KEY POINTS

  • John Barnes is not a fan of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
  • However, the football legend believes not all critics of the royals are racist
  • Barnes believes it's important to separate the idea of racism and a person's character

Critics of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been dubbed racists, but according to football legend John Barnes, the power couple also has a lot of Black attackers. 

Barnes spoke with Sunday Times Magazine to promote his book "The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism." During the interview, he weighed in on the issues about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

"I'm not a big fan of theirs," he said. "A lot of Black people I know aren't. The problem now is that if you don't like her, people will call you a racist when it's got nothing to do with that."

He went on to say that "it's important to separate the idea of racism and her character as a human being."

The ex-Liverpool ace also shared his thoughts about what Prince Harry and Markle shared during their interview with Oprah Winfrey which sparked racism allegations against the royal family. The duchess said a member of the royal family asked how dark her unborn baby's skin color would be.

For Barnes, who was born in Jamaica and one of the first Black footballers to play for England, there was nothing wrong with the question. Personally, he "would expect that conversation to be had by the family. People will always wonder what the baby will look like and if it is going to be dark."

According to him, there was no issue about the question and Black people would normally respond to those inquiries with "Yeah, so what?"

Barnes wasn't the only one who noticed that Markle's critics were dubbed racist. Columnist Christina M. Flowers, in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2020, weighed in on the public's reaction after the Sussexes decided to step down from their royal duties.

"It is possible to criticize Meghan Markle without being racist. The fact that I don’t like Meghan Markle has nothing to do with her skin color. It has to do, as someone once said, with the content of her character," Flowers wrote. 

Piers Morgan was also called racist when he reacted to Markle's statement during her and Prince Harry's interview with Winfrey. The British TV presenter said he didn't believe that the duchess was suicidal and that cost him his job. His pal Sharon Osbourne was also called racist for defending him on "The Talk."

Osbourne had a heated exchange with her co-host Sheryl Underwood after the former seemingly defended her pal.

"What would you say to people who may feel that while you're standing by your friend, it appears you gave validation or safe haven to something that he has uttered that is racist, even if you don't agree," Underwood told Osbourne.

"I very much feel like I'm about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend, who many people think is a racist, so that makes me a racist?" Osbourne fired back. "What does it gotta do with me? How could I be racist about anybody or anything in my life?"

The show was put on hiatus for weeks. When "The Talk" returned, Osbourne never came back.

"I'm angry, I'm hurt," she said on "Real Time with Bill Maher" in April. "I've been called so many things in my life… but a racist is one thing I will not take."

Barnes' "The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism" is already available for pre-order. It will be released on Oct. 14.

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, seen in September 2021, will serve as 'impact partners' for the investment firm Ethic Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, seen in September 2021, will serve as 'impact partners' for the investment firm Ethic Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss