Dear Black People, Stop Celebrating Meghan Markle And Her Royal Wedding

Dear Black People, Stop Celebrating Meghan Markle And Her Royal Wedding

No, she is not the "first Black princess," and no, she hasn't done anything to help our race.
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"Bleh." That's how I've felt (and continue to feel) about all royal weddings. From celebrities to duchesses, I've never understood why people are so obsessed with watching random couples get married. They sit in front of their TVs watching every second of these televised weddings, scroll their Instagram TLs to look for exclusive photos, check Twitter to join in on the conversation.

And for the life of me, I can't understand what enjoyment they get out of it.

As a U.S. citizen, pardon me for not giving a fuck about the royal lineages in Britain. As an individual who doesn't idolize or live vicariously through famous people, pardon me for having not given a fuck about the highly publicized weddings of Kim & Khloe Kardashian, Gucci Mane, or Nene Leakes (but let's be honest, did anyone care about that wedding?)

To be fair, however, this year's royal wedding was a little bit more interesting: Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, is a half-Black woman, making her the first Black woman to enter the royal family.

OK, OK. I can see why some people would want to see that, or bash it (cough, cough, Katie Hopkins). So many Black people are exalting Meghan and basking in the feeling of honorary achievement. And for the life of me, I can't understand why. They're calling her the "first Black princess" and exclaiming that she's made strides for Black women everywhere.

First of all, Black people need to stop equating White society to success, wealth, and happiness. Sure, the royal family is loaded and has a lot of power, but Blacks are placing Meghan's marriage above the achievements of other Blacks such as James Shaw Jr., who risked his life to disarm a crazed shooter at a local Waffle House. Or Captain Rachelle Jones, who along with Stephanie Grant and Diana Galloway, led the first flight comprised of an entirely African-American female crew. Or Stacey Abrams, who has recently won the GA Democratic primary, earning her the chance to become the first Black woman governor of Georgia.

Why are we not exalting these people just as much? Why are their accomplishments not seen as game-changing? Is it because Meghan has essentially become White, and that's what we value? There is an abundance of Black royalty. Are we forgetting that in many African countries, hierarchies still remain? For instance, Queen Sylvia of Buganda, a U.K. Black woman who became queen of a kingdom in Uganda in 1999. Look at Ariana Austin, an African-American woman who married Prince Yoel of Ethiopia. Why is she not being idolized and pushed as a Black savior? Oh right, because she didn't infiltrate White society.

Since the era of segregation, Blacks have been striving to enter White spaces and be accepted, hoping there will be more opportunities and a better standard of living. Sure, it has helped with that since conditions were worse back then, but we haven't found a way to snap out of that way of thinking. We would rather strive to fulfill another group of people's ideals and share their spaces, rather than building up, creating, and appreciating our own.

Our obsession with and praise for Meghan only suggests that she accomplished something remarkable when really she hasn't. All she's done is marry a guy who happens to be a prince. In what way does that make her some change-agent for Blacks? Has she figured out how to end racism, mass incarceration, or colorism? I don't think so. Will her entering the royal family change anything for Black people? I don't think so. In the words of Jay-Z, we're "still nigga(s)."

Her marrying Prince Harry doesn't suddenly erase the stereotypes and stigmas attached to Black people or show that we can be "just as good" as Whites, nor should we feel like it has. To be Black royalty, you don't have to enter a White family. And to show Black excellence, you don't have to get closer to Whiteness.

Now, on the other hand, Meghan, as a women's rights activist, has made great strides in the fight for gender equality. That's what we should be praising her for, instead of seeing her marriage to Prince Harry as a proverbial "leveling up" for Black society.

Cover Image Credit: @kensingtonroyal / Instagram

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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