Prince Harry: ‘Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic’

Prince Harry launches new partnership Photo: Albert Nieboer / Netherlands OUT / Point de Vue OUT

Yesterday was Princess Diana’s 59th birthday. There were only a handful of articles about Diana, which I was somewhat grateful for, except that I know that most magazines and papers prefer to publish their bigger Diana stories for the anniversary of her death. For years, Prince Harry has done different things to mark his mother’s birthday and the anniversary of her death, almost all of it privately. On Wednesday, however, he decided to send in a video for the Diana Awards, which were holding a virtual ceremony on Zoom. Here’s the video:

This isn’t Harry-specific, but I’m getting SO tired of the poor-quality videos! We have all of this technology, all of these fancy camera phones and such, and every video during the pandemic has been some blurry, pixelated mess! Anyway, I love what Harry said here and I like that he was filmed from the waist up, because you 100% know that man paired his favorite grey blazer with a pair of Hawaiian-print swim trunks. Harry said:

“I am so incredibly proud to be part of these awards, as they honor the legacy of my mother and bring out the very best in people like you. You all are doing such incredible work, and at a time of great uncertainty, you have found the power and inspiration inside of you to make a positive mark on the world. And I love that The Diana Award is able to help you do it.

“I know that my mother has been an inspiration to many of you, and I can assure you she would have been fighting in your corner. Like many of you, she never took the easy route or the popular one or the comfortable one. But she stood for something, and she stood up for people who needed it. Right now, we are seeing situations around the world where division, isolation, and anger are dominating, as pain and trauma come to the surface. But I see the greatest hope in people like you, and I’m confident about the world’s future and its ability to heal, because it is in your hands.”

“My wife said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven’t done enough to right the wrongs of the past. I, too, am sorry—sorry that we haven’t got the world to a place you deserve it to be. Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic. Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you. I want you to know that we are committed to being part of the solution and to being part of the change that you are all leading.” Before handing the mic over, he concluded, “Now is the time, and we know that you can do it.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

“Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic.” HE SAID THAT WITH HIS WHOLE CHEST. Harry has seen it! His eyes were opened! And you know what? I maintain that Harry was already on this woke journey before he even met Meghan. I think Harry got to his 30s and he really decided to educate himself on all levels. That was part of the reason why he fell so hard for Meghan: because he had already been doing the work to improve himself for years, and he was open to what Meghan had to offer him.

Prince Harry visits the Black Prince Trust in Lambeth

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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39 Responses to “Prince Harry: ‘Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic’”

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  1. Faye says:

    He’s right.

    Harry has matured and learned from his pass bad behavior and understands that unconscious bias is real just from his own experiences.

  2. VS says:

    He is right; in the US at least it is talked about…….in his own country, his wife is being blamed for him saying that!
    After what Meghan has had to endure for this man, I hope he realizes how lucky he is to have a woman as smart as her as his wife!

  3. Priscila Bezerra-Fischer says:

    The Nazi outfit and the Las Vegas incident, years apart, might have been events that Harry looked back, with more wisdom, and cringed…

    Shame often brings internal growth and is a sign a person has not lost all empathy.

    I doubt William feels any slight hint of shame for nor assisting his brother and SIL when they were struggling. I know that because they keep pushing this victim blaming narrative.

    • Erinn says:

      I suspect it was more around 2008/2009ish – the comments he made about Stephen Amos – that happened about a month after the racial slur incident as well. Two big things like that covered by the media only a short time apart, probably would have triggered some reflection (I’d hope).

      He does seem to have grown a good deal since then. I’m sure he has plenty more learning to do (most of us do) but he seems to have at least understood at some point the issue with what he had been saying.

    • Tessa says:

      And there was WIlliam having a politically incorrect Colonial Africa themed party and nobody batted an eyelash over it in the media.

      • SomeChick says:

        Right, the party at which FFK William wore blackface!

      • Mtec says:

        @Somechick @Tessa
        Y’all have a link? I was trying to find an article that mentions the colonial parties and Will in blackface, but I’ve never seen it.

      • Nic919 says:

        The articles don’t say the word blackface. They say he was dressed as a Zulu chief. Constantly protected by the media. But this is a guy who is okay with having a painting of a young black slave in his living room.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        The costume party in question was called “colonial and natives”, which says a lot about the social set that William runs in.

    • Alyse says:

      The Vegas incident didn’t have anything racist happening did it? I thought it was more of a hard-partying scandal? (I may remember wrong though)

  4. Jay says:

    Huh, didn’t anyone tell him that William declared racism so over with his “woke” Bafta speech? Everybody’s “bored” with racism now, sorry Harry!

    Seriously, though, I love that Harry is invoking his mother’s activism and his wife’s words with such pride. You can tell he believes what he says.

