News & Opinion


Prince Harry: ‘unconscious bias’ feeds racism. ‘you can only be taught to hate.’

The Daily Beast

July 30, 2019

In the issue of U.K. Vogue his wife Meghan Markle guest-edited, Harry says racism is influenced by “the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in.”

Prince Harry has said “an unconscious bias” can help foster a person’s racism, “something which so many people don’t understand, why they feel the way that they do.”

Harry revealed his views in a conversation with primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall in the September issue of British Vogue, guest-edited by his wife Meghan Markle. In the same interview, he said he would have a “maximum” of two children.

Harry said: “Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say, ‘What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist’—they’ll turn around and say, ‘I’m not a racist.’

“‘I’m not saying that you’re a racist, I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view—unconscious point of view—where naturally you will look at someone in a different way.’ And that is the point at which people start to have to understand.”

Harry added that “just as stigma is handed down from generation to generation, your perspective on the world and on life and on people is something that is taught to you. It’s learned from your family, learned from the older generation, or from advertising, from your environment. And, therefore, you have to be able to have a wider perspective.”

He continued: “You can only be taught to hate.”

Markle’s issue of Vogue includes an interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama, and features a series of profiles (including Goodall) with women “from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice, and open-mindedness.”

The issue, including an editor’s letter written by Markle, has attracted both plaudits and criticism from some commentators in the British press.

Harry also told Goodall that “because of the people that I’ve met and the places that I’ve been fortunate enough to go to, I’ve always had a connection and a love for nature… But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation.”

“What can we learn from nature?” Harry asked Goodall. “People always say, there is nature, then there is us. But we are part of it—we are nature. Unless we acknowledge we are part of this cycle, then we’re always going to be fighting against it. Inevitably, because we’re so good at destruction, we’ll end up winning and nature might end up losing.”

Harry had noticed in himself, he said, “that life is about evolving. You are continually changing, and if you don’t think that every day is a learning process, then life is going to be very tricky for you.”