The Ridiculous Seriousness of the Whoopi Goldberg Suspension
ABC News has suspended Whoopi Goldberg from The View for two weeks because of remarks she made about the Holocaust that included saying, it was “not about race … it’s about man’s inhumanity to other man.” The remarks offended some people, so Whoopi Goldberg talked to those people and, a few hours later, apologized (twice) for her remarks. “My words upset so many people, which was never my intention. I understand why now and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful and helped me understand some different things.” So a person named Goldberg said something possibly marginally offensive about the Holocaust and then apologized about it right away and that’s cause for suspension?
Whoopi’s suspension is ridiculous. First, it came by way of the head of ABC News, which either raises The View to the level of serious news or (more likely, given the state of TV news) lowers the level of serious news to that of The View. But there’s something much more important at play. I’m a Jew. I’m the son of Holocaust survivors. Our country is under grave threat by right wing extremists following a fascist-curious sociopath who is inciting violence to get back to the White House. Full blown Holocaust denial is back in vogue and related books are being banned from schools. Antisemitism is on the rise in America and homegrown terror groups are increasingly determined to act on their hate. Trust me. Whoopi is not the problem you should be worried about. At this point in American history, anyone on the side of democracy needs to lock arms and work together. We don’t have time or energy to waste on frivolous infighting. Consider the alternative: ABC leaves Whoopi on the air, she would have spent the week apologizing, we might have even had some minimally sane discussions about racism, antisemitism, etc, and the pro-democracy and pro-idea side would have come out looking slightly more reasonable. Instead, we got this.
I made this point on Twitter last night and I got a response from the Auschwitz Memorial twitter account: “Dave Pell, Please consider following AuschwitzMuseum where every day we commemorate the victims & educate about the tragic human history of Auschwitz.” As I replied, “I commemorate them every day already.” My effort to offer what used to be called perspective was sucked into social media enhanced hysterical tsunami where irrational fears trump (pun intended) rational concerns about actual threats. Now the son of Holocaust survivors is being advised to commemorate the Holocaust. Something tells me that shouldn’t be the focus of Jews at this moment in history.