The Royal Wedding is a game changer for Windsor castle as the new princess is Black. Finally, a real Black princess. She symbolizes a change in the lineage of the royal family and the society of England. Symbols are a powerful reminder to all citizens that political leaders, especially royalty, should look like us. People tend to believe that symbolic representation, representatives that look like the population they are representing, will create massive changes for them. Political symbolic representation has historically been a weak indication of real direct change. It usually engenders empowerment from the people who are represented that create the actual changes.
Symbols Aren’t Revolutionary
Meghan Markle will have limited power to make direct changes to racial inequalities and inequities in England. Her power will be bearing the brunt of the responsibility of being the agent of change. As a symbolic representative her face, demeanor and actions will mark the changes. Tabloids will review her type of clothing style, hair style and shoes. News reports will remark on her uncanny ability to live up to royal traditions. It’s the people of England, namely the Black population, that will see her greatness. She symbolizes inspiration that all is possible, that the castle is now the limit and that there can be a future for a Black woman. The people will create the changes not the Duchess.
It’s We The People That Make The Real Change
Symbolic representation empowers people as a symbol of faith to continue their plight to successful equality. Let’s take a quick look at minority representation in political leadership. Women in America are only 20-25% of all leaders in Congress. Yet, we are still half the working class, nearly 50% of union members and almost 60% of college graduates. Though women have had low symbolic representation, we, the women, have succeeded in careers. Meghan Markle’s symbolic effect will be similar. She will provide faith in a drastically unequal country for Blacks.
During the Obama era, Black people started to feel stronger and reignite the Civil Rights Movement. They asked questions like, “If a Black man can run this country why can’t I get a higher living wage?”. These questions sparked the Fight for $15. Bold murders of people by police across the country sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement-organized by Black women. Black people felt it was time to turn the tables on inequalities that had seethed in their communities and across America. Obama was not just president but a symbol for the changes the Black community engendered for their future and their children’s future. He was a symbol of hope and equality for Blacks making our country even stronger than ever before. These two examples support the theory that symbolism fuels empowerment by mere expression.
A New England is Born
The Duchess of Sussex is already bearing the brunt of symbolism. Newspapers across the globe are airing negative stories. The Independent reported a huge decrease in street parties for the royal wedding compared to Will and Kates in 2011. The stories on her inebriated father that was officially scorned and removed from the wedding. Even a poll stating that the majority of Englanders didn’t care about the wedding which should feel offensive. In the recent past, England has had it’s fair share of Black empowerment from riots to elections. Meghan Markle is the sparkle the English Blacks need to reignite their rise from the ashes of racism to the kingdom of equality.