a brief word on this portrayal of duchess kate’s white fragility

whew, PEOPLE. if ever there was a day built for rage?! and it is not yet noon US EST!

between the horrifying story of a police officer murdering an unnamed Black man in minneapolis, the video of amy cooper calling the police on a birder who asked her to leash her dog, the president of notre dame’s op-ed in the times about the risks we must all sustain for the education of students (ie. the continuation of american football), AND the president of purdue’s op-ed in the post about moral responsibility of reopening in the fall (ie. capitalism and the continuation of american football), i would like to go back to bed and spend the day reading my trashy novel about a kept woman falling madly in love a rake with waterloo PTSD while teaching him how to cheat at vingt-et-un in regency england.

ALAS, NO. i cannot do that, because today is also the day that the daily mail posted this nonsense.

which, if we’re in some sort of white supremacy/white fragility/white tears carnival time– and that does increasingly seem to be what was meant by “reopening”– hardly ranks supreme. but it is nonetheless, stupidly consistent with this broader alignment of the racist stars and worth a gander, especially due to the subtlety of the pandering and the broader agenda of thumbs up-ing white femininity. (please, lawd, this is not the gemini season i wanted.)

so anyhoo, some unnamed royalty-adjacent fuddy duddy white british person came out and talked to tatler (the king of fuddy duddy white british publications) about how kate middleton is a “king-maker.”

the cover looks like this:

which, well, props– much like the people over at the lifetime network, tatler clearly couldn’t give a fig about william. to the degree that they have essentially wigged him up with their logo.

so there’s a small victory for white women in dynastic families, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. i am not in the mood.

let’s take a look at the guts.

the bullets provide a summary.

do i think it is hard being royalty? probably, yes.

do i think this is how some people– kate, possibly included– feel about the current royal family situation? maybe, yeah.

do i think this article is rife with racial dog whistles and white privilege?

oh, there she is. i knew something was missing.

mayhaps you think i’m over-reacting.

mayhaps you think that all those fucking op-eds by the university presidents have addled my brains and i can no longer be logical and objective and reasonable.

mayhaps you have already noticed that you are reading me as shrill, and strident.

are you feeling exhausted? trapped?


in case you’ve not been following the story of the RF in quarantine, you’ve not really missed much.

there’ve been some zooms.

for the cambridges, i would estimate there have been maybe a dozen zooms? give or take a few. i do not have the heart for actual numbers today, but let’s just say there have NOT been daily zooms.

there was initially a slow start to the zooms as well.

first, following the lead of britain’s prime minister who initially thought it might be most convenient to just let people die, prince william laughed about covid.

then, he and kate went to meet first responders in person, beyond a point at which it would have been reasonable to expect them to socially distance.

then they went into isolation. and eventually, around april 8th, they began zooming.

all that to say, “a host of virtual appearances” is a bit… charitable.

in mid-may, elle described it as “several.”

i would be beneficent and say they have, since then, done a few more.

but is that a “host”? what even is a “host”? 15? 4? dear daily mail, i’mma need you to define your terms.

but my point is, yes, they have done some things. have they been constantly busy, zooming all over, doing everything? no. they have not. are they holding up the sun in the sky? no. have you been doing more zooms than them? probably yes.

so the emotional escalation to “fury” in the next paragraph…

specifically in regard to a “larger workload,” is provocative.

oh lo, mythical workload! where art thou? we have not yet seen thy fruits!!!

so what we have here is an “unnamed source” blabbing to tatler that duchess kate is “furious” with her sister-in-law. because she and her husband left the royal family– seemingly the only tenable solution the couple were able to find/offered in response to the unrelenting british racism they experienced for the whole prior year.

a great look, kate.

oh but wait. wait for it, ya’ll.

i don’t have any siblings or in-laws but likening your in-laws to child murderers really doesn’t seem like the best means of healing a family breach, no?

people with happy relationships with their in-laws, tell me if i’m wrong.

