“Racism means that a lot of people have a tough time imagining people of colour in places of power and glamour. Specifically, princesses are figured as beautiful and charming, and racist ideas of black women have traditionally positioned them as ugly and bad mannered.”
Although I agree with what I assume is the motive behind the article (http://www.genderacrossborders.com/2012/04/23/a-question-of-royalty-how-black-princesses-are-faring-on-the-international-stage/) I can’t help but interrogate it and in particular the excerpt. I could be wrong but I get the impression that the writer implies that the “black” princesses are just as apt when it comes to exhibiting “white” people’s manners as the “white” princesses and based on this that qualifies them for due recognition. I feel if indeed the point of this piece is to advocate the recognition of brown skinned princesses, particularly those married to European princes, then surely the writer should be highlighting that although our manners may differ from those of the Europeans, they are just as good and deserve the same kind of respect.
In addition this piece, in my opinion, along with the other one who’s link is inserted at the end of this article, lean very heavily towards the eurocentric definition of what a princess makes, from focusing on brown princesses who marry into European monarchies to the innuendos that it is only the glamorous princesses in huge castles wearing jewellery designed by Gauthier who are worth the mention and it is this sort of acclaim that the brown skinned little girls they seem to be representing should aspire to. If we are really celebrating brown royalty, then please, let us celebrate brown royalty and not just brown royalty that only became royalty by “making the cut into whiteness” as well as those born into royalty. Royalty as is defined by taking into consideration the various traditional political systems in Afrika pre colonialism and the few that have managed to survive today such as the Kingdom of the Toro in Uganda with the Princess Komuntale – who incidentally is set to wed this coming July, the Zulu with King Mangosuthu Buthelizi’s daughters and granddaughters who include musical sensation Latoya Buthelezi aka Toya DeLazy; Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini of Swaziland and the Rain Queens of the Balobedu in the Limpopo Province of South Afrika just to name a few.
I appreciate the effort to bring to light the exclusion of brown skinned royalty, particularly those of the female sex, from media focus and celebration but one must be careful that in doing so they are not perpetuating the same stereotypes they are trying fight or even replacing them with equally damaging ones.
© Doreen Victoria Gaura/ Colouredraysofgrey, 2012