The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, has called out people who make racist criticisms describing their actions as “unconscious bias”. He further explained that those who engage in it do “something which so many people don’t understand.”
The Duke’s statement which has sparked debates could be interpreted as a passionate defence of his wife, the American-born, mixed-race former actress, Meghan Markle, who has been subject to sexist and racist abuse.
Markle has been on the receiving end of a lot of racist statements and comments even from President Donald Trump, particularly right before and after she got married to the Duke of Sussex in May 2018.
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Speaking about unconscious bias, or how we are wired to think the way we do, the 34-year-old Prince said racist views were caused by the environment that people were brought up in, with many failing to understand their origins.
This was part of an interview with conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, which will be published in the September edition of the British Vogue guest-edited by the Duchess of Sussex.
He described “unconscious bias” as something that was “learned from the older generation, or from advertising, from your environment”. It is also any detectable bias in our attitudes or behaviour that operates outside of our awareness.
The subject arose during a discussion about children – and whether they can be born angry or learn to hate.
Dr Goodall said: “[Children] don’t notice, ‘My skin’s white, mine’s black,’ until somebody tells them.”
Harry responded: “It’s the same as an unconscious bias – something which so many people don’t understand why they feel the way that they do.
“Unless we acknowledge we are part of this cycle, then we’re always going to be fighting against it”. He added: “You can only be taught to hate.”
Earlier this year, a 19-year-old Neo-Nazi teenager, Michal Szewczuk, was found guilty after he wrote an “extremely violent and aggressively misogynistic” blog which attempted to justify the rape of women and children in the pursuit of an Aryan race.
In 2018, a BBC investigation revealed how Szewczuk had made media posts accusing Prince Harry of being a “race traitor”. The post appeared on social media with an edited image of the Duke with a gun to his head and red bloodstained background as well as a swastika symbol.
His “See Ya Later Race Traitor” post was just months before Harry married Meghan, whose mother is African American.