these paragraphs are hilarious.

because, let’s be honest, this is a pair of people who have been, for nigh on ten years now, repeatedly characterized as “work-shy.” so forgive me for not entertaining their grievance.

but also what is meghan and harry’s “behavior”? from what we’ve read so far, yes, they sound decadent. “an $18 million mansion in beverly hills”! holy smokes!

but recall: they are in america because america seemed like the safer, less racist place.


that says a lot, no, re: how bad it had to be?

you are maybe like, oline, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE?? what is wrong with you? what are  you banging on about?? 

well (as you know by now surely, as my dad always says): wrongadoodle.

i wrote before about how we have to train ourselves to see this shit. white people, looking at us! i wrote about this in response to that fucking awful article about how, due to the one-drop rule and cecil beaton’s misogynistic/racist musings on her body, jackie kennedy was really one of the first Black first ladies, and, subsequently, a letter to the editor that called michelle obama “that one.”

i wrote last year:

in eloquent rage (2018), brittney cooper writes: “white women’s sexuality and femininity is used not just as a tool of patriarchy but also as a tool for the maintenance of white supremacy” (185-186).

how might that look, you wonder? et voilá: “class, style, correct behavior”!!

it’s easy to see how that’s about femininity, “correct” and “appropriate” femininity. but, to be pedantic for a mo, we need to start training our eyes, especially our white eyes, to see how in being about that this is also very very very often also about race. because, in america, “correct”, “good”, “appropriate” femininity is white.

this seems an especially vital skill to cultivate in a universe where we are so eager to erase the contributions of a Black first lady that Blackness is claimed for jackie using early 20th century race law.

look at that quote again.

you don’t have to name a person to demean them.

you also don’t have to explicitly evoke race to evoke race.

that right there– that comment about kate “dressing appropriately,” in the broader context of the piece it almost seems like a non sequitur. it’s also a dog whistle.

that is a dig at a Black woman– a woman who was repeatedly, in the british media, slagged as being inappropriate. even as she hit the ground, assuming a substantial royal schedule from day 1.

so forgive me my failure of imagination here:

ok, life is short and we don’t have time for all this shit, so let us make haste.

further light is shed on The Falling Out at the Wedding (which, if you follow these things properly, has long been a big deal [though it was not, if i remember correctly, a scene in the lifetime interpretation!!!]):

i mean, historically, tights do lead to tears but, also, what a stupid hill to die on.


is the point of this article to make us love kate? because it seems to be having the opposite effect on me.

well now, this is not exactly the same thing as being beloved, is it?

impenetrability is starting to sound rather nightmarish to me at the mo.

this sounds exhausting:

as does committing to years of fury against a Black woman for her quite obviously sensible attitude towards tights and her family’s decision to leave a toxic work/family environment.

oh, let’s hang out here for a sec:

for one thing, charles and camilla have been active too, if we’re measuring in awkward claps and zooms.

for another thing, have you forgotten?

yup, he’s still here.

and the FBI is still trying to get to him.

so how noble of the cambridges to “lead the royal family’s efforts” with their “host” of zooms. what with so many other family members affected by their closeness to an alleged rapist of underage girls.

ok, at last, voilá! the denouement!

we’re straying from tatler here, shifting to entertainment tonight and middleton family mouthpiece katie nicholl:

THIS IS BRITAIN, she tells us. this is the future! a “relatable” family!

race is not mentioned once in this article. you could read this whole thing and have no idea meghan markle was Black– only that she’s “selfish,” possibly distant, aloof, unrelatable, insufficiently appreciative of the ways of yore like tights and talking to servants, and living in an $18 million mansion in beverly hills.

the article never states that the mansion is rented or borrowed.

the article in no way presents meghan’s side of the story; as a result, it tacitly accepts all the claims made therein.

the article also does not indicate that it is appearing in a paper currently being sued by the sussexes.

you picked up that it’s propaganda, right?


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