The media has been gaga for the past week or so, because……. wait for it………. Prince Harry is engaged!! Well I suppose it’s about time; he’s in his 30s after all.
But there’s more!! He’s engaged to a woman “of colour”!!! Here’s the breathless prose used by many of the newspapers that use The Associated Press.
“For some black women, Megan Markel and Prince Harry’s engagement was something more. One of the world’s most eligible bachelors has chosen someone who looks like them and grew up like them.”
Oh really? Here’s a picture of Meghan Markel, and I can tell you that we have grandsons that are multiple shades browner than she is, especially after they go shirtless and hatless most of the summer. I know, they’re supposed to cover up, but good luck with that.
But, apparently, Ms. Markel’s heritage is half African-American, so let’s get right to the really important question which I sincerely believe should be: “Who Cares?” We should’ve gotten past the mixed colour marriage issue about 3000 years ago, when Moses married a black woman from southern Sudan. Yes, that Moses. Look it up.
Most of us are mixed race. Meritha and I have ordered Ancestry.com DNA kits for each other for ‘Christmas, so we can finally find out who we’re living with. With my Celtic ancestry, I’m concerned about how much Neanderthal DNA might still be in there, and then, Meritha’s inevitable comment: “We spent $100 to find out something that I already knew?”
Anyway, it seems to me that the real story is Harry’s red hair. Here we have a mixed race American actress marrying an English red head. Now that’s a story, because, let’s face it, there are far fewer redheads in the entire world than there are people of mixed race.
It actually does astonish and dismay me that mixed race couples are still a news item in 2017. I had hoped that with the election of Barack Obama nine years ago, race relations would improve, and the racial origin fixation would abate. Sadly, under Obama they both became worse, certainly in part because he insisted on taking a racially biased position on several incidents between Caucasian and African-Americans, even before the facts were known.
I’ve always insisted that racism is not a white disease, it’s a human disease. I’ve told this story before, but in the late 80s and early 90s I made several trips to Africa on business. On one of them, the Canadian embassy in Dar es Salaam provided a car, and a driver named Aggrey Mponguliana. Sounds kind of Ndebele/Italian doesn’t it?
Anyway, on a subsequent trip to Tanzania I invited Aggrey and his wife Anna to join me for dinner at my hotel in downtown Dar es Salaam, and during our conversation we discovered that we had several things in common. But we really had different experiences when it came to marriage customs. Anna revealed to me that Aggrey had paid 10 cows for her. I don’t think we had cows on the farm when Meritha and I were married, so I suppose I’d have had to pay her dad about 50 sheep!
Anna went on, that had she been lighter skinned, Aggrey would have had to pay up to 20 cows to her father. That’s 10 extra cows for less pigmentation! It struck me again how ridiculous the whole skin colour issue is.
I said that it seemed to me that that the human race must be crazy. Caucasians lie on tanning beds or the beach, to turn brown; East Asians wear enormous hats to prevent browning, and African men give extra cows for a lighter skin. Some people actually bleach their skin to become whiter, and others spray on brown to become browner.
And all this to satisfy the notion – unfortunately sometimes true – that a different skin colour will help you be more successful, even though it won’t make the slightest difference to the kind of person you are. Homo Sapiens? No, Homo Stupidus.
So I’m with Billington Bulworth who famously suggested – and I’ll have to clean up his language, a lot – that we should keep inter-marrying until we’re all the same colour. Not a bad idea.
Because then maybe we can focus our conversations, and our headlines, on more important things.
I’m Dave Reesor