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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement is generally seen as a welcome, much-needed introduction of ethnic diversity to one of Britain's most historic institutions.

Markle, who is mixed race, is marrying into a symbolic family that has so far excluded people of colour.

But commentators argue that the engagement has also shed light on the racist undertones in British society, exposing how far we all still have to come.

The women of colour who discussed the engagement on Newsnightwere not all excited.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, deputy editor of online magazine 'by women of colour' gal-dem, said many black Brits were happy about the engagement.

But she also warned against exaggerating its significance, saying:

I think if she was darker-skinned, it would be very unlikely that she would be marrying Prince Harry.

And, in answer to those who shrug their shoulders and claim race doesn't matter anymore, Guardian columnist GeorginaLawton pointed to the Prince's statement condemning the "racial undertones" in press coverage surrounding Markle.

For example, this Daily Mailstory said that Markle - who grew up in Los Angeles - was:

(almost) straight outta Compton

Another Daily Mailpiece said:

Miss Markle’s mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks

The same article also commented on her "rich and exotic DNA" and how "the Windsors will thicken their watery, think blue blood".

The British press continues to scream over the "VERY unlikely" engagement and Markle's "unconventional" family.

Meanwhile, many will unsurprisingly find it hard to get excited over the upcoming marriage, even as symbolic step.

Britain's "unique" brand of racism

Picture:Picture: Prince Harry andMeghan Markle in Nottingham onMarkle'sfirst royal outing.

Paula Akpan, a co-founder of Black Girl festival that celebrates British women, told NBC News:

I feel like racism in the U.K. is pretty insidious.

She added that much of the objection and surprise over the engagement was to do with Markle's race:

We all know what you're trying to say, spit it out, say it.

She cited the UK's

quiet and unique brand of racism

Markle's status as Prince Harry's fiancée also does nothing to practically alleviate the unique suffering of black Britons, as Kri Kankhwende, a contributor to The Independentpoints out.

According to research, these gaping inequalities include:

  • the average black graduate earning nearly a quarter less than their white counterparts
  • almost half the number of black school leavers attending Russell Group universities,compared with other races
  • black African women having a mortality rate four times higher than white women in the UK

Citing the disparities that remain between non-white citizens and their white counterparts, Kankhwende wrote:

Consider that before hailing the dawn of a new post-racial era in the UK with Meghan Markle, who is mixed race, marrying into the Royal family.

HT NBC News

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