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Meghan Markle has single handily changed the reputation of the royal family. Prince William and Duchess Kate have followed protocol, staying consistent with the prim and proper royal family reputation that has been so meticulously groomed for the past hundred years. However, as soon as Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, the whole caricature of the royal family begged for revaluation.
To explain, Markle is not only an American, but she is half black and a former television star. If her ethnic background and American citizenship did not cause enough uproar, the steamy sex scene in one of Markle’s Suits episodes threw many Markle sceptics completely over the edge. The scandals and rumours regarding Markle seem to be endless and to be getting progressively more brutal. While the eyes of the world are always focused on the royal family, it seems Markle is deserving of extra attention, making anything she does a subject for debate.
Although there is a plethora of Markle drama and gossip floating around, this article will focus on the newly unfolding Twitter war between Markle and her extreme Right attackers. However, before jumping into the details of this war, it is important to bring attention to the platform of Twitter. It seems as of 2019, Twitter is used as a launching pad for political and social agendas. By Tweeting extreme Left or Right propaganda, users attempt to garner support and receive validation for their views. Whether or not this is true, Twitter is a fantastic example of universal freedom of speech. Many Twitter users tweet horrible things every second of everyday and that is well within their rights. To attempt to curb or limit these scathing tweets is a direct violation of free speech. Therefore, while this article is affirmatively condoning hate speech, it does argue that hate speech should be protected under the universal understanding of free speech.
With this in mind, this article directly disagrees with the current actions of the royal family, setting up “ formal guidelines” for constituents dealing with the Royals’ social media.
This declaration states:
- Contain spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence.
- Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
- Breach any of the terms of any of the social media platforms themselves.
- Be off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible.
- Contain any advertising or promote any services.
The aforementioned guidelines were enforced as a reactive strategy to the increased amount of “Twitter Trolls” Markle has encountered. With the news of the royal baby on the way, it seemed that the extreme Right Twitter trolls were more vocal than ever. This coming baby would be the first mixed child in the history of the royal family. Debates began spiralling as to whether the baby would have an afro, whether it would look more white or black, and people flat out asking if the future baby would really be black. The extreme Right was absolutely furious that the royal bloodline would be “tainted” with mixed blood. Calling Markle the N word and using hashtags like #Megixt and #charlatandutchess these Tweets were admittedly horrendous and extremely offensive. Due to the rightful distress this Twitter reaction to the announcement of the baby caused, Kensington Palace devoted more resources to deleting comments targeting Markle and blocking abusive Instagram directed at Markle with knife emoji’s and guns. As 70% of the Tweets came from the same 20 accounts, the online security team easily deleted the majority of the hateful comments.
While it is morally intuitive to argue against this hate speech, it is not ethically acceptable to bar people from producing it. In other words, it is a direct violation of free speech for the Palace to remove these comments and accounts. To live in a censored world, where only acceptable, PC, and generally nice things are said is utopic but not realistic. If we allow the Palace or U.S Government or any other head of state to delete or remove comments seen to be offensive, the definition of what is offensive can be contested. While one might openly attack Bernie Sanders for being realistically too old and out of date to run for President, and stating his temper is one of a two year old girl seems ignorant and hurtful, but is merely an expression of one’s opinion. This comment should not be taken down, but engaged with creating a platform for discussion.
Overall, removing these hateful tweets is nothing less than a lost opportunity. By creating these “guidelines” the Palace is merely telling people what to say, not allowing them to expression their own opinions. If the Markle tweets had stayed up, they could be used in articles, discussions, and lessons to teach people the difference between right and wrong. These comments should not be ignored or “deleted” but engaged with using them as a learning opportunity. People face Twitter trolling every day, however with Markle being in the public eye, she could have used this opportunity to educate the community or engage with this negative rhetoric showing she is working to confront these attitudes and stand up for herself and other mixed race women. Instead of being victimised by these Tweets, I hope Markle can rise to the occasion, standing up for not only herself, but every other mixed race girl watching her from behind their screens. She has the opportunity, but will she take it?