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About Megyn Kelly’s “Blackface” Remark

The headlines were loud and unequivocal. NBC was canceling Megyn Kelly’s morning show because of her “defending blackface.” She had come under intense criticism by some viewers ever since she had discussed Halloween costumes earlier that week.

On that show, Kelly brought up Real Housewives star Luann de Lesseps, who was condemned because she dressed as Diana Ross for Halloween and made her skin appear darker. “I thought, like, Who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day; I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween,” she said. “It’s not like she’s walking around [wearing blackface] in general.” Kelly referred to the “costume police,” and complained they were going too far.

Malik Russell, a spokesperson for the NAACP, was quick to respond by labeling Kelly’s comments “racist” and accusing her of bias. “Whether Megyn’s bias is intentional or just implicit, it’s still wrong. “Blackface is always racist and never OK,” he added.

Kelly, made an apology at the beginning of a subsequent show and her audience gave her a standing ovation for making the apology. This was also criticized. It was apparently seen as inappropriate for her to get a standing ovation for such an apology.

At issue here are several things. What is racism and who decides it? Are there distinctions to be made as to what is racist or not? Are people who go around calling other people racist and demanding apologies from them also being racist? For many years now we have only allowed radical blacks to decide who’s racist, and whites, like Kelly, have not been allowed to participate in that discussion.

Racism is a national issue and all people of whatever race should be allowed in the discussion. Why should blacks be the only ones allowed to arbitrate and be the judge and jury and mete out punishment with regard to racism? The NAACP called out Megyn Kelly and NBC quickly followed up by proclaiming that she was finished at their company. Apparently, according to reports, they are negotiating her exit in terms of the three-year $69-million-dollar contract she signed with them when they lured her away from Fox News.

To me, this is a form of terrorism and it is hysterical, not reasonable, thinking. When some high-profile person such as Kelly is fired because they have said something that blacks interpret as racism, it sends a chilling message to all white people. White people have been in terror of saying the wrong thing about black people because of such incidents. This gives each black person power over all white people, not to mention people of other races. It is the kind of one-sided, absolute reasoning that is typical of hysteria.

Terrorists do not allow for distinctions. Megyn was trying to make a distinction between someone who wears blackface in a show that is intending to make fun of black people, and a white kid who admires someone (Diana Ross) and dresses up like her, including using darker makeup in order to resemble her all the more. Terrorists are authoritarians and authoritarians do not look at the distinctions. They simply make their blanket demands and expect everybody to follow them.

Racism has become a huge problem in America and in other countries partly because this is the wrong way to handle it. Radical Blacks punish anybody who says anything about black they don’t want them to say. And, at the same time, I have heard certain black people stating that black people can’t be racists, only white people can be racists because white people are the dominant race in America.

Using these manipulative and guilt-tripping techniques has succeeded in giving blacks power over whites, but it has also succeeded in developing a stressful quality of life and prevented a resolution to the situation. If you are a parent and you want your child not to hit his younger brother, yelling at him and calling him a name and demanding that he apologize is not the method that will bring about a resolution. Instead, it will produce resentment in the older child. which will probably lead to more bad behavior.

“It’s black attitudes, not white racism, that’s to blame,” noted black social critic, John H. McWhorter, in City Journal. He criticizes the typical black radical who wants to keep alive the notion of racism against blacks in order to leverage this assumed victimhood and gain special privileges as well as the right to take out their anger on white and blame them for their condition.

There are two sides to every dispute, but radicals like Malik only see their own side and punish all others. The only true solution to the issue of racism would be a mutually respectful dialogue between the races in which all points of view are considered and, through discussion and negotiation, a compromise solution is found.

Unfortunately the radical blacks who have set themselves up as judges and juries of racism would never agree to that. A mutually respectful dialogue between whites and blacks would pull away their power and force them to take a hard look at their own bias, which is the last thing they would ever want to do.

It is Malik Russell and NBC who owe Megyn Kelly an apology.

About Megyn Kelly’s “Blackface” Remark

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D. is a licensed psychoanalyst in New York and has been practicing for over 37 years. He works with adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children. He has graduated from three psychotherapy institutes and received a Certificate in Psychoanalysis from the Washington Square Institute in 1981. He has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of psychology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College since 2002 and has authored thirteen books on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as four novels and a book of poems and drawings. More recently he wrote 20 screenplays (winning four first-place awards at festivals) and produced and directed two feature films.

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APA Reference
Schoenewolf, G. (2018). About Megyn Kelly’s “Blackface” Remark. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Oct 2018
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