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Prince Harry said he didn't understand race bias 'until he lived a day in Meghan Markle's shoes'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 26/10/2020 Robert Jobson, Lizzie Edmonds
"Prince Harry said he didn't understand race bias 'until he lived a day in Meghan Markle's shoes'"
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The Duke of Sussex today said he didn’t know unconscious race bias existed until he lived “a day or a week” in his wife Meghan’s shoes.

Prince Harry, 36, addressed racism in a conversation with Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson - who was hailed a hero after carrying a counter-protestor to safety following a demonstration in London this summer.

It comes just weeks after the royal spoke to the Standard about similar issues to mark the start of Black History Month . He and Markle, 39, selected a number of "trailblazers" - including Hutchinson - to pick one person to champion who they believed were making a difference in the BAME community.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the British High Commissioner's residence to attend an afternoon Reception to celebrate the UK and South Africa’s important business and investment relationship, looking ahead to the Africa Investment Summit the UK will host in 2020.  This is part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal tour to South Africa. on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) © 2019 Samir Hussein JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the British High Commissioner's residence to attend an afternoon Reception to celebrate the UK and South Africa’s important business and investment relationship, looking ahead to the Africa Investment Summit the UK will host in 2020. This is part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal tour to South Africa. on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

In the interview for GQ magazine, the prince said his “upbringing and education” did not equip him to understand the issue.

He revealed he was “sad to say” it took him “many, many years to realise” how much it impacted those affected - and that watching his wife experience racism forced him to wake up to the problem.

Harry said: “Once you realise or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself, because ignorance is no longer an excuse.

“And unconscious bias, from my understanding, having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed. And then, sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realise it, especially then living a day or a week in my wife’s shoes.”

a man sitting on a couch © Provided by Evening Standard

The prince spoke to Mr Hutchinson from his home in Montecito, California, where he now lives with Meghan and their son Archie, one.

Mr Hutchinson, who was raised in Battersea, south London, said he had suffered from “unconscious bias” when he worked in the City in IT. He said he got tired of battling for a pay rise and to be treated “fairly and equally.”

Harry said while there was “lots of work to do” globally with regard to racism, he felt like “the world is heading in the right direction.”

He said as the world tries to move towards equality, social media was one of the “worst places to have” conversations about race.

a group of people in uniform standing in front of a crowd: The image of father-of-two Mr Hutchinson rescuing Bryn Male during race violence in June as shared widely around the world (REUTERS) © Provided by Evening Standard The image of father-of-two Mr Hutchinson rescuing Bryn Male during race violence in June as shared widely around the world (REUTERS)

“As we go through this process, as we’re going through this transition, whatever you want to call it, people are going to make mistakes and it’s going to be noticed,” he said.

“But we can’t continue to scream and shout at each other and social media is the worst place to have these conversations, because it rips out the context. And everyone’s opinionated and having a go in, whatever it is, a sentence or 300 characters.

"These are conversations that need to be had across all corners of society and all platforms of power as well, because that’s where the difference is going to be made.”

Harry also spoke to Mr Hutchinson, a personal trainer, about the pressures of the coronavirus lockdown on men in particular.

Lance Reddick, Prince Harry are posing for a picture: The interview was for GQ magazine © Provided by Evening Standard The interview was for GQ magazine

“For so many people, but men especially, I guess, everyone’s been suffering from some form of isolation over the last eight, nine months,” he said.

“But for men who are isolated by themselves this can be a really dark place, unless you know the different solutions or different distractions that you can put into your life: whether it’s going for a great walk or a run or just doing something that keeps you mentally and physically fit. So I love that.”

Replay Video

The image of father-of-two Mr Hutchinson rescuing Bryn Male during race violence in June as shared widely around the world.

On the incident, Mr Hutchinson said: “On how do you change the world? It’s one random act of kindness at a time. And if everybody did that, can you imagine what the world would be like?”

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