NBC morning talk show host Megyn Kelly had a big, educational day today, when she learned—at age 47—that white people painting their skin darker in order to look like black people is bad. (Even—and we can’t stress this enough—if you really love Diana Ross.) Kelly’s unteachable moment came during her show Megyn Kelly Today today, when she asked her panel of fellow blithely smiling white people why people “get in trouble” for “putting on blackface at Halloween,” as though that was the worst consequence available for dressing oneself up in the legacy of American racism. Happily, a number of folks were kind enough to supply Kelly—mostly via Twitter—with the many reasons that blackface and its legacy are harmful to black people in America, all of which might contribute to the aforementioned poor, innocent white people getting in trouble for their, ya know, racist behavior.
Kelly apparently acknowledged her lesson earlier this afternoon, sending a letter to colleagues in which she apologized for her comments and acknowledged that “The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep,” all of which makes it sound like she really took however long she spent on the Wikipedia page for “racism” today to heart. But that didn’t stop her from getting reported on/called out by members of her own network, with NBC Nightly News taking fire at the segment earlier tonight.
The News piece is the latest bit of evidence suggesting that there might be a bit of lingering ambivalence toward the former Fox News host from her new NBC colleagues, who were careful to dip back and add some context about her previous public comments about race. Specifically, they pulled out the clip where Kelly addressed the children of the nation back in 2013, letting them know that Santa Claus—and his buddy Jesus—were both white, no matter what anyone might tell you. And while that does raise the theologically/racially puzzling question of whether Megyn Kelly thinks Jesus should get in trouble for wearing blackface at Halloween, it also points to the fact that she still has a frankly baffling amount of learning to do before she gets to the baseline of basic decency that most of us tend to expect.