Harry and Meghan’s new strategist says all white people are ‘rife with internalised racism’

‘As a white woman of privilege, I have racist tendencies written in at a cellular level’, said Genevieve Roth

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 24 March 2021 10:33
Meghan Markle describes working at frozen yoghurt shop in Oprah interview

Harry and Meghan’s new strategist for Archewell has said that she and all white people are “rife with internalised racism and unconscious bias”.

Invisible Hand, an agency founded by Genevieve Roth, a former aide to Hilary Clinton, announced on Monday it has started working with the Archewell Foundation run by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, prompting speculation about the political future of the couple.

Ms Roth, a white woman raised in Alaska, has previously written about her experience of being married to Jordan Keith, a black man, and her growing awareness of her own white privilege.

In a 2020 article for Good Housekeeping, she wrote: “I am rife with internalised racism and unconscious bias. And to all of the non-black folks reading this, we need to get clear on something: So are you.

“Race is an issue in our marriage because as a white woman of privilege, I have racist tendencies written in at a cellular level.”

On a drive to look for a new home, Ms Roth described how she “casually” mentioned that their car’s license plates were nearly expired.

“He got so angry with me that I worried he would crash the car,” she said.

“‘Do you realise that if a cop pulls us over for expired tags, I could be killed?’, he said. “I had not realised,” she admitted.

Ms Roth then described another occasion where she pushed him to negotiate for a higher salary “thinking that the problem with his offer lay in his negotiating skills and not realising that black men are serially underpaid, considerably more so than white women”.

“I fought for pay equity my entire career,” she said. “This, I had not realised.”

In another example, she described an incident when Mr Keith said while they were driving “this is the same borough where Eric Garner was murdered”.

Mr Garner, a black man, was killed in a chokehold during an arrest by a police officer in New York in 2014. Ms Roth wrote: “I mean, I really had not realised.

“To be raised white in America is to be told in countless small ways that how you live is correct. It means having your image and your values reflected back at you – in the education you received, the toys you were sold, the ideals of beauty you were given”, she said.

Genevieve Roth in 2014

“Systematic change is critical. Better schools. A functioning justice system and an end to police brutality. Reparations. But until white women like myself do the work to examine our role in this racist system, and to repair the collateral damage we have caused, black people in this country will never truly be liberated.”

Ms Roth’s connection with Harry and Meghan has aroused curiosity about the political future of the couple.

In September 2020, Vanity Fair suggested that Ms Markle “would seriously consider running for president”.

The magazine quoted a “close friend” to her, saying: “One of the reasons she was so keen not to give up her American citizenship was so she had the option to go into politics.

“I think if Meghan and Harry ever gave up their titles she would seriously consider running for president.”

However, the magazine also reported that a “well-placed source” said: “While there’s no denying she is interested and engaged in politics as a topic, she harbours no ambition to enter a career in politics herself.”

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