I do not mean any disrespect when I say this, but why did the death and burial of Queen Elizabeth occupy a hurricane-size space in the U.S. news media? (Why do hurricanes take up so much space, for that matter?).
Lesotho, Morocco, and Swaziland have kings, but I don’t remember news coverage of their coronations or burials. Jordan has a king, and we know about the Saudi royal family. Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Japan, and Bhutan all have active, enthroned royal families.
Japan and the Netherlands have more Federal Direct Investment in the United States than Britain does. Actually, little Luxembourg is not all that far behind Britain when it comes to FDI. Does anyone know the name of Luxembourg’s royalty? (Hint: they’re a grand duke and duchess).
In fact, Britain’s King Charles (like his recently deceased mom) is way down the list of wealthiest monarchs. Surprisingly, the King of Thailand is the richest of the royals, so money cannot be the reason the media is obsessed with British royalty.
Americans of British descent are not even the largest ethnic group in the United States; far from it, actually. First are German Americans (14.7%), followed by non-Hispanic African Americans (12.3%), and then Americans of Mexican descent (10.9%). In fact, those of English descent (7.8%) are fewer than Irish Americans (10.6%). All of which begs the question, why are we still so culturally and politically oriented to Great Britain?
Now I should reveal that I am not neutral on this topic. The church I am ordained in, the Episcopal Church, broke away from the Church of England back in Revolutionary times. The folks who organized the Episcopal Church were many of the same people who constructed the U.S. government, and they designed their church to look like the American bicameral system. While a loose-knit association developed between the Church of England and its former colonies (the Anglican Communion), it is not essential nor binding to any members of the association.
Unlike a lot of folks who are proud of their ethnic heritage and want to claim that history, I am no anglophile. I would say the same thing John Adams said when someone asked him about his English heritage. He said it meant nothing to him, for he was an American.
This recent obsessive ogling at British royalty, and the general Eurocentric view of history we have taught, strikes me as vestiges of White privilege and a colonialist past that get in the way of our recognizing how special and charmed we are as a nation to be so wonderfully diverse. Our diversity is a brighter light than any one element of the whole, and we need to get better at holding up and highlighting our constituent cultures and traditions without favoring any single one.
Imagine how much more enlightened we would be if the popular media carpeted the airwaves and digital domain in the same way they did Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, but with the spotlight on the 400 years of slavery in America and its aftermath. Or took us to Puerto Rico in the same way we have been living in Scotland and London for the past 10 days? We could learn so much about our own country, and other countries around the world, if only the media didn’t act as if its audience was predominantly Anglo American.