Prince Harry Spoke About Unconscious Bias And Racism In British Vogue And Some People Appreciate It
"You can only be taught to hate."
Prince Harry opened a conversation about racism and unconscious bias in an interview that will appear in British Vogue's September issue, which is guest-edited by his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
His comments, which have been met with mixed reviews, emerged from an interview with world-renowned ethologist Jane Goodall and come as some parts of the British media have been accused of racism towards the duchess.
In their candid exchange, the conversation about the environment and animals drifted into a discussion about race.
Harry complimented Goodall, a leading expert on animal behaviour, and said: "What I love about your work is that you focus on the younger generation. [When] you start to peel away all the layers, all the taught behaviour, the learned behaviour, the experienced behaviour, you start to peel all that away and at the end of the day, we’re all humans."
Goodall agreed with him and said: "Especially if you get little kids together, there’s no difference! They don’t notice, “My skin’s white, mine’s black,” until somebody tells them."
Harry then went on to say that many people don't understand unconscious bias. "Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say, 'What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist' — they’ll turn around and say, 'I’m not a racist.'
“I’m not saying that you’re a racist. I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view — unconscious point of view — where naturally you will look at someone in a different way. And that is the point at which people start to have to understand."
He added: "You can only be taught to hate. What can we learn from nature? People always say, 'There is nature, then there is us.'
"But we are part of it — we are nature. Unless we acknowledge we are part of this cycle, then we’re always going to be fighting against it. Inevitably, because we’re so good at destruction, we’ll end up winning and nature might end up losing."
This isn't the first time that Harry, who is now the father of a son of mixed heritage, has addressed issues of race. After news that he was dating Meghan Markle broke in 2016, the royal took the unusual step of issuing an open letter addressing negative news coverage she had received.
The strongly worded 400-word letter condemned the "wave of abuse and harassment" Meghan had been subjected to, from comment pieces with “racial undertones” and "the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments".
Following Sunday's announcement that the duchess would become the first guest editor in Vogue's 103-year history, she was criticised by several columnists and TV pundits for doing so — even though royals including future king Prince Charles have done similarly in the past.
Harry's remarks, albeit brief, did not go unnoticed on social media, with many people pointing out that his marriage to Meghan was clearly a factor in his outlook.
The prince, who infamously once dressed as a Nazi for a laugh, was criticised for some of his past behaviour.
Some Twitter users, however, quickly came to his defence.