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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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