Prince Harry’s decision to marry Meghan Markle has been causing great excitement about people of African descent. Back in August one writer was so excited about the thought of this marriage happening that she proclaimed the marriage a “game changer” for Black women. Others took to Twitter to celebrate this engagement, with one person going so far as to see this marriage will be life changing. Comments like that express the excitement that some feel over a British royal marrying a Black woman, but I feel a great deal of sadness at seeing how colonized the thinking of so many Africans still is. Many of us still believe that marrying a European is to be seen as some sort of accomplishment, especially if that European in question is royalty. This type of colonized thinking is precisely why I wrote Essays Towards Restoring the African Mind. We are in desperate need of a restoration because many of us still view the world through Eurocentric perspectives that downplays or ignores our own unique history.
The excitement around this wedding is further proof of the Eurocentric world that we live in. We place so much attention and focus on European royalty. In the meantime many of us are not even aware that Africa has more monarchs than Europe does, but those African royals are rarely celebrated or acknowledged by the European media. Cephas Bansah is a royal from Ghana who married a German woman. In Germany he works as a humble mechanic. Last year a Jamaican woman married a Nigerian king, but that went unnoticed by most Europeans. African royals are of little regard to Europeans, so why do so many of us hold European royals in such high regard?
Many of us grew up on fairy tales of European royalty. We constantly see images of European royalty on television and in movies. For this reason many of us began to associate royalty or monarchies with Europeans because that is all we have ever known. Such fairy tales also paint a very romantic image of European royals. This is an image that downplays the fact that the European monarchs were complicit in slavery and colonialism.
Harry deciding to marry Markle does not represent any type of significant progress for African people, but it does show how Eurocentric the world is and how colonized our own thinking still is. Markle was a successful actor before she began dating Harry, so at the end of the day it’s a marriage between two successful and famous people. We can wish them well, but we must also understand that this marriage in no way helps the African masses who are daily faced with issues such as racism, poverty, police violence, and other forms of oppression. This marriage does reveal, however, that the world we live in still places more value on Europeans and European culture. If Africans are serious about racial equality then we have to start treating ourselves as equals to Europeans and stop acting as though Europeans are superior to us. One of the ways we can start doing this is by stop acting as if European royals are superior or more important than African royals are.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook.