On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Meghan Markle shared a personal story of her family's experience with racism in an intimate post on her website, TheTig.com.
In it, the Suits star-whose mother is African American and father is Caucasian-recalled a time when she was 11 years old, when her grandfather told her what it was like to live during racial segregation in the United States:
"Things were different then," my grandfather said.
"Meggie, on our road trip, when we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken, we had to go to the back for 'coloreds.' 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's just what it was.
Now, looking back at the age of 35, the actress said her grandfather's story still resonates with her. "That story still haunts me," she continued. "It reminds me of how young our country is. How far we've come and how far we still have to come. It makes me think of the countless black jokes people have shared in front of me, not realizing I am mixed, unaware that I am the ethnically ambiguous fly on the wall. It makes me wonder what my parents experienced as a mixed race couple."
Markle's story was originally published in 2015 and re-published for MLK Day this year, but its message is still relevant today. The actress has also previously opened up about her biracial identity in an essay for Elle UK, where she shared how being half black and half white affected parts of her life, from being in school to finding acting jobs as an adult.
More recently, after Markle started officially dating Prince Harry, her mixed race background has become a target for racist criticism. Kensington Palace issued an official statement in November, urging the public to respect the actress' privacy after she was verbally abused in the national news through the "racial undertones of comment pieces" and "the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
Markle has yet to publicly comment on the harassment-or on her relationship with Harry at all. However, it wouldn't come as surprise, when she does decide to make an official comment, if she took the opportunity to send an empowering message about racial identity, as she has in the past.
"While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that," she wrote in her Elle UK op-ed. "To say who I am, to share where I'm from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman."
Read Markle's full essay on her grandfather's story on The Tig.
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