Meghan Markle, who plays Rachel Zane on Suits and has recently begin dating Prince Harry, penned an essay for Elle UK about her experiences growing up mixed-race and working in Hollywood as a biracial woman.


Markle’s father is Caucasian and her mother African American, and the star describes how she is asked every day about her ethnicity. “To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear,” she writes. “In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”

Markle describes being young and needing to check a box to describe her ethnicity on a mandatory school census, and being dumbfounded on how to answer. “My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian,” she explained. “’Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.”

In that case – be a rebel, friends ??

A photo posted by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on

She continues with a story about her mother being called the N-word in Los Angeles the early 90s. “My skin rushed with heat as I looked to my mom. Her eyes welling with hateful tears, I could only breathe out a whisper of words, so hushed they were barely audible: ‘It’s OK, Mommy.’ I was trying to temper the rage-filled air permeating our small silver Volvo. Los Angeles had been plagued with the racially charged Rodney King and Reginald Denny cases just years before, when riots had flooded our streets, filling the sky with ash that flaked down like apocalyptic snow; I shared my mom’s heartache, but I wanted us to be safe. We drove home in deafening silence, her chocolate knuckles pale from gripping the wheel so tightly.”

Later, in her acting career, Markle found it difficult to find the right parts for her, or what Hollywood deemed the right parts. “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job,” she describes.

When she was cast as Zane on Suits, she still faced some discrimination. The show cast a back man to play her father, which caused confusion for many fans, and in some cases, anger. “I remember the tweets when that first episode of the Zane family aired, they ran the gamut from: ‘Why would they make her dad black? She’s not black’ to ‘Ew, she’s black? I used to think she was hot,’” she writes. “The latter was blocked and reported. The reaction was unexpected, but speaks of the undercurrent of racism that is so prevalent, especially within America.”

Today, at 35, Markle has learned to embrace her own identity, and be a “strong, confident mixed-race woman.”

Just last month Prince Harry condemned the racist and sexist comments that were being made toward his new girlfriend via an official statement from Kensington Palace. “His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement read. “Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. … Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”

The couple began dating in late October after they met on set in Canada.

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