Midday Culture Connections: Race and Royalty | WYPR

Midday Culture Connections: Race and Royalty

Dec 5, 2017

Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Meghan Markle will wed in May 2018.

Royal wedding fever has spread across the pond and here in the United States. Prince Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, will wed American actress Meghan Markle. Along with wedding plans and elaborate fascinators, much of the conversation about this royal engagement has centered on race. Ms. Markle is biracial, her mother is black and her father is white. Dr. Sheri Parks of the University of Maryland, College Park joins Tom for Midday Culture Connections to talk about royalty, race, and identity. 

Kelsey Parks Smith also joins from England. She’s a postgraduate student in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. She's also Dr. Park's daughter. 

Plus, as sexual assault allegations against powerful men on Capitol Hill, in Hollywood and everywhere in between continue to come to light, how is race informing the conversation about power and privilege? The allegations against Harvey Weinstein, came mainly from white women, some of them very rich and famous themselves. But what about working class women and minorities? 8 in 10 hotel hospitality workers say they’ve been harassed on the job. R&B singer R. Kelly has settled several cases and faced a trial for his sexual misconduct with teenage girls, but unlike other entertainment figures like Bill Cosby or Kevin Spacey, R. Kelly’s career hasn’t taken a hit. All of his victims were young black women. So what role does race play when addressing sexual assault? 

Dr. Sheri Parks joins Tom every month to help address and frame questions about race and gender. Sheri is an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park. She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman.