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Dear Princess Meghan, I Am Mixed-Race and I Am Watching You

Dear Princess Meghan,

I am a girl, and I have great ambitions. I love reading, dancing, swimming, soccer, playing dress up, and being dramatic. I can read a story and totally lose myself in the narrative. It becomes all I want to play and all I want to talk about. You are a story and a good one at that. Your wedding was beautiful. The people, the setting, the horses, the music; it was a fairy tale.

I was watching you.

I watched as you gracefully took center stage while thousands witnessed the event in person; hundreds of thousands showed up to breathe the same air as you rode by in your carriage; and millions tuned in around the world. Your simple elegance was a lesson for me on the importance of being true to yourself. Even with centuries of royal history enveloping the chapel and town, you were true to your individuality and culture. 

I was watching you.

I am a girl like you. I have one parent who is Caucasian and one who is African American, just like you. My identity is trapped somewhere between my mom and my dad. That is true for all children, but especially for me. I exist somewhere in the middle. Am I white? Am I black? I actually told my parents the other day that I wished  I had skin like my mom on my legs and skin like my dad on my upper body.

I am fortunate to have two strong parents who lead by example, but they still don’t look like me.

This is true socially as well. Where do I fit in? I work hard to find my spot, but my family moves frequently — right now we are in England, just like you.

I lose what is familiar each time we move. I have to start over and reclaim my confidence. I yearn to identify with those who are similar to me, but it isn’t always possible.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many African American and Caucasian women who are amazing leaders. However, strong, mixed-race, female role models don’t come along every day.

Including Disney, you have doubled the number of princesses who look like me.

I am watching you.

When I was a “little” girl, all I wanted to do was put on a princess dress and tiara and spin around. I didn’t think much past the pretty girl and the dress.

Now, at the ripe old age of 7, I am more interested in the things that princesses can accomplish. Did you know that Wonder Woman is a princess? Princess Leia is another one of my favorites. I like them because they are brave and fight for what they believe and what is right in the world. A princess can do that. She doesn’t have to wait for her prince to save the day.

I am watching you.

I desperately want you to be that strong role model for me. I want to hear about your humanitarian efforts and how you will use your new platform to continue to do good in the world.

But I also want to know how you dealt with being different growing up. What can you teach me about being comfortable in my own skin? How should I react when girls make fun of my hair? How will I know how to fit in and if I even want to fit in?

I want to look to you, Princess Meghan, to see how to behave with dignity and grace.

I am watching you.

And I will tell you why. You are an advocate for women’s rights, describe yourself as a strong, confident mixed-race woman, and are “proud to be a woman and a feminist.” I believe that girls should ask questions and express their opinions, but research shows that many adolescent girls tend to lose their resiliency and optimism as a host of other issues take over. You are confident and assertive. You say what you believe without being aggressive. Help model that prosocial behavior.

Teach me how to behave with poise without letting my voice get lost in the crowd.

I am watching you.

Abby Kennan Photography

But I am not alone. There is an entire generation of mixed race girls who are looking to you. We are hungry for role models. We want to be able to say, “She is like me,” and be confident in our own identity.

And we are watching.

No pressure.

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