  5. S808 says:

    Everyone says brings up him wearing that nazi uniform years ago as some slam dunk as to why he shouldn’t be talking when it’s a great reason to be talking imo. He chose to grow from that and be better, not with empty words but with action. And he’s seen that racism play out firsthand with the treatment of his wife. It’s said a lot of brits seemed to prefer the drunken, racist party boy he used to be and not the well rounded man and father he is now.

    • taylor says:

      yeah, they use his past actions as some sort of ‘gotcha,’ yet that was the harry they loved. what does it say about them? also, this is such a mild, inoffensive acknowledgement of racism in society. i never realized the uk was so right wing that even praising anti-racism was somehow unbecoming of a person.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Yes, many of them prefer the narrative of the usually drunk, occasionally outrageous spare a la Princess Margaret as a foil for heir who “never puts a foot wrong.” That narrative was never going to give Harry any room to grow as a person, though.

  6. Abby says:

    Love this. He seems like he’s grown and matured a lot.

  7. Margareth says:

    Princess Diana would have been so proud of Harry. He has her spirit.

    • L84Tea says:

      Harry is 100% Diana2.0

    • Babz says:

      Someone on Twitter last night said that the Harry of today has become all the best parts of Diana. I totally agree. What those three – Diana, Harry, and Meghan – could’ve accomplished if she were still here. And if she were still here, she might have been able to check her eldest and his wife. Harry may refer to himself as Diana’s second son, but he is definitely Diana’s son and legacy.

  8. morrigan01 says:

    The Obamas, especially Michelle, don’t suffer fools. And when I saw the genuine friendship Harry developed with, not just Barack, but with Michelle specifically, I *knew* he clearly had grown, learned and *changed* from that stupid teen who wore a Nazi uniform to a party all those years ago. And this was all a few years before he ever met Meghan.

    If he had never changed and had still been that dumb, ignorant teen when it came to these issues, that real friendship with the Obamas would have never happened; and I have no doubt that that first blind date with Meghan would have been all there was wrt any possible relationship between them

    That you have so many Brits on twitter saying, with their whole chest, that they prefer the Nazi Uniform wearing, racist, ignorant party-boy Harry to *this* Harry says it all really.

    • Nic919 says:

      So many comments that Harry used to be more fun when he was more racist. Says a lot about the British who like that version of him… and proves Harry’s point on institutional racism perfectly.

  9. Becks1 says:

    I definitely think he was already on this journey when he met Meghan. I don’t think she would have fallen in love with him otherwise. I think she helped him though and certainly now he has seen how racism “works” and that it doesn’t just mean racial slurs or signs saying “whites only.” I think once white people realize that, it goes a long way to getting us to a point of being anti-racist. I know so many white people who think that everything is just fine and they aren’t racist because they have never said the n-word, but they don’t realize that often discussions about “good schools” are racist as well.

    People are SO MAD about this speech though and its hilarious to me. Saying that systemic racism is endemic and that it has no place in our society…..should not be controversial.

    • Harla says:

      I agree, Harry was on his journey but lacked the support he needed from his family and some of his friends. I know from experience that coming into contact with someone who is living a life that you want for yourself and having their support and encouragement can have a profound effect. I am so thrilled that Harry and Meghan found each other, fell in love and committed themselves, as individuals and as a couple, to supporting and encouraging others who also want to live their best life.

  10. JJ McClay says:

    I always feel a bit uncomfortable when people invoke his mother’s name…. but gee she must be proud. What a journey of growth Harry has been on, what a great example of changing one’s own narrative, what an excellent role model for other leaders and public figures when it comes to speaking up for what you believe in. Also, he seems like such a great dad and husband… I truly think Diana would be so proud.

    • Tessa says:

      Harry has a lot of courage.

    • Harla says:

      I think that Harry or William can invoke their mother’s name but I’m certainly uncomfortable when the anyone else, especially the tabloids, does.

  11. Ginger says:

    I’m really proud of Harry. He is a good man.

  12. Sofia says:

    He’s shown a lot of growth over the last few years or so which should be acknowledged. Harry has a long way to go but he’s on the right path, making the right choices.

  13. Thirtynine says:

    I love that intensity and passion he brings to his work; he’s not just talk, he’s out there actively working to make the world a better place. Respect and admiration from me. So glad he met his match and has his little family who love him.

  14. TheOriginalMia says:

    Really proud of Harry. He has grown leaps and bounds. He was on this journey before he met Meghan, though. She helps him and centers him and supports him on his journey. It’s a wonderful thing to see. They met at the absolute right moment in time for both of them. Diana would be so proud of him and I believe she would love Meghan.

    • Babz says:

      There’s a wishful part of me that would like to believe that Diana sent her boy exactly who he needed, exactly when he needed her. Their story came together far too perfectly for it to have been coincidence. Sometimes you can look at a couple and know they were meant to be together, and that’s what I think when I see them. We should all be so blessed to have a love like that.

