On Monday night, interviewer Kara Swisher asked Hillary Clinton what she thought of Cory Booker’s statement that with Republicans, “we kick them in the shins.” The former First Lady replied that it was Eric Holder who said that, not Cory Booker. Swisher apologized but then the former Secretary of State said “yeah, I know, they all look alike.”
As one report noted, this “appeared to be a racist comment,” but the interview quickly moved on. On social media some contended Clinton had only been joking and nobody in the establishment media contended that she should drop out of the 2020 presidential race. Contrast the treatment of Megyn Kelly for recent comments about Halloween costumes.
“What is racist?” she asked a panel on her talk show. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay just as long as you were dressing in character.”
Later in the discussion, Kelly recalled Luann de Lesseps dressing up like Diana Ross. “She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day,” Kelly said. “I don’t know how, like, that got racist on Halloween.” Social media trolls targeted Kelly as a racist and on CNN Don Lemon said she lived in an “echo chamber,” and needed to educate herself about that “privilege you haven’t been aware of for 47 years.”
Lemon also charged that “Megyn has taken over for what used to be an African-American woman and a black man who had that slot, who actually did better than her in the ratings, who in this situation would have said it is never to do blackface.” In USA Today, Kirsten Powers charged, “the original sin was that Kelly was hired by NBC at all.”
Kelly “had a long track record of racial demagoguery at Fox News,” Powers wrote. “It would be different if she had come to terms with her own racial animus and worked to overcome it and make amends with the communities she had harmed. But NBC hired an unrepentant Kelly, who spoke with pride of all her work at Fox News.”
While with Fox, Kelly contended the New Black Panthers were a threat, agreed with Mark Fuhrman about “anti-cop biases” and decried the “culture of victimization.” At NBC, “Kelly said blackface was fine on Halloween” and was “apologizing for racist comments.” For Powers, “her meteoric rise could not have happened without the complicity of a system that is far too comfortable with racism, especially when it comes in a pretty white package.” For some of her readers, this might have sounded strange.
In The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, Powers contended that for the left “facts don’t matter, only ideology does, and vilifying your opponents.” They are “at war with the freedom of speech and of legal due process that allows us to find the truth.” Rather than answer an argument, leftists cite “privilege,” which amounts to “a moving target that seems to apply to whomever the illiberal left is up to demonizing that day.”
Ad hominem character assassinations replace argument, and any challenge amounts to “mansplaining,” “whitesplaining” and “microaggression,” all terms deployed to delegitimize. So the pretty, white Powers, a Democrat, seems to have forgotten what she wrote in 2015.
For saying that black people all look alike, Hillary Clinton was not silenced or booted from contention. Megyn Kelly apologized but NBC duly cancelled her segment of the “Today” show. This confirms the double standard, but something else is in play.
In an October, 1993, Friar’s Club event in New York, Ted Danson appeared in blackface and used the N-word more than a dozen times. Danson was roasting Whoopi Goldberg, who said, “It took courage to come out in blackface in front of 3,000 people. I don’t care if you didn’t like it. I did.”
Goldberg actually wrote part of Danson’s routine and went on record that “Whoopi has never been about political correctness. I built my whole career destigmatizing words like ‘nigger.’” Model Beverly Johnson, an African-American, said “if you can’t see the humor at a place where there’s supposed to be over-the-line jokes then there’s something really wrong.”
In 2009 Tyra Banks took heat for a photo shoot that aimed to show a “biracial” look and darkened the skin of some models. In 2012, Beyoncé darkened her skin for an “African Queen” cover on a French magazine, and the star singer took criticism.
In 2018, NBC cans Megyn Kelly for speaking about blackface Halloween costumes. Hillary Clinton says all blacks look alike but gets a pass. The left silences free speech, as Kirsten Powers said, and has killed off humor as well.
Back in 1984 on “Saturday Night Live,” Eddie Murphy performed in the famous “White Like Me” sketch, both hilarious and instructive. That would not happen today. As original SNL cast member Chevy Chase observes, the NBC show is now “the worst f****** humor in the world.” So as Beverly Johnson said, “there’s something really wrong.”