dime for every time someone made that comment, I’d be such a rich woman! But obviously it’s not a micro-aggression, it’s just people trying to relate to my French name… but it’s still funny to me.

  36. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    As a light-skinned black Muslim American woman I have experienced this from all sides. I have had white people ask me “what am I?” Because they still havent grasped the concept that black people come in all colors. I have had Arab Muslims question me when I say I am Muslim because I am not Arab and I dont wear hijab (even though arab Muslims only make up 25% of the world’s Muslim population). I have even had fellow Muslims ask me where I was born. When I say “America” they ask where are your parents from and I say “America”. And my favorite of all when I tell a white person that I’m Muslim: “You don’t LOOK Muslim.”

  37. lobbit says:

    Not even a little bit surprised. It’s almost impossible to give folks the benefit of the doubt as far as racism is concerned.

    Anyway, when people ask where I’m from (and they ask All. The. Time), I skip the rigmarole and go straight to my ethnic origins. But going forward, I think I’ll just respond with the name of the (USA) city where I was born and then pull a confused face when pressed for more information. Should be fun!

  38. Anastasia says:

    They made fun of this on Parks and Recreation. Leslie kept asking Tom where he was from and he said “South Carolina.” And she said but really, where are you from? He said my mother’s womb. But where are your parents from? SOUTH CAROLINA.

    Tom’s green card marriage was assumed to be so he could stay in the US, but it was actually for his Canadian wife.

    And another time, Leslie said he was from “Lebanon or somewhere.”

    What was funny about it is that Aziz Ansari really is from South Carolina. And that kind of stuff, of course, has really happened to him.

    • Amelie says:

      I remember this! It was funny but also showed how well-meaning Leslie was so but so clueless when it came to issues POC deal with as an uninformed white woman. As much as I loved her character, they often referred to her tone deafness when it came to race. I seem to remember she often referred to Ann (Rashida Jones’s character) as beautiful but ethnically ambiguous and in reality Rashida Jones is biracial.

  39. Lana says:

    Can I get a tally of all the WOC who have constantly called out the racism of Harry, this dude etc. And have been shut down by some regulars here? People who’ve been given the age excuse. Or “it’s will fault?”
    Where are those posters? Who always have excuses for this behavior?
    RBF is a racist, sexist family. But I’m sure K&M will get more hate for wearing ugly shoes than this dude will get for saying something offensive and racist.

  40. Joannie says:

    My goodness there are some fragile snowflakes on here. Just because someone asks you where you are from doesn’t mean its racist. Canada is a very large country with a few different accents. Sometimes people are just simply curious. And being white, I’ve been subjected to racism too. Its not just white people who are racist. Such a common word that is thrown around way too much these days.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      White people are not subjected to racism, period. This is not what racism is. You can look it up.

      See above for many comments about being “just curious.”

      The word is used because racism is common. Thank goodness we are able to call it out more openly, because it happens a lot and needs to stop.

      • Joannie says:

        You have got to be kidding me!!! Racism will never stop. And white people are subjected to it all the time. I’m asking you if you’re from this planet?

      • Anastasia says:

        Joannie: White people are NOT subjected to racism. White people are the group in power, the oppressors. The group in power is not subject to racism BECAUSE THEY ARE THE GROUP IN POWER.

        Learn some things, open your eyes.

      • joannie says:

        I cannot believe people honestly think because you skin is white you aren’t subjected to racism. Anastasia you need an education. Your comment is so outrageous its laughable. I’m flabbergasted.

      • bcgirl says:

        I’m glad you haven’t experienced racism, but I am white and I have. When I was the only American in the University I went to in Spain, during the first Gulf War, many, many Europeans there simply hated me. despised me. without ever saying one word to me. Then when I was dating an Ethiopian man, one of the great loves of my life, we were refused service sometimes. Let me tell you how that feels. Yes it was hatred directed at both of us. Then, when I moved to Canada 20 years ago, it was during George W’s reign, people would vandalize my car before I changed my plates over to BC plates. They would stick gum all over it, scratch the paint, one time I came out to my car to find it egged, I found the receipt next to my car, they just spur of the moment went in to get eggs to get my WA plates car. So guess what, you’re wrong. Happy for ya though, that you haven’t experienced it! yay for you.

      • bcgirl says:

        I’m obviously over all of that, and I understand it, just stating here that it can happen. People can find all kinds of reasons to hate.

      • Kitten says:

        @bcgirl- Europeans or Canadians being rude to you because you’re an American isn’t racism.

