Did ABC miss a learning opportunity by suspending Whoopi?

ABC’s decision to suspend Whoopi Goldberg from “The View” for two weeks over her comments about the Holocaust has opened the network to criticism that his response derailed a teaching moment for the nation on a sensitive topic that is often misunderstood and rarely discussed in the news. air is discussed.

Goldberg sparked a media frenzy on canceling Monday when she said on the show that the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II was not about race, but rather “the inhumanity of man to man” and that the conflict between “two white groups of people.” The Nazis were white supremacists who wanted to exterminate what they saw as an inferior race.

Her suspension came after she apologized on Twitter that night and on the show the next day, which featured the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League at her invitation. The network’s action sparked strong emotions and divided loyalties over whether the politically liberal actor should be canceled or advised.

Isaac de Castro, editor of Jewcy, an online platform for young Jews, said on Twitter that Goldberg’s insulting comments reflected the inability of many Americans to understand race and racism outside their prism. But he also said in a tweet that “putting a grown woman in time out” does little to settle Jewish identity.

“Now we are talking about whether Whoopi should be suspended or not, instead of talking about the issue in question … and having a broader conversation about anti-Semitism and racism and the complexities of Jewish history,” the deputy said. Castro, who is in New York City and from Panama City, Panama.

While many Democrats turned against Goldberg, some prominent Republicans condemned her while others rushed to defend her.

“DO NOT CANCEL Whoopi,” tweeted Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has long accused the media of silencing the right.

Some viewers threatened to boycott the show for what she said and others for what they saw as the network’s skewed response to a black woman for comments that weren’t malicious.

“Whoopi made a comment that was misinformed, but then people jumped in her throat in ways they haven’t done for non-black celebrities,” said Malana Krongelb, a Boston librarian who is black and Jewish. “’The View’ has a platform that it could really use to educate people. But instead, it’s almost like clickbait.”

Others echoed the feeling that discussion was better than punishment.

“If you want to change someone’s mind, I have to think that education is more effective than public disgrace and punishment. Especially if that person is genuinely willing to learn and apologize,” tweeted Sharon Brous, a rabbi in Los Angeles.

“The View” is an American daytime talk show in which women discuss current topics. They’re encouraged to be somewhat uptight or provocative, and refusing to have an opinion defeats the purpose of the show, said Tom Jones, senior media writer at Poynter Institute.

“It would be nice if these things never happened, but if something good can come out of it, it’s education and it’s people trying to find out more about what she said, why is it offensive?” he said.

Goldberg’s defenders point to one of her former co-hosts, Meghan McCain, who last year apologized for previously whitewashing then-President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric toward Asians.

In a Daily Mail column published Tuesday, McCain said she’s not calling for Goldberg to be fired, mainly because she doesn’t think the show would ever do that to its star. It was unclear whether McCain had written the column aware of the suspension, but she called her apology proof of a double standard — and insisted that it be used as a “teaching” moment.

“Instead of bringing in half-hearted excuses and experts on anti-Semitism, perhaps you could devote an entire ‘Hot Topics’ segment to discussing why what was being said was so deeply offensive and dangerous,” McCain wrote.

Goldberg explained to talk show host Stephen Colbert in an episode that aired Monday night that her perception of race is based on skin color, but she was wrong.

She apologized again on “The View” on Tuesday morning, inviting Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to that day’s episode to talk about the Holocaust. He said in a tweet that he very much appreciated her invitation and that “her apology is most welcome.”

But ABC News president Kim Godwin announced her suspension later on Tuesday. On Wednesday, former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer sat as guest co-host and no one said anything about Jews or the Holocaust.

Announcing the suspension, ABC said it asked Goldberg “to take the time to reflect and learn more about the impact of her comments.” The network did not respond Friday to requests for comment about the public’s response to the suspension.

What people seem to forget is that Goldberg made her comments during an excerpt about a Tennessee school board’s ban from “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Nazi death camps during World War II, said author Frederick Joseph. .

Conservative officials across the country are trying to ban access to books such as “Maus” and the “The 1619 Project,” which put black slavery and black Americans at the center of American history. His own book, “The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person,” is being protested by some parents, he said, because they say it’s indoctrination.

Joseph said Goldberg saw the issue of race through the lens of a black woman in America and that the lens had no historical knowledge of what the Holocaust was actually about.

“But to be honest, as a black American, I didn’t learn much about the Holocaust in school myself,” Joseph said. “I really hope Whoopi learns, I hope Whoopi grows, but how can she if we don’t give her the chance?”

Marginalized groups have long complained that children and teens do not receive a thorough education in the history of Jewish, black and other cultures. It would have been great if “The View” had spent the two-week suspension’s length on serious discussions about the uglier parts of history, they said.

Krongelb, the librarian, says anti-Semitism and anti-black racism have much in common, with both groups suffering from dehumanizing stereotypes and a shared history of exclusion in the US. to sow discord.

“If we just canceled people because they said something problematic or did something that we don’t agree with, those cycles of harm just continue,” she said.

The Anti-Defamation League said Greenblatt was unable to comment on the suspension, pointing to an op-ed he wrote that was published Thursday in USA Today. He said her comments were especially hurtful at a time when Holocaust denial is on the rise worldwide and politicians mistakenly compared mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccines to Nazi actions, further downplaying the Holocaust.

His comments seemed to acknowledge the public power she has.

“She has a great opportunity to use her platform, not just to educate herself, but to share what she’s learning with her audience and the entire country,” he said.


AP officials Gary Hamilton and David Bauder in New York and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

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