Meghan Markle is ready to talk about her past.
The “Suits” actress and girlfriend of Prince Harry shared an empowering essay in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for TheTig.com, the website she founded where she serves as Editor-in-Chief. She opened up about the racism she experienced growing up.
The essay was originally written in 2015 but Markle shared it again to mark the occasion.
Markle, who was born to an African-American mother and a Caucasian father remembered a story her maternal grandfather told her when she was 11 years old.
She wrote, “road trips to me were a collection of ‘Are we there yet?’s, the license plate game, the drive-throughs for filler food (where McDonalds was less of a treat and more of the norm), photo ops by signs welcoming you from one state to the next, and stops at local restaurants to stretch your legs.”
But, for her grandfather, things were very different.
He told her, “‘Meggie, on our road trip, when we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken, we had to go to the back for ‘coloreds,’” and added, “‘The kitchen staff handed me the chicken from the back door and we ate in the parking lot. That’s just what it was.’”
“That story still haunts me,” she wrote. “It reminds me of how young our country is. How far we’ve come and how far we still have to come.”
Markle explained that as a child, she experienced discrimination herself and recalled one occasion where she was with her mother and “countless black jokes” were told in front of her because the people in the group didn’t realize she was “mixed.”
“It makes me wonder what my parents experienced as a mixed race couple,” she wrote. “It echoes the time my mom and I were leaving a concert at The Hollywood Bowl, and a woman called her the ‘N’ word because she was taking too long to pull out of the parking spot. I remember how hot my skin felt. How it scorched the air around me.”