      • MellyMel says:

        Racism is systemic and institutionalized. I think the word you are thinking of Joannie is prejudice. Also the words racism and racist are “thrown around” a lot because there are a lot of racists in this world and racism continues to be a major global issue.

      • bcgirl says:

        Your’e right, it’s not racism. but
        hating someone based on where they come from is ignorant, can we agree on that?

        Refusing service to someone isn’t just being rude. neither is vandalism. more than rude.

        I became a Canadian many years ago now. no longer see myself as American.

      • Kitten says:

        You were treated that way because someone else held a bias that was born out of hatred and/or ignorance, but you weren’t victimized because of your skin color. It’s unfortunate that you went through that, but it is in no way the same as racism.

      • bcgirl says:

        Until you’ve experienced hatred directed at you based on where you came from, you really can’t understand how it feels.

        And I’m sure the NAACP would agree that a biracial couple experiencing refusal of service is not just “people being rude”. Nothing I said detracts from anyone else’s experience of hatred. Hatred knows no boundaries. No one’s experience of it is inconsequential, no matter what colour they are.

        I had a 103 temp today, so I slipped over the word racism. I agree its not racism, but it probably feels pretty damn similar.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      I think you are sounding quite fragile, yourself.

    • HK9 says:

      Joannie, I’m Canadian too, so let me tell you-until you’ve been refused work/shelter or healthcare because you’re white, no you’ve never been subjected to racism. If you felt someone made you feel your ‘whiteness’ wasn’t appreciated, you were subjected to prejudice. One thing I think we could all use a bit more of is being precise with the English language. I’d also love to know where you were subject to prejudice, and how it happens to you all the time? Because judging from your comments, I don’t think it’s because you’re white, I think it’s because you’re not very nice to people.

      • Anastasia says:

        Yes, this. White people often think if they are snubbed in any way, that it’s racism. Please. That’s not racism. Get denied a job because of your skin color, get denied housing or a loan because of your skin color, THAT is racism. Get convicted and imprisoned at 50 times the rate of another color: THAT is racism.

        So ironic that whites like these call other people “fragile snowflakes.” They’re the very definition of it.

        And nope, I’ve never been denied housing, a job, a loan or anything else because of my skin color. If anything, I’ve GOTTEN those things because of my skin color. That’s because I’m white and white people hold the power and institutional racism against POC exists in EVERY single major institution in this country.

      • Rumi says:

        Anastasia you said it so well.
        Joannie, your comment is an example of white fragility.
        You are part of the problem. Open your mind to understanding this basic concept if you say to someone you don’t look like you are from a certain place you are saying you don’t belong here. Its another form of othering.
        I was shopping at a store one time and the sales person said oh you look cosy ( it was super cold and I was bundled up) I said yes it’s pretty windy and cold outside. Her response oh well if you live in Canada, especially Calgary expect cold weather otherwise your welcome to leave. That is what I found laughable and was flabbergasted by her response.
        I’ve lived in different parts of the world and have not come across racism like here. I lived in the US for a while and was quite anxious initially and I can say hands down the people who I met and worked with were some of the most loveliest people I have ever met.

      • Rumi says:

        Sorry forgot to tell add the racist part of the white female manager’s comment to me.
        You are welcome to leave and go back home.

      • Lorelei says:

        Joannie, I’m also white, but you need to take a seat and listen right now. There are 100+ comments from WOC on this very thread, not to mention the author of the post, explaining why this is a problem. I’ve learned so much from the commenters here and you can, too. We are lucky to have such a diverse group of intelligent people right here; please take advantage of it.

    • BeGoneOrangeCheeto says:

      I’m white. And I’m telling you we don’t experience racism. Can we be treated hatefully? Sure. But it’s not the same as racism because we are not marginalized. We have always had the upper hand in the dynamics of power. So, no, reverse racism doesn’t exist.

    • Asiyah says:

      “My goodness there are some fragile snowflakes on here.”

      You being #1, homegirl.

    • Veronica T says:

      Joannie, please read the excellent essay “Unpacking the Knapsack of White Privilege” and try to stop being defensive about the privilege inherent in our skin color. We didn’t invent white privilege – but we have it and with it comes a responsibility to call it out when others are treated as “less than” we are.
      I am blonde and get stereotyped but it’s cause I’m blonde, not that I’m white. That’s prejudice, not racism. Please learn the differences – your dismissal of the experience of people on here is hurtful.

