Megyn Kelly, the new and very expensive addition to the morning of NBC, is gone, for now, and perhaps forever, after saying he did not see the big problem of whites using blackface.
Who could have seen this coming, except for someone who knew something about his career?
Kelly retired on Thursday from "Megyn Kelly Today," after a segment on Tuesday that defended whites for wearing dark pigment makeup in Halloween costumes, a practice that has a degrading history that goes back to the minstrel's shows. XIX century.
For Kelly, this story was just an annoyance, ruining a good innocent moment. "What is racist?" She asked. "When I was a kid, that was O.K. while you dressed like a character." (Sidebar: I'm a few years older than Megyn Kelly, and it was not like that, it's also a long way from 2018).
It was amazing. However, it was nothing new to Kelly and the race, or, for that matter, the vacation. In a December 2013 segment of her old Fox News show about Santa's racial depictions, she told "all the kids they're watching at home." that Santa was definitely white. (She said the same thing about Jesus, which at least is historically debatable).
This was not a race on Fox News, where the "war at Christmas" and the complaint about "political correctness" are incorporated into the brand. Kelly too minimized reports of racist emails sent within the Ferguson Police Department, Mo. and, along with other colleagues from Fox, sensationalist coverage of the New Black Panther Party fringe.
That story was easy to find for anyone who, for example, would consider signing an annual $ 17 million check for a new television host.
Now Kelly, like Roseanne Barr, who was fired by ABC for a racist tweet, could be dating. What is revealing, considering how she and Barr entered.
What led Kelly to NBC may have been, in part, what brought "Roseanne" to ABC, that stunned state after 2016 when the media, stunned by the election results, struggled to be kind to Trump Country.
Kelly seemed to be a way to court that audience without appearing to be an absolute pity. She had faced as moderator of the debate with the then candidate Donald J. Trump, who ruled out his questioning as "the blood that comes out of it everywhere." But it also had a history as one of the most poignant claws of the Fox News eagle, and it could attract viewers who saw NBC as the Liberal enemy.
Regardless of what hired her, displacing "Today's Take," the 9 am program presented by black presenters Tamron Hall and Al Roker, was not an ability to be relaxed and chat on morning television, which never showed before. "Megyn Kelly Today", nor during it.
And it was precisely one of these early morning segments in which he could have seen her.
That may not be accidental. Both Kelly's and Blackface's comments came spontaneously in what appeared to be "light" segments about parties and celebrations, the kind of things that are not considered important news.
But the holidays are precisely the theme of the deepest cultural identity of the people and the best memories of home and family. That's why the annual freakout over the glasses of Starbucks is a resource for conservative media.
And maybe that's why these discussions can be more revealing without realizing that the responses practiced by people to partisan problems. (Kelly has been more assiduously impartial with respect to politics on NBC, while taking firm positions in the #MeToo movement, including accusations of abuse against former "Today" host Matt Lauer).
Kelly's panel on Tuesday was all white, which was a problem in itself. But that may also be why Kelly felt so comfortable doing what (to her, apparently) was a completely harmless comment, no matter how much she saw her comments about Santa.
It is a pattern, and not unknown. It's the kind of comment that comes from people who do not see themselves as racists. They see themselves as, you know, normal. Regular. The default value
They grew up in a world where these normal, predetermined, normal things were, well, they were exactly the way things were were. ("Santa just is white, "Kelly said in 2013, as if to say that the sun rose in the east, and they do not understand why people are so annoying and sensitive now for what they consider harmless.
In the end, it is the reaction of people who did not have to think much about sharing the world with people different from them. They were never asked to learn much about these other people, or to consider how their "harmless" actions, speech and entertainment could exclude or hurt them. Now people like Kelly are asked to learn. And they are puzzled, or irritated, or downright angry about it.
Sometimes this feeling manifests itself in an impromptu commentary on Halloween. Sometimes it's "Why should I say, & Happy Holidays? & # 39;" Sometimes they are tiki torches and "It will not replace us". The degree is different. But everything returns to: Mine used to be the main thing, the automatic thing, and not now, and I do not like it.
That's the cheering force of much of Fox News programming, like Tucker Carlson's prime time cultural war. But NBC has a wider audience and a different staff. In a surprising public display on Wednesday, Roker said that Kelly "owes a greater apology to people of color from around the country" and presenter Craig Melvin said his words were "racist and ignorant."
It's also possible that Kelly simply did not have good enough qualifications to get away with it. It would not be the first time that a television network has done the right thing for the wrong reason.
NBC knew Kelly's resume, after all. I should have known that, in 2013, with the support of Fox and his audience, she He dismissed the critics of "Santa is white" for having made a big deal with a "bad joke" and having shown that "Fox News and his are really big goals."
On Wednesday, with her colleagues condemning her, she apologized, her voice trapped in her throat. "I've never been a P.C. person," he said, "but I understand the value of being sensitive to our history, particularly about race and ethnicity."
He followed with a segment in which PBS presenter Amy Holmes and journalist Roland Martin talked about the history of the black face and the standard of white beauty, defined, as Martin said, as "a white woman with blue eyes and blonde" . a remarkable thirteen minutes of Kelly (white, blue-eyed, blonde) sitting almost in silence, receiving a public lesson from two black guests about her own racial oblivion and that of many white Americans.
I do not pretend to read minds or hearts. Maybe Kelly really sees this time that she said something wrong, instead of being a little reckless, and that she really wants to learn, grow and change.
The people can do this. You may not be paid $ 17 million a year to do it. Maybe, when it comes to matters as basic as this, the learning part should come first.