Rachel Stovall

Megyn Kelly will not be returning to “Today.” And that is no surprise. She defended blackface as a Halloween costume.

I think that political correctness goes too far sometimes. It’s annoying being constantly corrected about minute details.

Ironically, I understand what Megyn said. I understood the discussion. In a perfect world, her words would have been accepted.

Well, this is no perfect world.

Sorry Megyn. Race can’t be “faced” by everyone in the same way. We may be equal according to the Constitution, but as a society we have not learned how to apply that equality. And we certainly are not seeing fairness all the time, in the justice system, schools and some other institutions.

I know how this happened. Megyn prides herself on being colorblind. Unfortunately, Kelly has just discovered that identity politics is like a field of landmines. And being blown up is always the same, you will be accused of being racist and you won’t understand why. That is the problem with not seeing color.

I know that many reading this column hate political correctness. However, when it comes to race and politics, you must develop the ability to understand identity, ethnicity and how it plays out. There are rules. Having a knowledge of these rules is the only way to see the landmines.

Rule No. 1 — Be careful with your words. The discussion on television that day really revolved around cross-cultural costuming. And there is nothing wrong with imitating in costume someone whom you admire. Dress up like Diana Ross or Dolly Parton if you wish. But don’t change your skin color to do that.

I am hardly advocating becoming the speech police. We’d all be in jail if offending with words were a crime. What I am saying is the term “blackface” is so racially and emotionally charged that using it can only lead to disaster.

Rule No. 2 — Avoid racial trauma. In identity politics, skin color is the often the entrance to the past (or present) trauma of a group. Do not step near the pain of people of color. The reaction will be terrible.

At times, we need to admit that our government has engaged in some terrible lawmaking, tyranny and unfair acts toward minority groups. Some of our citizens have engaged in some bad acts as well. Sometimes that happens today. When bad behavior is based on a belief that certain minority groups are inferior, we call that racism.

Healing trauma begins with acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Victims must be heard and believed.

I am not saying that there is no imbalance the other way. Often, minorities who never experienced slavery, virulent racism or Jim Crow laws are told to be angry. This even applies to people in black families who have financial privilege, great family structure and social status. Even if you have had few bad racial incidents, you are told that you must be angry for everyone who might have had bad incidents.

It doesn’t matter which place a black person is coming from. African-Americans should not be told that people mocking them in blackface is acceptable. Megyn should not have touched this.

This brings us to rule No. 3 — If you don’t like being controlled about race, then don’t try to control others about race. Some among us would call that the golden rule. Looks like Kelly forgot about that one when she made those remarks. She seriously expected those black people in her audience who watch her or colleagues like Al Roker to accept her blatant disrespect.

Don’t be like Megyn Kelly.

Stop being colorblind. See color and respect it as the positive representation of culture and equality that it is.

Or simply apply the golden rule. Treat all people fairly. We should at least try to avoid what reasonably hurts people around us.

Disliking political correctness is not a good excuse to act like a jerk. As the president has said recently, civility is what we should expect from one another. Megyn should have known that.

You need to know that.

Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Also a fundraising, media and marketing consultant, Stovall is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.

Load comments