    • Tanya says:

      Joanie, I think others treated you unfairly (in your eyes) because of your mindset, which is not only racist (denial), but willfully obtuse.

      Everyone else: Don’t be a Joanne. Don’t be bitter. Do better.

  41. Lulu says:

    As an American I don’t really see how Charles is wrong here. In America, colonizers took land from the native people and created a country that is built on immigration. That’s not the case in England. In England the native population is still the dominant population. She literally doesn’t look like shes from Manchester because the ones who are from Manchester are white. Am I missing something? It might not be what she wants to hear, but she’s not native to England.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes, you are missing something. Please read the piece by the woman Charles spoke to. She grew up in Manchester. This isn’t about the indigenous peoples of northern England. ; ) As well, saying “she’s not native to England” is saying she as an individual equates to her entire ethnic group – a group, in fact, that is heavily represented in England for centuries because of British imperialism.

      Nope, he spoke to her as an individual and said bluntly that because of her appearance, she doesn’t belong there. He basically said, “Manchester is not a city for people of Indian descent.” And yet it obviously is and has been.

      What he said is very typical of people who think their world should be all white.

      I’ve heard, and my daughter has heard, how we don’t “look Jewish.” This runs along those lines. It’s never funny.

    • MellyMel says:

      I mean really? She’s born and raised in Manchester. Therefore she is “native to England.” How obtuse.

      • Lulu says:

        But no she’s not? Not anymore than I as a non-native American am not native to America. She’s not native to England. She’s an English citizen and therefore has English nationality, but she’s not ethnically English. Idk. Immigration is a touchy subject, but I’m saying he’s factually correct. She doesn’t look like someone from Manchester.

      • Ange says:

        Oh please. She was born in Manchester she’s a native born English person. Just like my lily white grandfather wasn’t born in Australia but his kids were and surprise surprise nobody decided THEY didn’t look like someone from Australia.

    • i, pet goat 2 says:

      The concept of the *nati*on-state is fluid. She is very much a *nati*ve of the England that is today, wasn’t in the past, and won’t be forever.
      But I do suspect you know that.

    • misty says:

      And who do you think colonized her ancestor’s country and tried to colonized half of the planet and forcing them to speak english in the first place? You don’t want people immigrating to the uk, tell your precious royals to stop trying to take over the planet and infecting it with your bland food.

    • Grumpy says:

      The natives of England would be the Welsh and other Celts who were pushed out to the far corners of the British Isles, every other bugger is an immigrant. Anglo Saxons are not natives of England they are immigrants. The Royals are even worse, invaders who came in, in 1066, stole everything and then gave us a bad name as they carried on their invading everywhere else too, using us to do it.

      Plenty of people from Manchester are not white, Manchester is not a white place, it is multi-cultural, very much so.

  42. Case says:

    Not saying it’s the same thing at all, but I have a disability and am asked on the regular in the US “Oh, what happened?” Well, birth happened.

    I don’t know why so many people are so ignorant as to ask about your appearance in such a blunt way — whether its your skin tone or your physical abilities. And in this instance, I can’t even fathom why he’d say such a thing when English cities are just as diverse as any other city. Ridiculous.

  43. Frosty says:

    Pffft! I’m so not about royals right now as I’m reading Inglorious Empire, by Shashi Tharoor.

  44. Sage says:

    Chucks face is flushed in the lead photo. He has the appearance of a heavy drinker.

    That family is ignorant. All of them.

  45. Shannon says:

    It’s one example of white privilege (for those white people who whine about the term). I’m white, and I’m rarely asked where I’m from and, if they do, they mean like which state in the U.S. But I’ve seen it happen when I’m out with friends who are of color. My brother’s wife is Indian, but she was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, and she gets asked that all the time. I don’t get how people don’t see that as rude af. Or maybe they do know it’s rude af and they just don’t care.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      They’ll hide behind the “just curious!” defense.

    • me says:

      Oh man…I hate it when I get asked “so what are you”? I tell them I’m Indian and then I have to hear an hour long conversation about how much they love Indian food and want to know what the best Indian restaurants are. Some people are just being nice, but when all anyone sees is your “ethnicity” and all they want to talk about is me being Indian, it gets real tiresome. I am more than just my culture.

