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- A British journalist said she didn't realize she was being racist by calling Meghan Markle "exotic."
- Rachel Johnson reflected on her 2016 article about the duchess in a new BBC documentary.
- She said she would be "canceled" if she used the same language today.
Rachel Johnson, a British journalist who called Meghan Markle's DNA "exotic" five years ago, said she wouldn't use the same language today because she would be "canceled."
Johnson is a columnist, author, and sister to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Writing in her column for the Mail on Sunday in 2016, titled "Sorry Harry, but your beautiful bolter has failed my Mum Test," Johnson described Markle as genetically "blessed." She wrote that the then-actress' "rich and exotic DNA" would thicken the royal family's "watery, thin blue blood."
"Miss Markle's mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks who lives in LA, and even the sourest spinster has to admit that the 35-year-old actress is extremely easy on the eye," she wrote.
Speaking in the BBC documentary "The Princes and the Press," which aired in the UK on Monday, Johnson said she didn't realize that the language she used was racist at the time.
"I contrasted the ethnic heritage of Meghan Markle with the ethnic heritage of Prince Harry," Johnson said.
"Of course, that was a few years ago, we wouldn't go anywhere near that now because we would be canceled for making anything about somebody's ethnic background the color of their skin, it would be completely off-limits."
She added that she wouldn't use the words "exotic DNA" if she were to write the same article today.
"Because now I know, and now I've been educated and I've educated myself that 'exotic' is a euphemism for Black, which you don't dare say," she said.
"I agree it was a misfire, because either way you read it, it sounds eugenicist or racist. So let's just forget it," she added.
Racism in the British press is something the duchess has dealt with ever since the news broke that she was dating Prince Harry in 2016, Insider previously reported.
Harry was the first and only member of the British royal family to publicly acknowledge the racism Markle faced when he released an official statement on the subject in November 2016.
"His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," a representative for Harry said at the time. "Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
Representatives for the Duchess of Sussex and Rachel Johnson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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