CNN quickly changed their headline to an article about the royal baby after backlash on its phrasing began, Accuracy in Media reports. The article purports to address what the author calls the “dangerous myth” of characterizing the baby as a “Great Mixed-Race Hope.” Currently, the headline reads “Analysis: Don’t use the royal birth to trot out a dangerous myth.” Yet when the piece was initially published, the headline was something quite different.
It initially read “How black will the royal baby be?”
Adding an extra layer of irony to the problematic headline was commentary within the article, which urged racial sensitivity in the midst of a piece which turned out to show anything but.
“Here’s why we should be cautious. The royal baby watch has already resurrected some of the most dangerous stereotypes about race. And in many cases, the commentators who are reinforcing these stereotypes are totally unaware of the damage,” that part of the article reads. Reactions to the headline and the article itself were swift, with condemnation and humor coming from both sides of the political divide.
“This was an ACTUAL @cnn headline yesterday,” said Lynne Patton in an Instagram post on the topic. Patton is an African-American Trump supporter and official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Yet WE’RE supposed to be the racist ones.”
While much of the content of the article was all but drowned out amidst the commentary on the eye-catching original headline, the piece was essentially about opportunities which might exist for productive conversations to educate people on matters of race in the context of the mixed-race child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The piece compares the diverse genealogy of the royal baby with that of former United States President Barack Obama, whose own mixed-race background offered the potential for positive racial dialogue and transformative change.
John Blake, the author of the article, decries what he calls the “fetishization” of interracial children and adults and warns against falling into familiar tropes on the matter.
While the headline of the piece was changed in apparent response to the collective outrage on social media and elsewhere, the same phrasing does continue to appear in the article as the heading of one of its sections. Blake closes with his own personal wish for a world in which the birth of a child like the royal baby would not be obsessed over based on his or her racial mixture.
“That’s the kind of fairy tale I’m waiting for,” he writes.