  46. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    On a different take, because of where I was born and raised, mostly Latin, my eldest used to tell everyone I was Mexican and that he was too. I didn’t know this was happening until attending school functions. Parents and teachers approached me quizzically then would quite literally breathe sighs of relief after speaking with me (my son and I are whiter than Casper). Their relief is what irritated me. Wtf? I found myself wishing I could honestly tell them different. There are so many slight subtleties that exist daily and go unchallenged that I feel it’s my duty to speak up. But, of course, by all means, go back to your PTA bake sale and auction patting yourselves on your backs.

  47. HannahF says:

    Re: prejudice and assumptions. I had a boss who, on more than one occasion asked whether my family celebrated the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. My dad is a Holocaust Survivor and my maternal grandparents fled Nazi Germany when my mom was a little baby. So yeah, my family celebrated the freedoms most of us take for granted.

  48. Eileen says:

    I am sorry anyone has to suffer through hearing ignorant and racist comments,ever and especially any commenters on here including Kaiser. I’m shocked Charles was so stupid to say such a thing,sigh.

  49. PALady says:

    Yup… happens alll the time..

  50. MellyMel says:

    I’ve never been asked where I’m from, at least not in a racist way, but I’ve gotten “what are you?” my entire life. It’s incredibly rude.

  51. crazydaisy says:

    Considering his father’s country of origin, one could say Charles is from Germany. Such a touchy topic. I once told a woman from Ireland that I was half Irish and she got all You Americans are so obsessed about where you are “from!” with me. Well, the whole US is a country of immigrants, and perhaps England is, too. It’s natural to be curious about a person’s family of origin, similarly it’s natural to be curious about their ethnic or regional background. That curiosity doesn’t make a person racist…but there are stupid ways to ask, and Charles clearly showed a supreme level of ignorance with this comment.

    • Ange says:

      To be fair a lot of Americans claim they are half Irish or German or whatever and it’s like…. well it’s not like Irish or German is really a race. You can say you have descendants from there but you can’t be half a culture (and usually you see people saying it who have been in America for several generations yet ‘oh, I’m Irish!). I’ve seen people who’ve never even been to the country they’re claiming they’re from! And to say it to someone who is actually from there… oof.

    • misty says:

      Exactly, and even the brits aren’t full “natives” they are a mix of celtic, anglos, saxons, roman, normans, bretons, etc…

    • crazydaisy says:

      I think the best answer to the question “Where are you from?” might be “Why do you ask?” Put the ball back in their court. Tribalistic and binary thinking are still the norm. Some askers may be unaware they are pushing buttons with their “curiosity”.

  52. Jensays says:

    Ughhh this makes me so sad. Like – when will people learn that this is not an approprite question to ask random people they meet. I am half white and it’s surprisingly how many times I’ve been asked “where are you from” … I was in line at disneyworld for a pretzel one time and this older gentleman and his wife came up to my sister and I and asked us the “where are you from??” Question- I think he meant it as a compliment. And the. My sister responded “the United States” and the old man’s wife chuckled and asked “no- really?” And then my sister said “California”. And then one said “ we’ll before that…”.
    My sister and I just sort of looked at each other perplexed because we were born in California that’s where we are from. I can say that we generally only get those types of questions outside of southern ca and generally by older people but like… it needs to stop.

  53. Islandgirl1 says:

    Longtime lurker here. Does anyone know how Sixer is doing? I always loved her knowledgeable comments about Britland, but she hasn’t posted in a long time that I’ve seen.

  54. Andreia says:

    I am a white women and I get asked what are you, where are you from or whats your background all the time. I think most of the time its innocent. In fact growing up I always used to say my background before my nationality. Its only now as an adult that I say my nationality then background. Where I was raised most people are immigrants or first generation. Its a common question.

  55. Jenny says:

    Passing the crown to the next generation after Charles wouldn’t help much – am I the only one who still remembers how Harry dressed up in a Nazi uniform and went to a masquerade ball or something with a “colonial” theme? I don’t know which is more disgusting, that the British upper class holds “colonial” themed masquerades, still, or that he went to one and dressed up as a Nazi. Can’t imagine William is much better.

