Idealistic people like ourselves, at times suffer from the inclination to be prematurely impulsive, in the discernment of significant progress, or the prediction of long- range positive outcomes, from events which, at first blush, evince an appearance of tending in the direction of justice or moral rectitude; yet ultimately, suffer the pain of the revelation of less than expected, or disappointing, results [as in the above referenced novel, by Charles Dickens,*] from than had been assumed and anticipated.
As avid readers of the literature of Victorian England, we are reasonably familiar, not merely with that named, great author, but also with his period. The overwhelming political and military precedence of the English Crown (1815-1914) over other countries of the World, (140 million square miles of colonized territory, 150 million people, including, China, Siam, and Argentina). Untold riches were extracted in agricultural goods, slaves, lumber, cotton, rubber, silks, cottons, gunpowder, rum, opium, gold and other precious metals, tea, and too many to delineate. Such riches were exacted by the British practice of cruel, slave- labor conditions throughout its dominated world. The classic boast, “The Sun never sets on the British Empire,” is expressive of its worldwide domination.
We are somewhat familiar as well, with the traditional Royal practices as well as the imperious and imperial Victorian mindset, regarding the British sacred duty to “civilize” their “savage,” “unwashed,” ”godless” colonies, as then perceived and articulated as “White Man’s Burden.” Any reading of authors, in the genre of Rudyard Kipling for example, will readily reveal the British assumption of spiritual and anthropological superiority over the other “brutish” people in the World.
The World has changed considerably, after two costly World Wars, and England is no longer the arrogant leviathan it used to be; notably, after being saved on two historic occasions from utter destruction, by the military intervention of the United States. In recent years, like America, England has been the recipient of substantial immigration, principally from its formerly dominated colonies. Unfortunately, it has recently evinced analogous racial conflict and unrest as has occurred in the U.S.
The American Revolution, in the 18th Century, resulted in a new American Nation, politically independent of the British Empire; nevertheless, it is to be observed that a great many English institutions and practices, good and not so good, were imported and subscribed to, by the new Americans. These included language, religion, the English Common Law, the bi-cameral legislature, and many folkways and traditional practices. Tragically, included in the shipping manifest of English importation, was the inhumane, and ultimately most damaging to our National ethic, institutional practice of Slavery. We can imagine no greater moral offense than the cruel, neck-shackled ownership of the franchise of life of other human beings. The break-up of the black family for the commercial convenience of sale and the pervasive cruel treatment of the black slaves in our Nation are shamelessly and painfully, well documented in our history and literature.
The success of the Union Army, over the forces of the Confederate South, in the Civil War, resulted in the legal emancipation of the black slaves. Nevertheless, despite the relevant portions of the United States Constitution and the assurances of a plethora of statutory enactments of Federal State and local legislatures, universal citizen compliance with equality, as mandated in such Laws and Statutes,[ as well as legal case precedent] is yet, inarguably, not universal. We have made considerable but, unfortunately slow-motion progress toward the attainment of universal de facto recognition of true equality. The many instances of brutality by the local police, the existence of deplorable White Supremacy organizations and their hateful like the official attempts at interference with the “Black Vote,” and a surreal act of insurrection against the Capital Building, January 6, 2021, are but some of the overt indications of an ignorance-based, systemic hatred for those born with other than “white” skin. We had been consistently disappointed at the extent of the National rancor but were [temporarily] rewarded with expanded hope on May 19, 2019.
The Royal English wedding, on that date, between a handsome Prince Harry, son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and 6th in line for the Monarchy and his charming and beautiful African- American wife, Meghan Markle, (thereafter Duke and Duchess of Essex) was at the time, joyously perceived by us, as, no less than, a long-awaited triumphantly historic and philosophical occasion, appropriate for major celebration by every right-thinking individual in mankind. We had the impression, mindful of the British tradition, that its acceptance of an American commoner as Prince Harry’s wife, no less a Negro, was surely indicative of admirable progress in human moral advancement. We did not mind at all the thought that, Queen Victoria, if she could get word, would be churning, furiously in her, “white man’s burden,” bigoted, grave. In emotional contrast with the fiction concerning the regally interred, Queen Victoria, we were ecstatically celebratory. The missionary land of Kipling, of “White Man’s Burden,” of the term, ”Blackamoor,” seemed to have, at long last, seen the wholesome beam of enlightenment.
A black American woman, accepted as a married member of the inner English Royal Family, no doubt, would cause any American bigoted member of the underbelly of our Nation, who might, at some point, avail himself of the rare inclination to think, to suffer some doubt concerning his bigoted pretensions.
And then came the media reports of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan. The same unhappily confirmed our opening observation concerning the pain, frequently caused by a disappointing result, despite optimistic predictions founded on a suggestively positive event. Just imagine our chagrin at the dissolution of our ecstatic assumption, that it took only 100 years, or so, after Victoria’s reign, for racial equity to be finally [as subjectively evidenced by the marriage of a black woman to an English Royal Prince]. It was not our first disappointment, but we were devastated.
It was disturbing to learn that the lovely, charming, and sophisticated, Meghan Merkle was subjected to abuse from the English Royal Family, to the extent that, as revealed in the televised interview, she contemplated suicide. We were pleased that Harry, responsibly elected to be a loving husband and father, rather than a “Royal” and fled Buckingham Palace, with his harassed wife, bound for a normal life in California. Among the major issues, was a serious concern of the Royal Family, most especially, the eternally imperious, constipated- looking, Prince Charles (who stopped talking to Harry) and other members of the “royals” about the color of “Archie,” the couple’s young child. The English tabloid press, aggravated matters by comments expressed in their customary tasteless and irresponsible reportage, on the estranged relationship between Buckingham Palace and the married couple.
We might request of the scientifically efficient American pharmaceutical laboratories when they have the time and opportunity to do so, for the development of an effective vaccine for chronic and disabling radical prejudice.