England, Germany, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark and Holland are a few of the countries that claim to have populated the word “other.” The word is used often but I wondered why it always annoys me. Why does the word “other” make me uncomfortable? Curiosity got me one day so I went on an “other” exploration. From my 15 minute research, use of the word “other” began to spread in the 12th century. We know the meaning of “other” but did we know that it was originally used to identify the “secondary” item or person or whatever was definitely not primary. In the 12th century, the “other” day meant “the next day”. Four centuries later, the phrase “other half” became popular, not to affectionately identify a spouse or partner, but to distinguish the rich from the poor. Three centuries after that, around 1855, “other” was more often used to describe a man’s outside girlfriend: “The other woman.” I have yet to find a positive feeling when I read definitions and history of the meaning of the word “other.” No wonder I have always felt the same negative vibe whenever I read or hear the word in use today.
“Other” today is used to identify the socially deprived young person in high school who is often bullied. “Other” is still the girlfriend outside the marriage but it’s been expanded to also refer to any “other” children outside a committed relationship. “Other” means the people with whom we don’t associate on the “Other side of the tracks.” The most degrading use of the word may be when one has to check off “other” on an application or form. As long as America, a country founded on diversity, concentrates on racial, religious and gender identification as a determining factor for anything, we will remain behind the times. Again, kneeling is not about disrespect. Kneeling is humbly asking “Please stop treating us like ‘other’.” When some politicians constantly refer to “The American People”, they are not referring to whomever they consider the “other” citizens.
Pontificating and preaching on television news shows on the subject of what to do about guns, school crime, police/community relationships, gang crime, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, genocide, bullying, gender and hate crimes…etc. means nothing, after the fact. Some of us turn to decorating shows when “experts” start yapping after something tragic happens because they don’t know what they are talking about. Society needs to stop the “other” campaign and maybe the pain will ease. Politicians and other so-called experts don’t understand (or don’t care) why the people they treat as “others” are angry. You can’t turn the boat around. You have to guide it in the right direction in the first place.
So here we are at the totally unexpected conclusion: Rachel Meghan Markle, the woman who will soon become the wife of Prince Harry of England. Long before an engagement was announced, yours truly began to follow their moves as much as the internet could find. My husband thought, like lots of men, that it was just a “woman thing”. “Women love prince/princess stories and fairytales and weddings and women dream about that being them” Wrong again my love. Months and months before any in depth media coverage of Meghan Markle’s “background”, High Heels knew the media was going to be confused. We knew they were following a woman who is light years ahead of most people in anybody’s newsroom. Some have called her “shrewd”. (So what!) Early on UK media described her as being “from the streets” of Compton. (She was not homeless), but her upbringing made her ready for the media attacks. We learned something priceless about how her mother raised her. (See our Footnote below).
Like Barack Obama, the media emphasizes her mixed heritage, while still referring to her as black because she has a black mother. That makes her an “other.” What a mess! That is exactly what Ms. Markle felt as a pre-teen watching a tv commercial that to her was gender biased. She wrote to the company and the commercial was changed. She had been treated in her short life to that point as an “other,” so she was sensitive to “other inferences to other.” When I read her blog before she shut it down last year, she wrote about being treated as an “other” all her life. It was her decision to channel that pain into good. I get that. We all do. Women on jobs get it. Admit it or not. You get it!
So for everybody who wants to call her “slick”, “shrewd”, “social climber” and question whether or not she is “fit”, listen up. One hater who really doesn’t qualify to rate Ms Markle, recently said on national television that people should keep an eye on her because she is an actress. My dear who said that: You should not have allowed the world to see you jealous of a woman who channeled the hatred against her into feelings for “others” in the same position, perhaps because you aren’t capable of doing what she has done. She didn’t walk into the school cafeteria and shoot up the place. She didn’t take it out on co-workers or politicians. She studied everything around her, in and out of a prestigious higher education. She worked at both of her majors, which ultimately allowed her to do just what she is doing. She is taking that worldly, sensitive, educated experience to a royal table that needs what she has to offer. Perhaps they are marrying up because mixed race children are about to grow up and rule the planet. Add that to the education, class, experience, style, upbringing and attitude and it makes for success on which to bet. So don’t hate on her and automatically believe she is marrying “up”. For centuries the British Monarchy has been isolated, different and boring. What a sparkle from Markle, teaching them what is means and how to act when one an “Other.” and she did it without Harvey Weinstein.©
Footnote: Having lived in Los Angeles at one point, I have an old friend there who knows Meghan Markle’s mother. My friend told me Meghan is naturally like her mother in two noticeable ways. She said Doria Radlan has always been very engaging when you speak with her, like you are the only person in the room. In my friend’s opinion, Meghan inherited the same qualities, which we have seen in the media. My friend also said Meghan’s mother has always been very private. So now, media, do you understand why and how Ms. Markle was able to maintain her privacy while dating Prince Harry for over a year?
by Dianne Thompson® comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org