Media/Entertainment

Did Megyn Kelly just have a PC moment?

Megyn Kelly

Did the conservative NBC pundit just demonstrate a bit of empathy?

This was interesting:

Hours after Megyn Kelly complained on her Today show hour about a PC-police Halloween costume crackdown preventing the donning of blackface for Halloween, she sent a note of apology to NBC colleagues.

“Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views,” she said, previously having missed this decades-old conversation. Kelly said she realizes “now” that it is “indeed wrong,” adding her revelation that “the history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent, the wounds too deep.”

In closing, Kelly offered this intriguing thought:

I’ve never been a “pc” kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age. Particularly on race and ethnicity issues which, far from being healed, have been exacerbated in our politics over the past year.”

But wait a second. Isn’t being “sensitive” on “race and ethnicity issues” which “have been exacerbated in our politics over the past year” … isn’t that at its core the very definition of political correctness?

Wikipedia defines it this way:

The term political correctness (adjectivally: politically correct; commonly abbreviated PC) is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. Since the late 1980s, the term has come to refer to avoiding language or behavior that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting groups of people considered disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race.

“I’ve never been a ‘pc’ kind of person” is obviously aimed at defending her conservative cred. However, as is usually the case with sentences built on the “I’m not _________, but _________” model, it’s the part after the comma you want to pay attention to.

I imagine NBC higher-ups had a word with Kelly (that’s the “listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues” thing she references), and no doubt their points of view were persuasive.

But I’d like to think maybe her apology is genuine. Maybe she’s learning and growing. Maybe someone today helped her understand how hurtful blackface can be and why. Maybe she saw an issue from a new direction. Maybe she got it.

Or maybe NBC threatened to sack her and take away that huge paycheck, which wouldn’t end her career, but it would sure put a hink in her obvious desire to mainstream her brand. No idea.

But another term for “political correctness,” which is essentially conservative code for “not a bigot like I am,” is “empathy.” It’s what makes us human.

I hope Megyn Kelly discovered an untapped vein of it in her soul today.

2 replies »

  1. I like to think that people can grow and learn, no matter what their political persuasion. I’m glad to see this borne out here. But, I’d like to point out that “PC” in conservative circles means “those over-the-top crazies” who squelch free speech, and has nothing to do with simply being considerate in language. For example: https://home.isi.org/truth-or-propaganda Not saying that’s true, just that’s how most of my family (and many friends) sees it.

    • I’m not overly bothered by this kind of narrow use, despite the fact the term is a conservative rhetorical tool aimed at squelching conversation. That over-the-top element certainly exists and truth is they drive ME crazy, too.

      I’m more used to how the term has been generalized, though. Anymore it seems to be a synonym for progressive. What Kelly says here is actually not far from the whole liberal ideal. Let’s be aware of history and sensitive to the impact of words and actions on those who it has victimized.

      It’s ridiculous that has become a partisan issue in some corners, init?

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