There's an adamance among some people to portray the entire Arab world as a camel-packed desert inhabited by barbaric human beings.
This portrayal has led to the normalization of "camel remarks and jokes" regarding Arabs, generally used by racists when referring to the region and its people. Many individuals have played into this unacceptable form of bigotry and it now looks like the list includes a member of the British royal family.
Earlier this week, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, made headlines after he was accused of making racist comments about Arabs during a 2007 state dinner held in Buckingham Palace in honor of the Saudi royal family. It's noteworthy that the duke was seated right next to Saudi Arabia's late King Abdullah at the event.
The allegations were brought forth by former UK home secretary Jacqui Smith during a Sunday episode of an LBC podcast she co-hosts with Iain Dale.
The politician, who served in the role between 2007 and 2009, claimed that the prince made "unbelievable" remarks in front of her and a few others at the state dinner.
During the podcast, Smith and her co-host were discussing the royal's recent controversial BBC Newsnight interview in which he said he didn't regret his friendship with sex offender billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The latter was found dead in a New York jail back in August while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
While discussing the prince's relationship with Epstein, Smith said:
"I met him [Prince Andrew] several times, including once at a state banquet where after dinner, I and my husband and another Labour cabinet minister had a drink with him, and I have to say the conversation left us slack-jawed with the things that he felt it was appropriate to say. It was a state dinner for the Saudi royal family and he made racist comments about Arabs that were unbelievable."
The politician refused to reveal the prince's exact wording but explained his statement "involved a comment about camels," adding that "it is as worse as you could imagine." During the podcast episode, Smith revealed that she and those who were with her regretted not challenging the duke over his comments at the time.
Not the first racism allegation against the royal
In the wake of the latest scandal, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman rejected Smith's claims. In a statement to The Independent, she said the prince "has undertaken a considerable amount of work in the Middle East over a period of years and has many friends from the region. He does not tolerate racism in any form."
On Monday, the palace had to deny another racism allegation made against the prince by Rohan Silva, former prime minister David Cameron's technology advisor. Silva, who's of Sri Lankan descent, accused the royal of using the N-word during a conversation between the duo in 2012.
The advisor explained that the incident took place after he asked the royal if the government's department responsible for international trade "could be doing a better job," to which the royal allegedly responded: "Well, if you'll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile."
The serious allegations against the prince, who's eighth in line to the British throne, come at a time when he's facing major sexual harassment and rape allegations in connection to Epstein's case.
In recent months, Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers, "claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times." He has continuously denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.
Earlier this week, British news outlets reported that the royal would be stepping away from his public duties mainly due to the heavy backlash his BBC interview generated and the fact that his link to the Epstein scandal has become "a major disruption" to the royal family.
In a statement on the matter, the prince seemed to backtrack on his previous comments regarding Epstein, saying he deeply sympathized with the sex offender's victims and regrets what he deemed an "ill-judged association" with him.
The royal's words did little to ease the suffering of victims and he is expected to face charges in any case he is found to be involved in "as the FBI and lawyers for some of Epstein's alleged victims wanted to talk to him under oath."