Prince Harry has seen the light. His awokening is complete. Earlier this week, in a video chat hosted by GQ magazine, he confessed to the sin of ‘unconscious bias’ and instructed the rest of us — the unwoke throng — to ‘educate yourself’. And there you have it: this duke, sixth in line to the British throne, is now indistinguishable from those irritating campus activists who scream ‘EDUCATE YOURSELF’ at anyone who has the temerity to demur from their worldview.
Harry was having a chat with Patrick Hutchinson, the personal trainer who was photographed carrying a counter-protester to safety during clashes with BLM activists over the summer. Harry trotted out all the woke lines. ‘Ignorance is no longer an excuse’, he said, no doubt to those still in denial about the unwitting hatred that lurks in their hearts (that’s essentially what ‘unconscious bias’ means).
He praised this year’s BLM protests as a ‘global movement’, like an unstoppable ‘train’, and everyone must ‘get on it’, he said. That’s easy for him to say from his swanky pad in Santa Barbara. What about the black and white working-class communities in other parts of the US whose businesses and livelihoods were destroyed by the excesses of this ‘global movement’? They might wish that this train, which involved riots, the destruction of monuments, and confrontations with diners who refused to raise their fists, would slow down a little, or maybe even come to a halt.
But it was his use of the line ‘educate yourself’ that most clearly illustrated Harry’s capture by the cult of woke. That is the most common cry of the self-elected guardians of correct-think. And don’t be fooled by their use of the term education, which of course is a good thing. They don’t mean ‘educate’ in the sense of going off to read some books and talk to people and make up your mind on an issue. No, they mean ‘get with our programme’. ‘Educate yourself’ is a demand for conformity. Really it means re-educate yourself; submerge yourself in the ways of identity politics.
That’s why Harry’s train metaphor was so revealing, too. ‘The train has left the station, and if you’re not on it now, then get on it’, he said. Leaving to one side the question of how you’re supposed to get on a train that has already left, the most important part of this metaphor is its one-way nature. Trains go in one direction only. They can’t be steered somewhere else. What Harry is essentially saying is that there is only one correct way to think about issues like BLM, unconscious bias and identity politics, and if you think a different way… well, you’ll be left behind.
It was hard not to hear his wife Meghan’s voice. Did she write this script, I found myself wondering? Indeed, Harry credits his arrival in the station of correct thought to his experiences with his Meghan. He said he spent ‘many, many years’ unaware that unconscious bias even existed, but his awareness was raised by ‘living a day or a week in my wife’s shoes’. So she gave him his Damascene conversion? She turned him from the bad old Saul who wore Nazi outfits to fancy-dress parties into the Paul of wokeness, a proselytiser for political correctness?
What is striking about this is that Harry, like other royals, has worked with charities and good causes for a long time. But apparently he didn’t become properly socially aware until he spent a day or two in the company of a very wealthy celebrity from Hollywood. There’s an implicit insult in this. Apparently schools, institutions and charities in the UK failed to prise open Harry’s eyes to the problems of the world, but magic Meghan did it in a matter of weeks. Thank God for virtuous celebs, eh?
I really don’t think the Duke of Sussex should be pushing divisive ideas like ‘unconscious bias’. This identitarian ideology, which suggests that most people are racist, even if they don’t realise it, has nothing in common with the old noble cause of anti-racism. Those old struggles were about securing equality for people regardless of their racial backgrounds, whereas today’s BLM outlook encourages division. This obsession with white privilege and black victimhood; the idea that people’s hidden hatreds must be teased out, that must be corrected by a new army of therapeutic race-relations experts; it is all a recipe for suspicion and tension. Harry, get off that train.
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