The backlash against Meghan and Stormzy shows that Britain is in denial about racism

London (CNN)Prince Harry and his wife Meghan began a new life in Canada last week, having stepped down as senior royals and left the UK. The couple's departure has forced a heated debate on a problem that many say the country is failing to face up to: racism.

People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 19.5% of the population of England and Wales. But some people who identify with this community say that when they call out their experiences of racism, they are shut down. By white British people.
"The white person in this debate always centers it on themselves," author and broadcaster Afua Hirsch told CNN. "It would make more sense if somebody said: I haven't got a lived experience of racism. I would like to understand your perspective."
    From as early as November 2016, Kensington Palace issued statements about the "abuse and harassment" that British media directed at Meghan, noting both the "racial undertones" and the "outright sexism and racism" she experienced as a result. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their shock decision to scale back their royal duties barely three years later, it was little wonder why.
    Inside the Royal family

    CNN's new Original Series goes inside the story of the world's most famous Royal family. "The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty" premieres Sunday, February 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Follow along with #TheWindsorsCNN.

    But many of those who have dared to point out that racism is a factor in the Sussexes' recent move have been publicly slammed for doing so. On the BBC political debate show Question Time, university lecturer Rachel Boyle, who identifies as black, said the UK press "have torn [Meghan] to pieces" because of racism.
    Her claims were deemed as "boring" by white panelist and actor Laurence Fox. He then said that Boyle was "being racist" after she described him as a "white privileged male." The audience applauded Fox, and the pair's altercation trended on Twitter.
    Hirsch, a former barrister who is of African heritage, was abused online after writing an opinion piece for the New York Times on the racism directed towards Meghan. She was also berated on TV by Piers Morgan, host of the popular breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain.
    "I am often requested to go into spaces where I'm the only person of color on TV debates and primetime shows," Hirsch told CNN, describing the experience as "entertainment" for viewers.
    "[They] expect me to single-handedly show them what is racist, prove that racism exists. That in itself is a manifestation of white privilege."
    Appearing on the This Morning TV show, lawyer and activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu was asked to give examples of racism in the UK; she explained that it was "exhausting" having to keep proving that racism exists.
    But Hirsch believes it is important to keep educating people.
    "People think racism is when somebody has in their mind that they hate people of color. [They] will say, 'I don't have a racist bone in my body,' while perpetrating racist narratives. This is an opportunity to show people what racism can look like."