April 29, 2018

Joy Reid had a bit of a reckoning on her show Saturday morning, addressing the controversy of her long-defunct blog and some of her anti-LGBQT language and statements. For the tweets, comments and writing she knows she wrote, she apologized in full. There was also homophobic writing she believes were inserted to her blog by someone else, but admits she cannot prove this. She denies writing them, but that is almost a moot point, because she knows she still needs to ask forgiveness for the things she admits she DID write, and show that she has grown away from them.

She had a slew of high-profile members of the LGBQT community, and invited them to hold her to task for her actions and not be shy about the damage they've caused.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Joy when this happened, I was hurt. But not by anything that was attributed to you. I was hurt because the Joy I know and have known for probably more than 10 years certainly before all of this stuff, is not the Joy that I know. The Joy that I know is someone that stands by me personally. Stands by me and my husband. Stands by me and my community. I don't know a better place for me to be right now than to sit in the chair next to you. When things like this happen we always tend to focus on the person who is bearing the brunt of the criticism and the brunt of the controversy and the reason why people tune into this show and the reason why people trust you is because you realize that this is not about you. This is about people who are impacted by the words that are being attributed to you and I think it was incredibly important for us to remember that people change. Times change.

There was a lot of discussion about the damage these words do to the people who suffer in silence, and fear being who they are in the open, and not one of the eight people she brought on to discuss this softened the edge of that. Capehart did, however, praise her for not centering herself in this episode, and for focusing on the impact her words had on other marginalized people. (Gee, I wonder if our 45th "president" would ever understand the value in that?)

Reid's guests did, however, make it clear they were concerned about something deeper regarding this episode. The atmosphere surrounding the piling on of Reid for things she said and wrote years ago, that she herself brought to the attention of her bosses and the FBI when she feared she'd been the victim of cyber-interference, seemed to focus on the wrong things to them.

CAPEHART: ...there are a lot of people sitting out there watching that might be tuning in because it's like the coliseum for them and they want to see you eviscerated. For those who have not evolved, who have not changed, who are waiting for you to crumble and everyone to reign down condemnation on you. Good luck with that. [Looking directly into the camera] Change your hearts. Evolve. Just like the rest of the country. (emphasis mine)

And Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs for GLAAD took it even further - questioning the motives of the people trying to bring Reid down.

STOKES: And I think we have to recognize this for what it is. This is a part of a new political and cultural landscape in this country. It's search and destroy, and this is part of a concerted effort by people that do want to roll back our progress; to take down voices that are powerful, that are our allies. And when you look at what's happening in Washington D.C., we talked about this list of progress that we've experienced for the last decade or so, this Administration has attacked our community more than 70 times since Donald Trump took the oath of office in ways that amount to the trans military ban, taking us off the census, and much more sinister ways, like sending a clear message to business owners that it's okay to discriminate. So I think we have to recognize this for what it is and recognize that as a progressive community we have to remain with our arms locked, because that's the only way we move forward together. And we need to reward people for taking that journey towards acceptance, because that's what it is, and you're modeling that.

Indeed, Zeke. In determining the value of an apology to a group to which I don't belong, I tend to look to members of that group to see how they receive it. The message of this particular group was loud and clear. Do better, Joy. But let's focus on the real damage this Administration is reigning down on the LGBT community first and foremost.

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