The Duke of Sussex has said that he did not know of the existence of unconscious bias until after his marriage to Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry said that he only found out about unconscious bias when he was “living a day or a week in my wife’s shoes.” The couple have been together for a little over a year and have a son together.
Speaking in an interview for GQ magazine, Prince Harry said: “Once you realise or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself, because ignorance is no longer an excuse.”
He continued by putting his “ignorance” down to his education as a child: “Unconscious bias, from my understanding, having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed. And then, sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realise it, especially then living a day or a week in my wife’s shoes.”
Prince Harry made the comments during an interview with Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson, who made the news when he saved a white anti-BLM protestor during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer.
When the issue of “saying the wrong thing” arose, Harry said: “Not everyone’s going to get it right. And from what I’ve seen, people are desperately trying to get it right – and even when trying to get it right, get it massively wrong.
“And as long as everyone comes at it with an element of, as you say, compassion, because it is scary for people, and it is the case that you’re probably going to get it wrong, you just jump in both feet first.
“And you may still get it wrong, but I guarantee you there’ll be the right support structure and people around to go, ‘You know what? A word of warning: maybe do this and don’t say that.’”
In a wide-ranging interview, the Prince criticised those who sent in complaints about a Britain’s Got Talent routine which saw a recreation of George Floyd’s death. There were around twenty-five thousand complaints received by Ofcom. Harry seemed to cast doubt over the motive behind the complaints.
He said: “We – Meghan and I – spoke to him (Ashley Banjo, a dancer from the group) shortly after that whole process, that whole moment in his life and Diversity’s life. But what was interesting there, from what I was told, was that there were a couple of thousand complaints that came straight after the performance.
“But it was three days later or even a week later that it got up to 20,000. So you start to think, well, how many people actually watch the performance that have complained? Or have they just had their opinion inflamed by what they’ve read?”
The interview is part of this week’s GQ Heroes conference.