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Meghan’s ‘constant struggle’ with fitting in as ‘light-skinned woman’

Meghan Markle ‘stirring the pot’ says Witchell

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Meghan Markle sat down with award-winning singer Mariah Carey for the second episode of her chart-topping podcast. In the episode titled ‘The Duality of Diva with Mariah Carey’, Meghan spoke about the complexities surrounding the ‘diva’ and the negative connotations associated with the word. The pair also discussed growing up as mixed-race women, with Meghan noting the pop star’s “​​constant struggle to find her place and to fit in” as something she related to. 

The Duchess revealed the impact Mariah had on her as a young girl, recounting seeing the singer in the media and thinking: “Oh, my gosh. Someone… Someone kind of looks like me.”

Meghan said: “I had to talk to you. Of course, I had to talk to you. You were so formative for me. 

“Representation matters so much. But when you are a woman and you don’t see a woman who looks like you somewhere in a position of power or influence, or even just on the screen — because we know how influential media is — you came onto the scene, I was like oh, my gosh. Someone… Someone kind of looks like me.”

She continued: “I had read this article about Halle Berry, and they were asking her how she felt being treated as a mixed-race woman in the world. 

“And her response was her saying: ‘Well, your experience through the world is how people view you.’

“So she said because she was darker in colour, she was being treated as a Black woman, not as a mixed woman.

“And I think for us, it’s very different because we’re light-skinned. You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between.”

Meghan has previously discussed the “grey area” that her ethnicity creates. 

Writing for Elle magazine in 2015, she said: “To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. 

“Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. 

“In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”

She recounted “fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls,” which included a mum doll, dad doll and two children. 

Meghan said: “This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. 

“I don’t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one. 

“On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. 

“My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family.”

She later recalled leaving the box to indicate her ethnicity on a mandatory census blank, not knowing which one to tick. 

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Meghan explained: “You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other — and one half of myself over the other. 

“My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. 

“I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. 

“I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. 

“So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.”

The Duchess is the daughter of Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland. 

Her father is Caucasian, of English and Irish descent, while her mother is of African American descent. 

The former Hollywood actress said she was inspired by Mariah Carey, whose father is African-American and Venezuelan, and mother is white Irish.

The singer talked about her own childhood, admitting: “I didn’t fit in. I didn’t fit in. You know, it would be more of the Black area of town or then you could be where my mom chose to live, where the more… the white neighbourhoods. And I didn’t fit in anywhere at all.”

Meghan responded: “Yeah. I understand that.”

She continued: “I remember being in school in this predominantly white neighbourhood where my mom felt comfortable and I tried my best to feel comfortable, you know. 

“But this kid was in, in the hallway, and he said: ‘Mariah has three shirts and she wears them on rotation.’ And it was like, it was true. 

“I mean, the fact that he noticed that, I’m like, *sings* Why you so obsessed with me? But no, I was like, Why do you care? 

“But, in a world where you’re the mixed kid of a full-on white neighbourhood, that’s what you get.”

Meghan and Mariah’s discussion about being mixed race came after the Duchess claimed she did not want her children photographed because of racism.

Speaking to The Cut magazine yesterday, Meghan said: “Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child? 

“You tell me how that makes sense and then I’ll play that game.”

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