That was my first thought after listening to Meghan’s disclosure about blackface that has done a couple of things. Number one it has created another distraction from the fact that only 77,000 votes got Trump in office. And well over a million registered voters didn’t vote at all. Stop Playing with your life people. Yes, we must call out the Meghan Kelleys of the world but if you don’t get out and vote you need to kick yourself in the ass when confronted with them.
So, I heard the outrage from all of #WOKE America reigning down on her and I was like. WTF. Did I miss something? Is it really that shocking that a woman like Meghan would come out of her mouth like that. When did we get so complacent that we did not notice her insensitivity to the African American experience in her past conversations even before she made it to NBC. So, I was like, shut the from door. I mean, would it be less offensive if instead of blackface, she would have said a Diana Ross mask? And, for me, the reaction is still the same, Meghan Kelley has not walked enough miles in Diana’s shoes and she never will.
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH
People prefer others to hide their truth self because it allows them to hide their own. But all over the place we are being encouraged to support our freedom of speech but we forget the result of that is being sole responsible for the outcome.
This is what I’ve come up with.
These are the questions I’m left with as I recall the history of the minstrel shows and my own journey as a person of color, African American, Native American, Jewish American… who gets overlooked for parts in a play about slavery because my skin is too light. And, shunned by employers because my skin is too dark. I asked myself, why is it that Meghan Kelly’s comment landed on the side of me that says, we should all be free to have an opinion, love who we want and be accepted or not. The part of me born of the fact that I sit on the leading edge of unconditional love. Which makes it possible for me to see the fundamental problem with Meghans comment and the hypocrisy of the backlash all at the same time?
WHO’S TO BLAME
I’ve watched the media push the envelope of diversity and inclusion ever since they became the buzz words primarily focused on making sure companies employ more women and Latinos. I think they felt like Affirmative Action settled the whole black thing.
Now we have the LGBTQ movement for inclusion which is primarily advancing the agenda of the white gay male with the rest of us trying to fit in where we get it..if you ask me. But, I will leave that subject for another blog.
So, Meghan Kelly, here we are in 2018. The level of diversity within a company is being judged on the number of marginalized people they have at the family/friends day bbq or in the production meeting. Some stats relate to how many are in the board room but still the vision is the decision of the majority stakeholders.
Diversity invites people to the board room but inclusion would give them a real position in the overall direction. People like Meghan see the diversity smoke screen and think things are all equal and fall into the cracks of her privilege.
Privilege is not black and white. Its entitlement based on a perceived status or position.
People who have not experienced marginalization of can’t know how it feels to be marginalized. Its like lovers in bed. If one of them have a dream the other may get a vivid description of that dream but they can’t experience it like it really happened.
Meghan, I take liberty to assume, has not experienced the traumatic effect of “black face” and in a world that distorts diversity and inclusion. She is now looking like a deer in headlights apologizing for what she has been told she did wrong.
She still does not get it.
Her fault is in apologizing for being honest about how she felt about Halloween. Not in her perceived ignorance (if we are to believe she didn’t know).
Lets say for the sake of argument Meghan does know about slavery and maybe even knew of “coonery” way before she had a moment to think and come back with her apology. She still does not have the experience of living in those horrors. But, she has lived through many Halloweens and costumes without a thought of anything but what a cool holiday to play dress up. She like many others are not equipped to instinctively pull upon a shared experience of racism or degradation that prevents them from making comments that are insensitive to others.
I don’t care how much diversity training they get.
And, because of this, there are a lot of people, like Meghan, who don’t know what to say. Many stay away from the conversation completely out of fear of having to apologize for something and trending on twitter. Subsequently in the midst of this lack of sound knowledge people of color, transgender and women are being thrown in the diversity potluck with the non marginalized. They show up but the groups only eat with each other. This is the problem with most diversity and inclusion training that is being shoved down our throats by the networks who perpetuate the bullshit more than any other elitist groups except maybe Hollywood.
Here’s the deal, you can’t hire a diversity officer, enforce a workshop, make sure the numbers look good and fail to hire someone who facilitates the deep dive into how our unique expereinces create biases that are not to be expelled. The have to be embraced for what they are and used to foster more understanding or they come back to bite a Meghan Kelly on the arse.
There is something for that.
It’s something I use in my workshops. I ask attendees to remember a time when they felt left out of something and share it with a someone in the room they have never met before. I give examples like not getting picked for kickball or getting invited to a sorority sisters wedding or being overlooked in the family group chat or having someone like everybody else’s comments on facebook except yours.
Maybe you didn’t get the bonus but did all the work.
Most people know what being left out feels like. We do a couple of more exercises within our circle of trust and then I ask them to think about that feeling whenever they find themselves shunning someone.
WE HAVE ALL DONE IT!
The more you practice that and own your own stuff, you give yourself room to make mistakes and also learn to listen to what people are saying in the moment they respond to some dumb shit you say. You will learn to course correct immediately and eventually you will be smarter than the person who gets a national platform to expose their biases.
It’s called putting your foot in your mouth.
So, did Meghan Kelly put her foot in her entitled mouth? Yes. Do any of you know what that feels like? Yes.