"I'm bi-racial. Most people can’t tell what I'm mixed with, and so much of my life has felt like being a fly on the wall," Meghan said in a 2012 campaign

By Stephanie Petit
June 02, 2020 12:00 PM
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Meghan Markle spoke candidly about her unique experiences with racism in a 2012 campaign that has resurfaced in the wake of George Floyd's death.

As an actress on the USA show Suits, Meghan participated in the "I Won’t Stand For…" campaign as part of the charity Erase the Hate. In the video, she wears a T-shirt with the words "I Won't Stand For Racism" as she opens up about being biracial.

"I'm biracial. Most people can’t tell what I'm mixed with, and so much of my life has felt like being a fly on the wall," Meghan said. "And so some of the slurs I've heard or the really offensive jokes, or the names, it's just hit me in a really strong way."

She continued by bringing up an experience with her mother, Doria Ragland.

Meghan Markle
Karwai Tang/WireImage

"You know, a couple of years ago I heard someone call my mom the N-word. So I think for me, beyond being personally affected by racism, just to see the landscape of what our country is like right now, certainly the world, and to want things to be better," she continued.

Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland
Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Meghan went on to say that people are often treated based on how they look, but "certain people don’t look at me and see me as a black woman or a biracial woman."

"They treat me differently I think than they would if they knew what I was mixed with and I think that is, I don’t know, it can be a struggle as much as it can be a good thing depending on the people that you’re dealing with," she said.

Meghan Markle
Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Meghan, who recently relocated to her hometown of Los Angeles with husband Prince Harry and 1-year-old son Archie, said leaving L.A. was like "leaving this bubble" where she didn't experience much "close-mindedness."

"I think that in doing that it really opened my eyes to a mentality that still exists that I thought was backdated to the days of when my grandfather moved our family from Cleveland to L.A., and they drove across the country and to stop and get food, whatever kind of place they were going to, and they had to go round the back to get food for the family," she said. "You know, I thought that was really isolated to those days that we were past, and sadly they're not."

Meghan Markle and Archie
The Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK

"I am really proud of my heritage on both sides. I'm really proud of where I've come from and where I'm going," Meghan concluded. "But yeah, I hope that by the time I have children that people are even more open-minded to how things are changing and that having a mixed world is what it's all about. I mean, certainly, it makes it a lot more beautiful and a lot more interesting."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
CNN

Concerns of racism were addressed by Prince Harry in November 2016, when the royal issued a rare public statement criticizing the press for subjecting his then-girlfriend Meghan to "a wave of abuse and harassment."

"Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” the statement read. "Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her."

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Meghan herself also spoke out about the abuse, calling it "disheartening" during the couple’s engagement interview.

"You know it’s a shame that is the climate in this world to focus that much on that . . . but I think, you know, at the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that," she said. "We have just focused on who we are as a couple."

During Meghan and Harry's tour to South Africa last fall, the Duchess of Sussex proudly spoke about her Black heritage.

“On one personal note, may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister,” she said to cheers from the crowd. “I am here with you, and I am here for you."