After The View’s Joy Behar voiced offhand bewilderment as to why nurse and Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope,” nurses were understandably rustled. On today’s episode Behar went on to dig that hole a little deeper saying she wasn’t trying to be funny (good, because nobody is laughing) and that she merely “wasn’t paying attention.”
“Let me speak for myself. Apparently I was just not paying attention," Behar said. "I was looking at a Miss America tape and there's a woman wearing like an outfit with a stethoscope, and I'm thinking, ‘Is she in costume?’ I didn't know she was a nurse. I’m used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits. It is not like I was trying to be funny. It was stupid and inattentive on my part. I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.”
Um, Ms. Behar? This is what we call a “not-pology.” We’re all happy how much you love nurses and that you can admit when you aren’t paying attention, but I think we were all expecting a little more here. The most inattentive thing about this is your lack of recognition of the reason why you made so many undervalued people feel even less valued.
Nurse Hilary Helkenn says this a lot better than I can. In a response to the original stethoscope blunder, she went to The View’s Facebook page:
“Hey Joy and ladies of The View! This is my nurse uniform. For the last 20 years, I have put it on and bravely walked into hospitals to care for the ones you love. See my stethoscope? It is a NURSE stethoscope too. I use it to listen to a child's lungs, so I can quickly get them to the appropriate level of care, reassuring both child and parent. I also use it to listen to our elderly loved ones, who sometimes have aging hearts that go into abnormal rhythms. It is the NURSE that usually sees the patient first, and it is often the NURSE that notifies the doctor of what is going on. I have helped to deliver babies, and I have held the hands of the elderly as they left this world. I love the physicians I work with, & I have the utmost respect for them, but it is often the NURSE you meet first and the NURSE that is the one responsible for your care. Your comments denigrated our most noble profession. You owe all of the nurses of this world an apology [sic]."
When you make tone-deaf comments about people who already receive less respect than they deserve, it of course matters what you intended. But if you actually want to show support for the group you unintentionally threw under the bus, it wouldn’t be a bad start to actually address how your comment was “misconstrued.”
Show your viewers that you understand why this topic is sensitive rather than dismissing your critics as not understanding you.