‘PC’ and ignorance
Julianne Malveaux | 11/8/2018, 6 a.m.
Megyn Kelly is off the air at NBC.
After her horridly vapid statement saying she didn’t see anything wrong with blackface, she apologized the next day and even invited journalist Roland Martin on to take her to school. Mr. Martin did a brilliant job in explaining the history of blackface and the way it demeans African-American people, and it was great that he had the opportunity to educate, not only his odious host, but also the millions who watch Ms. Kelly daily.
So Ms. Kelly tearfully apologized, and she listened to Mr. Martin and television commentator Amy Holmes as they talked about race. But does Ms. Kelly “get” why her remarks were so objectionable?
Mr. Martin says she does, but I’m not so sure. She prefaced her apology by saying that she was not a “PC kind of person.” I’m not sure what that means and what is wrong with being “politically correct” if it means being perfectly civil, informed and mindful of others.
If African-American people say that blackface is offensive, it’s not a big deal, Ms. Kelly. It’s offensive. Whether you know the history or not, if members of a group say something is wrong, why not accept it? Or does your white privilege allow you to determine what is offensive and what is not?
This is not the first time Ms. Kelly has put her foot into racial quicksand. Confident in her Aryan-ness, she proclaimed that Santa Claus is white and so is Jesus.
To declare Jesus white, given his geographical roots on the African continent or in the Middle East, is to embrace a special kind of both spatial and historical ignorance. But if you are vested in the world being a narrow white occasion, then you are free to spew racist myths, or shall we say, “fake news.”
On the Santa tip, because Santa is but a fairytale figment of someone’s imagination, Santa’s race is subject to the imagination. Ms. Kelly seemed to have a problem with a Black Santa. Why? Does a Black Santa offend her lily-white sensibilities?
It is tragic to consider that Ms. Kelly has three young children who are undoubtedly being influenced by her warped racial views. But NBC may be reconsidering their relationship with Ms. Kelly. It would be no great loss if she were bounced off the air, though there are some who think she has learned her lesson sufficiently to continue her career.
What if, instead of losing her job, she was involved in a “black immersion” experience? What if she had to spend a month in a dormitory at Bennett or Spelman colleges, spending time with the young black women she seems not to have taken into consideration heretofore?
What if her conversation with Mr. Martin could be the first of many, and she was directed to spend time with Essence Editor Emerita Susan Taylor, with NNPA Chair Dorothy Leavell, with Jada Pinkett Smith, with Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. and with others? Might that make a difference for the ill-educated Ms. Kelly?