It appears in their swift action attempting to look like they really care about eradicating racism, the Royal family seem to have forgotten something: the Black woman at the center of the incident.
In case you hadn’t read, here’s a recap: Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of a London domestic abuse charity called Sistah Space, was a guest at Queen Camilla‘s reception to spotlight violence against women at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. Unfortunately, she says most of the event was a “blur” for her after an aide pestered her with questions about her ethnic background, not willing to allow that she was simply Black and British. That woman was Lady Susan Hussey, one of Camilla’s closest aides — and Prince William‘s godmother.
After Ngozi went public with her account of the encounter, Lady Susan resigned, and the Palace released a statement saying “the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.” The statement added that Household staff were “being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”
Ngozi takes issue with much of that statement, but first and foremost the part where they say:
“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.”
She says in fact no one has reached out to her, and she has NOT received an apology for the “traumatic” moment. Oops.
Ngozi spoke to The Independent about her experience being interrogated about her heritage — and unable to stand up for herself — saying:
“I was in shock after it happened and anybody who knows me, knows I don’t take this kind of nonsense. But I had to consider so many things. As a Black person, I found myself in this place where I wanted to say something but what happened would automatically be seen as my fault, it would bring Sistah Space down. It would be, ‘Oh, she has a chip on their shoulder.’ There are so many things to consider before you can even react to the pain of racism. Can you imagine? I’m just processing the incident.”
“This woman was relentless and determined I am not British. I was thinking, ‘What can I do here now?’ Nothing. ‘Who can I tell?’ No one.”
Though she was fine naming the perpetrator, Ngozi says she isn’t happy with the decision to force her to resign. She explains:
“My nature is not that somebody of senior years should be vilified even though she did it to herself. I don’t want to be part of that. I’m old school. This is an elder and that’s not an excuse, but I’m thinking why don’t we just do something different such as pull her up, re-educate, demote her, keep her from public-facing roles? Having been in this position for decades, it’s horrible that she goes out like this because of ignorance and racism.”
The charity organizer says she doesn’t think firing a single person fixes anything anyway:
“This is bigger than one individual. It’s institutional racism.”
“What’s the lesson here? When I drove into the palace, the car was searched and we were searched, as you would expect, because they have to protect the household. But what protects us, Black people, from that treatment? This incident is unfortunate and shows that nothing has changed.”
Just like many said after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed their own experience with racism over their unborn mixed-race child. Finding the precise individual who made the comments is less important than addressing the overall lack of education on these matters. That’s why Fulani is calling on the Royals to implement actual training in anti-racism from a third party, not just a lecture by higher-ups. In fact, she said Sistah Space could even oversee this training!
“It is that very training that got us the invitation in the first place. It is ironic, therefore, that the thing that we’re fighting to end was targeted at me. I was not the only one standing there, and certainly not the only one affected. And I’ll go as far as to even those who were not there must be affected by this.”
We certainly hope the Palace takes Ngozi up on her offer. It’s the least they could do, and it could turn this unfortunate incident into a teaching moment. And what better outcome could there be??
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