  15. paddingtonjr says:

    I do think Diana would have been proud of Harry and would have loved Meghan, if only for her commitment to causes that are important to her and her obvious love of Harry and desire to encourage him to be his own person. I think he has grown up very nicely and tried to move on from mistakes. Of course many people miss the “old fun-loving Harry”; he made William, and later Kate. look good. But those people haven’t been paying attention: Harry matured with life experiences and was already on his path to self-improvement long before he met Meghan. I love to see how happy and proud he is with her; he seems to be one of the few members of his family not worried about being “overshadowed” or “outworked.” They encourage and support each other and just seem incredibly in love and content with their life with Archie in LA. I think Diana would be happy to see the life H&M have created for themselves and their joint continued commitment to trying to make the world a better place.

    I do have to say that I teared up a little at Harry’s speech (hormones, quarantine, who knows) because I couldn’t help thinking how Diana would enjoy being a mother-in-law and grandmother and would have loved being able to go to LA to spend time with the Sussexes. This is based solely on what I have gleaned from the press, books and gossip sites, but I think she and Doria would be good in-laws.

  16. LaraW" says:

    I think the quality of the video has more to do with Zoom than the cameras taking it. The recording of Meghan reading to Archie had very good audio and image resolution.

  17. L4frimaire says:

    Good for Harry! This man is being a grown up and really trying to learn and I prove. Man the girls in the UK are mad. So many people leaning in hard to their racism, calling him a traitor. It’s all Meghan’s fault of course. I don’t know what’s going on over there but that country is not ready.

  18. Rani says:

    So leave the titles and the Royal Family behind Harry, which is a huge symbol of empire, colonialism and racism. Please don’t yell at me good people of CB, I’m not saying this in a hostile to Harry manner. I also don’t think he needs to be praised to the skies for his words. But I’m also not saying he should shut up, maybe it’s helpful for white people and the establishment to hear from someone like him. I’d rather hear from his wife though!

    • FicklePickle says:

      He actually can’t legally get rid of the titles. The Peerage Act of 1963 only permits an entitled person to disclaim their titles if a.) it has been less than one year since they inherited them, b.) it has been less than one year since the passage of the piece of legislation in question, or else c.) they inherited when under the age of 21, in which case the deadline is their 22nd birthday. It also doesn’t say anything about disclaiming titles which were personally bestowed instead of inherited, which might mean that if you accept a title you can’t get rid of it…

      Oh, and disclaiming your title only puts the titles into abeyance for the duration of your lifespan, and upon your death the title passes on to your heir as though nothing had ever happened. So yes, eternal family curse.

    • L4frimaire says:

      @Rani, I completely disagree. While it is very important for people like Meghan and other Black people to continue to speak truth to power and keep the pressure on, too often the burden to fix racism falls on those who are victims of it. They did not put these structures in place and certainly don’t benefit from it. It is important for whites to speak up and be allies. They often are the ones who can implement real structural change, whether through the law or executive suites. People of color can’t do it alone. How many times have we seen police killing Black men and protests. This time, for some reason got many whites to finally see, and listen. The reason so many are angry with Harry is because he is a part of these institutions and have benefited from these systems, and are more likely to be listened to by those in the establishment. It can make a difference, even if kicking and screaming. When people of color speak up about Meghan’s treatment, or racism in general, it is very often dismissed as exaggerating, playing the victim,etc. While I too would rather hear from his wife, unfortunately a lot of people will not give ti the same weight as him. Sad but true.

      • Rani says:

        @L4frimaire, I agree with everything you say. I do want white people to be our allies. I even acknowledged that people might listen more to someone like Harry because of who he is. But I’m not talking about all white people, I’m just finding it absurd that you’re talking about institutionalised racism and you’re still part of the Royal family. I don’t want to hear from any member of the Royal family about that unless they’re ready to give up their titles. Obviously Meghan being the exception since we know she has directly been a victim of institutionalised racism, title or no title.
        Also I’m objecting to people praising him to the skies for this. I’m not against him, I think he’s going good but come on.

  19. blunt talker says:

    MY heart pounded when I heard his statement on this matter. He truly is coming into a man who knows what he truly feels and wants in life. Yea, his mother would be extremely proud of his growth. She would see he is not the backwards young man he once was. If Great Britain citizens are saying vile things about what he said-that reflects on them as a people and shows the backwards thinking. They are still stuck on stupid and cannot come into the real world to make it better. May God continue to bless Harry, Meghan, and Archie and keep them safe.

  20. anotherlily says:

    The Telegraph has a piece explaining that Meghan’s case against the Mail will reveal details about the institution of ‘The Palace’ rather than about the royal family. What the Mail is reporting as personal allegations is in reality her lawyers’ response to questions raised by the Mail’s lawyers. Meghan felt unprotected by the culture and working practices of what is in effect the royal department of government.

    When Harry speaks about institutional racism his experience includes the way his wife has been treated by the institution of The Palace. He’s confirming that royal officials are working within a culture of racism. The Palace is institutionally racist.