At the Intersection of Mental Health and Race like many, I watched with much interest Prince Harry; his wife, the Duchess of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey.
The Meghan-Harry interview stole the show from my one-woman living room couch with a cup of tea and comfy pajamas – a favorite Sunday evening attire often gifted to friends by Oprah. Uhhh…NO, Oprah did not “gift” me the pajamas I rocked for the occasion but the thought of connecting with the Queen of Talk in a special way was good enough for a night we continue to discuss.
Meghan – stunningly beautiful in black with baby bump in tow after an air hug with Oprah – took her seat and the camera rolled. “What an exciting time in her life,” I thought or “maybe not?”
The two hours with Oprah were more than one could imagine. Thoughts, feelings and explosive revelations were shared. Pangs and past hurts were unveiled including a fraught relationship between the British Royal Family and the couple. Amongst the biggest “take always” included:
– Meghan’s discussion on her contemplative suicide thoughts and mental health challenges.
– Racial attacks Meghan experienced.
– How Baby Archie’s “dark skin color tone might be received.” (Discussions occurred before Archie’s birth.)
– The lack of protection Meghan received.
– How Harry saw and experienced racism differently after marrying a Black woman.
For this mental health wellness counselor and antiracist researcher-educator, the interview presented the profound intersection of two worlds I love and live for daily – the eradication of racism and demystification of mental health. The interview brought to light what many have begun to get a glimpse of albeit a story well understood by brown and black people – Racism exists, For REAL.
Racism around the world is real. Racism in these United States and the world will not go away as facets opt to “wish it away and/or choose to ignore it.”
Covert messages laced in truth, the Meghan-Harry interview brought to light secrets of hierarchy, privilege and heredity steeped in an ugly recurring thread and the power of whiteness. The couple’s sharing (their truth) invited the need to unveil the “ugly” in systems to maintain a façade for participants to know their place. It appears to have unveiled the underpinnings of how powerful The Firm is; an all-white establishment, its people and history covered in secrecy, lies and a lifelong cover up presented in properness with pomp and circumstance.
Distancing and “space” as Prince Harry called it between the two brothers (Harry and William) appears to be the only answer – for now. A relationship with Prince Charles; their Dad still uncertain as the “King apparent” and son appear to be estranged.
Just wondering…did any of the interview and life shared appear to be a repeat of what Diana Spencer experienced?
Through it all, I am reminded of the words by the esteemed sociologist W.E.B. DuBois: “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.” The problem; however, still being faced, is the same issue yet we are now in the 21st century.
The idea of colorism, including racism and the realization of what it means to be black or brown even TODAY having watched the interview further lifts the lid. The explosive interview viewed by 17 million with the aftermath and fallout yet to come has us all talking.
Where, I ask, do we go next?
Committed to demystifying the issues of mental health and eradicating the ugly ism, racism, I am proud of the interview Oprah delivered. Moreover, I am happy to know and see the bravery it took for Prince Harry and Meghan to speak up.
While Pandora’s Box is open, it is most fitting to note; it is our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who will benefit most – theirs, yours and ours if at this moment we continue talking. Dismantling systems and replacing with a new narrative – not easy yet, the truth, the whole truth and nothing less frees all of us.
Teaching our children about race – a must. Having the race conversation – start TODAY.
As this interview has demonstrated, suicidal ideation knows no boundaries like social status or wealth. If you are experiencing thoughts, please contact the Suicide Hotline. You’re not alone.
Let’s Talk Race with our Kids – the 6-week Workshop, starts May 2021.