The British royal family is about more than white privilege; it’s about white domination.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascendance of King Charles III to the throne are reminders that the British “royals” have always wanted to have it both ways. As a “constitutional” monarchy they conveniently take no responsibility for their government’s past deeds, but nevertheless benefit from the wealth and power those deeds generated. Are they truly unaware of the atrocities Great Britain’s committed during its colonial era? Why should the rest of us share their obliviousness? Ignorance is bliss, but maybe it’s high time we were all a little less blissful.
To quote a tweet that went viral last week, “Queen Elizabeth is not a remnant of colonial times. She was an active participant in colonization. She actively tried to stop independence movements [and] tried to keep newly independent colonies from leaving the commonwealth. The evil she did was enough.” (In particular, she has been accused of complicity in Britain’s brutal crushing of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion in the early 1950s, in which at least 150,000 people were put in labor camps and subjected to castration, electrocution, starvation and sexual assault.) The legion of farting old apologists for the monarchy twist themselves into pretzels to avoid the point; the fact that Britain outlawed slavery almost 30 years before the U.S., for example, is a feeble excuse for the legion of crimes in Britain’s colonial past. To claim you’re not quite as guilty as the other guy doesn’t mean a whole lot to the people you victimized.
Indeed, it appears the queen turned a blind eye to her country’s actions in the early years of her reign. She remained civil and ladylike, and all the other adjectives that have been used to praise her, while atrocities in the name of the crown continued. It reminds me all too much of my Civil War commander, Robert E. Lee, who married into a wealthy slaveholding family and enjoyed the benefits of their riches without taking any responsibility for those enslaved people’s circumstances. When Lee’s father-in-law died and left him an “unpleasant” legacy, “Southern gentleman” Lee physically abused many of his “servants” and split up families in order to sell and hire them out for profit.
Never Mind the King, God Save His Far Flung “Subjects”!
The British people can keep their monarchy if they so choose, but I implore them to stop burdening the rest of the world with the remnants of their lost empire. Is it any wonder that when William and Cate visited Jamaica earlier this year they were met with protests? The fact is, many people in Commonwealth countries such as Jamaica are, in fact, seeking reparations for slavery as well as Britain’s participation in the Atlantic slave trade. Can’t the royals see that it’s high time they stop expecting to be loved and honored by their country’s former subjugates? Talk about trying to keep your foot on the neck of “your people”!