We Can Still Feel Empathy For Rich, Privileged People Like Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Photo: Shaun Jeffers / Shutterstock.com
We Can Still Feel Empathy For Rich, Privileged People Like Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Have you ever had someone start a rumor about you? Or spread some kind of untruth that painted you in a bad light? Didn’t you want to correct them? And make sure everyone understood that you were a good person at heart? 

Now imagine most of the world believed that rumor and several others that were being broadcast day after day. If you could, wouldn’t you want an Oprah interview to set the record straight? 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s situation is unique. Not many of us can say we were born or married into Royalty but hated it so we left. 

Listen: I get it. It’s hard to relate to their circumstances, it’s hard to feel sorry for people whose wedding cost more than we will make in a lifetime, and it’s hard to listen to the problems of people with Royal titles that make them some of the most powerful, privileged people in the world. 

But these are all surface-level things and if there’s one thing we should take from the interview it’s that beneath all the rules and titles we are all humans with our own demons.

If we can’t find it in ourselves to scrounge up some empathy for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry it says more about ourselves than it ever will about them. 

Harry and Meghan raised numerous important conversation topics about mental health, racism, misogyny, and the power the media has in manipulating the truth. Yet over and over, a popular response is that "they asked for it all." 

What does it say about us if a woman can bravely stand in front of the world and say she contemplated suicide and we tell her she deserved it because she “chose” this fate? 

It is easy to sit at home and judge now that we know all the consequences of their actions. But we are living in the same hindsight as Harry and Meghan are. 

Perhaps the couple deserves more empathy for the fact that they were simply doing what they thought was best at the time.

If a woman who has married into one of the most powerful families in the world cannot get access to mental health care when needed how can any of the rest of us ever expect our problems to be taken seriously? 

Stigma and shame around depression and suicidal ideation forced Markle into silence for so long — and by her speaking up now, she voices the concerns of countless people who have felt this way. 

There is no title, crown, or lineage that makes you immune from depression. Mental health problems do not discriminate based on class, nor does bullying or even racism. 

RELATED: Why Some People Believed Prince Harry But Not Meghan Markle

Instead of asking how Markle can’t acknowledge her privilege instead of dwelling on the racism and misogyny predicated against her, maybe we should be asking why even privilege and status can’t protect Black women from racism and misogyny.

Markle is a college-educated woman who had a career and her own money before she met Harry. She had done all the things society tells women to do in order to earn respect — yet she was shown very little.

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What does it say to young Black people in Britain that their first chance to see someone who looks like them in Buckingham Palace was ruined by racial bias and bullying that continues to follow Markle even after she left?   

Markle may not know what it’s like to be in your shoes but you certainly don’t know what it’s like to be in hers. Kindness and compassion are not a limited resource; there’s plenty to go around and it won’t hurt to show her some.

RELATED: Meghan Markle's Treatment By The Royal Family Is Proof Black Women Should Always Be Protected

As for Prince Harry, we have seen his life — and the death of his mother —​ play out in the media since his birth so is it really that hard to imagine that it might not have always been smooth sailing? 

This is the son of a woman who the media chased and harassed from the moment she started dating his father until she lay dying in a Parisian tunnel after a high-speed chase with paparazzi. 

Forgive Harry for being terrified about what could happen to his wife if he did not take action against the media. 

For decades we criticized Prince Charles for not doing more to support Princess Diana, for not defending her from his family or the press. And yet when Harry chose to do what we have been willing Charles to have done, he is met with vitriol and backlash. 

Put the titles and money aside for a minute and try to acknowledge the pain of a man who grew up without a mother and wanted to prevent his son from having to experience the same thing. 

Systems of privilege hurt us all. Even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can be “trapped” by the system they appear to be benefitting from. 

Harry and Meghan are pointing out the flaws in a system that put one family in control of a country and condemns others to subservience. By acknowledging that this class system is trapping and oppressive, they could inspire some important change. 

You can’t insult or criticize someone for being privileged but then refuse to allow them to denounce that system of privilege. 

Meghan and Harry probably won’t hear your criticisms. They won’t read your tweets or comments. But your friends who have felt suicidal or depressed will. Your friends who have felt targeted and bullied because of their race, class or gender will. 

So perhaps show some empathy to those who resonate with Harry and Meghan’s story, because they might need the support that not even the Royals were given. 

RELATED: The Royal (And Very Problematic) Double Standard Between The Treatment Of Meghan Markle And Prince Andrew

Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment.