“How dark will his skin be?”
Some personal thoughts on Meghan, Archie and an inherently racist institution—the British Monarchy—which has spread its ideology throughout history to its colonies, present and former
“How dark will his skin be?”, a member of the British Royal family asked Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, of her unborn son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
One of my grandparents asked my mother the same question. Really sets the tone for a life.
My answer, after some time spent living in this skin: dark enough that you feel the need to ask that question, and dark enough to know why you would.
Dark enough as a child to turn attention while walking in the street with my mother, but not so dark that I fit in at a mostly-black school.
Dark enough that I wasn’t white, and all the advantages that brings. But not that dark, so I was called “yellow” — another other — caught somewhere in between.
Dark enough to be black at a mostly-white university, and dark enough to be asked “are you on the football team?”
But not so dark that my black classmates thought I was black, a casual “what are you?” told me as much about that.
Still, dark enough to feel fear when the police rolled past me at night, And dark enough to be called a nigger by drunk frat bros, expecting a fight.
And dark enough that I can’t fight back with my fists — I’d rather not be shot in the back, when you’re black they don’t miss.
My answer, after 29 years of “how dark?”: