Megyn Kelly has once again found herself in deep shit after making comments that some (*cough cough* pretty much everyone) perceived as racist. Known for keeping her audience on the edge of their seats with her blunt comments, Kelly has acquired quite the reputation for stirring up controversy. For example, when she said, “Jesus was a white man, as is Santa” when talking about white privilege. Or when she claimed a young girl “was no saint,” despite a cop clearly rough-handling her. She simply has a gift when it comes to making headlines.
With such an outspoken personality, it came to no one’s surprise that Kelly decided to address controversial costumes on air the day before Halloween. However, America was startled to hear her viewpoint on blackface. When the topic was brought up, Kelly suggested that blackface was acceptable “as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
In addition, she went so far as to defend people who wear blackface costumes, asking the audience, “What is racist? Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween… back when I was a kid that was OK.”
To clear things up: blackface has actually never been okay! And yup, it’s super racist! Luckily, many viewers caught on and quickly turned to social media to roast her. Ouch.
But wait isn’t blackface only a joke? NOT AT ALL. In case you’re still confused, blackface is way more than an “innocent” way to depict a black character. In fact, its American origins can be traced all the way back to the nineteenth century when white actors applied black grease paint to mock slaves and freed blacks. They also used it for minstrelsy, in which they acted in(hugely popular) performances meant to shame African-Americans and paint them as inferior and non-human.
At this point, you might be thinking: well, I’m not racist so it doesn’t really matter if I’m wear blackface. WRONG! It doesn’t matter if you’re racist or not as the effects of such a costume doesn’t change. By embracing blackface, you dehumanize, mock, and dismiss the emotions of others. Ultimately, it’s a symbol of racism.
After these blackface comments, Kelly’s own colleagues started publicly voicing their disapproval. In response, she quickly sent an apology email to her “friends and teammates” later that same day. However, that wasn’t enough for NBC. As a result, the network decided that it was best to suspend her live broadcasts as the network fought over what to do with her. By the end of the week, it was decided that she would be fired. Forced by NBC executives, she expressed a tearful on-air apology to everyone she offended. Yikes.
So what does the future hold for Megyn Kelly now? It’s our hope that she’ll ditch her typical offensive humor in favor of “things-that-people-actually-find-funny.” Then perhaps, she’ll no longer find herself in these situations. Only time will tell.