My letter to the editor, Assignment #3 in my writing seminar, FREN/CPLT 359.
To the Editor,
Racism is alive and well in Great Britain and clearly, Twitter isn’t helping. The racist online abuse of Meghan has put royal staff on high alert by Max Foster, (cnn.com, March 8), calls attention to the ways in which the media, social media, and other modern public discourse are making it difficult for the royal family to navigate this moment in its history. I appreciate the article’s informative, to-the-point departure from the sensationalist norm that appears to be controlling British media.
The social media din raised by online trolls has made it harder to tell the factual from the merely inflammatory. As Foster highlights in the piece, “The pressure to produce ever more dramatic headlines to drive traffic is intense,” and it’s what gives the trolls a platform.
Monarchy implies monolith in the eyes of many, and a break in the pattern of whiteness in the royal family (the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle) has shown the British public’s true colors. Surely I am not the only reader who is outraged by how much the color of Meghan’s skin influences the online discourse in Britain. Unfortunately, the historical composition of the royal family implies, as Foster notes, that racism is built into the fabric of British culture. And so despite their efforts at projecting an image of normality, the royal family has continued to face challenges in welcoming Meghan into the fold.
Foster’s careful article reminds us that it’s the job of the media to present an accurate report of what’s happening with the royal family, while at the same time emphasizing the humanity of the often-superficially portrayed people who comprise this iconic group. Some in the media, like your writer, are working to make their reporting reflect the ideal of racial tolerance. With luck, this will one day become the norm.