  56. Lyla says:

    Ahhh…the classic “Where are you from” or “what are you?” I don’t get the “what are you as often,” but next time my answer will be “a princess”. Duh. So I’m mixed (Brit, French, and Thai) and I get the “you’re so exotic” a lot. I’ve had people asked me if I’m Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Philippino, Czech, Hawaiian, Latin, etc. I was born and raised (mainly) in LA, and growing up I actually never had anyone asked me what I am or where I’m from, just because it’s LA and it’s so multicultural. Then in middle school we moved to the Midwest because of my parent’s job and I remember a girl in my math class asked me where I was from. Naturally, I said LA. She asked me again, and I remembered thinking to myself “oh, she doesn’t know where LA is” so I said California. Of course she still wasn’t statisfied and asked where I was REALLY from. And I told her, I was born in LA. I thought she was just asking cause I was the new kid, but she was asking cause I was the only kid in the grade that wasn’t “purely” white. Let’s just say, I was so happy to move back to California. I don’t hear the “Where are you from” questions as often, but it’s probably because I mostly split my time between nyc and SoCal. People do ask, but they’re usually satisfied when I answer California. You can usually tell when people are genuinely curious about your background, want to know where you grew up, or just trying to other you. Its always a bit weird when you’re mixed or a first or second gen, I think. You’re in this kind of a limbo where you don’t necessarily fit in. I was recently back to the UK, and a guy asked me where I was from. Naturally, I say California, and of course that wasn’t the answer he was looking for and asked what I was mixed with. I could have told him that I was part Brit, but that’s not the he wanted to know. He wanted to know what the “other” part was, not the white part. I’ve had the same question posed to me in France and Thailand, whilst speaking the French and Thai, respectively. My last name is Thai and I once had a teacher tell me that I need to marry a guy with the last name Brown or something. The thing is, my name is eight letters long (2 syllables), it really isn’t that hard. I also had someone (a naturalized citizen herself), tell me that despite being born here and having lived here for the majority of my life, I am not an American, I’m a hyphenated American because I’m not white enough. I told her that the United States is an immigrant nation and that anyone born or naturalized is just as American as the the whitest of white American she can think. It’s one of the reason I was pissed when the USCIS took the “nation of immigrants” part out of their mission statement.

  57. Wisdomheaven says:

    As someone who is racially ambiguous but still brown, I get asked the “what are you” and “where are you from” ALL THE DAMN TIME. And I live in a very progressive US city.

    Some of the most wild and out experience with racism I have had have been in supposedly progressive cities. I will forever hate Boston, where I went to school, because of how bold the racists are there. When I was living in the UK I was called everything from “black whore” to “paki” and had an British toff lecture me on the wonders of colonialism and why people like me should be grateful for the civilizing effect. Yay Oxford!

    So yeah, Charles comments don’t surprise me a damn bit. It goes to show you that in his head, and many Brits of all ages, to be British is to be white. Period. Meghan being black/biracial won’t change that right away, but it will help in the long run to have someone who isn’t white being a state representative for the UK. Same with the likes of Sadiq Khan being mayor of London. Representation matters.

    Also, people who claim they thought Meghan was white also make me roll my eyes. I saw her and I knew she was black. I have cousins with two black parents who look like her. Most black people I knew or POC knew she was a POC on Suits.

    I adore Harry, but have never and will never excuse his racist comments. I do think he has grown up though and is more aware and educated. A lot of POC follow Harry despite his comments, but the excuses given here sometimes for his past behaviour are eye rolling. Harry alone made the decisions he did and thus was held accountable. Doesn’t matter who supposedly goaded him on.

  58. xx says:

    Few years back, I had gone to lunch with my advisor and during lunch he asked me why did my parents and I moved to USA if they had good jobs in India (I was in my teens when we moved to USA). I felt that comment was so obtuse. I had to explain to him that my parents came so my siblings and I can have better opportunities. I asked him why did his family move to USA and he said oh his great-grand parents or grandparents (don’t remember which) were Jewish and they were being exiled.

    By the way, this is in Chicago in a public university where we have students and professors from all over the world and people from all different backgrounds and color.

  59. Lisa says:

    Um, did you forget about a little thing called colonization, you bloody walnut?

  60. porcupette says:

    I do not by any means wish to indicate in any way that Prince Charles, like every super-rich ultra-spoiled upper-class white person of his age and time, is not a vessel chock full of discriminatory horseshit. But god strike me dead, I read this as not, “What! You’re not white, you must have come from somewhere else,” but as a diss on Manchester. “What! You are way too attractive to come from there.” With the British, class snobbery and it’s sucker fish, north south snobbery, always takes up ⅔ of the frontal brain space.

    Of course, once it popped out of his mouth that way, it was both.

    And the Daily Mail is scum.

    • porcupette says:

      Nor to excuse or exonerate him in any way; he needs to do better.

      But while white chauvinism oozes out of all of us who have grown up bombarded and surrounded by profoundly racist and discriminatory societies and media, and because of their mad lucrative and successful super-exploitation of the entire world, this goes triple for the UK & USA. But the fuel for the nurture and maintenance of social and legal discrimination as some kind of acceptable in decent society, it is not the tiny tippy top of the UK aristocracy (ok Princess Michael I see you), it is concentrated amongst the politicians, the financiers, the Tory Party, the big businessmen, the small businessmen, the Tory Party, the gutter press, the hustlers, the kleptocrats, the Tory Party, the money launderers, the real estate sharks, the Tory Party, the sports and fashion, marketing and media grifters, and some of the abandoned degraded and desperate British people. And the Tory Party.

      Remember Windrush.

      • porcupette says:

        The UK government is hunting British people. It is targeting, impoverishing, denying health care, arresting, shackling, and deporting life-long residents, splitting up families, with special concentration on non white people. The Tory government is trying to force the entire fabric of British society –– all of civic and cultural life, health care, social services, schools, public offices, policemen, sports and parks workers, post men, librarians! to operate as the government’s very own unpaid secret police, turning in all suspected “suspects,” to be at least interrogated and detained by the border police, and potentially far worse.

        This is monstrous. This shoots past micro- and macro-aggression straight into this is how the fascists operated land.

  61. Miasys says:

    This ish right here is why I volunteer with cats and not people. Please let this blow up in his face, big time, so it can be a teachable moment. Maybe not for this old racist bastard, who clearly gives zero f*cks, but for the rest of humanity. I spent the first 25 years of my life with a Hispanic last name, enduring all kinds of overt & passive racism like this. He’s vile & deserves to be called out.

  62. PamelaRose says:

    Reading through these comments, it’s hard not to assume that the experiences that commenters have shared are all POC receiving “microagressions” at the hands of white people. But it’s important to point out that every race is just as culpable in being aggressive towards other races. As a biracial woman, a good portion of my experiences have been at the hands of other POC. People don’t like to talk about this, but, there are many POC that believe they are superior to other POC.

    A few comments up, I feel like people automatically shut down any white commenters who said that they have also experienced subtle racism in their lives. I think that’s unfair. People have a right to their own experience, and the way people shut them down, is similar to the way white people shut down POC anytime they want to share their experience.

    • misty says:

      No it’s not, because white people cannot experience racism. Unless they want to comment on when they did it to someone else and that they want to learn to be better then it shouldn’t really matter. White comments being corrected is not the same as poc being racist towards themselves.

    • CairinaCat says:

      There is an academic theory which claims that racist structures are hidden in the institutional and social system of a country. That theory then claims that all poc experience racism in such a country. This theory has some merit, yep, it does. And it is very useful for trying to find these hidden racist structures. But today that theory is being abused by some people claiming that this theory made it impossible for white people to become victims of racism. Such an interpretation of this theory wrongfully expands the scope of that theory. That theory merely states that the institutional and social system of a country can contain hidden racist structures. But the theory doesn’t claim that:

      a) other forms of racism weren’t possible. Racism in structures would have to be the only type of existing racism in order to deny that white people could become victims of racism.

      b) the theory doesn’t claim poc were never racists themselves. It merely states that all poc are victims of the hidden racists structures of the system. Of course you can be both a victim of a crime while being an offender of the same crime.

  63. Sunny says:

    We all need to remember that Windsors have a lot of German blood in them (first Hanovers-basically a German dynasty on the throne, then they were Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, then they renamed themselves into Windsors).

    So Charles has some nerve to say somebody doesn’t look like he/she is from Manchester, when he himself and his whole royal family are not exactly pure-blooded Englishmen either.

  64. CairinaCat says:

    My my calm down. About 15% of all people in Britain are foreign born / immigrants. Or in other words: 85% are white british. It is statistically reasonable to expect a British person to be white. So why wouldn’t you expect that an indian-looking person is asked where she is from while the context of that question is Commonwealth Day?

    If I ask a white person where he/she is from — this is okay.
    If I ask a poc person where he/she is from — this is okay, too.

  65. Saks says:

    “ I guarantee every brown person in America and Britain has a story like that.”
    Yep… I’ve been straight up asked if I’m in the country legally

  66. ash says:

    i really think we have to start taking ethnic harassment or improprieties as serious as a sexual harassment…. because as a woman of color and people of color we experience both sometime parallel sometimes separate ….so no i dont think charles should be ruler off this … because when he gets in power power he will focus on (WHITE) british matters and not on the various other brown and black and other british people of color.