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Michele Tafoya should probably stick to sports. On Tuesday morning, the NFL sideline reporter sat down for her first of two days as The View guest co-host, and she quickly sent the show spiraling with comments about COVID-19, "culture wars," and teaching children about racism. Tafoya's bizarre asides were repeatedly shut down by Whoopi Goldberg, who suggested the guest co-host was being willfully obtuse about major topics of the day, particularly systemic racism. "You know — you live in the United States," said the longtime moderator, her voice dripping with disdain. "You know that color of the skin has been mattering to people for years."
Tafoya's big day on The View started with a discussion about the Atlanta Braves' controversial Tomahawk Chop. While the sportscaster said that the Braves should "discourage" fans from doing the cheer, she suggested the team "change their name to the Atlanta Brave, singular," to represent their courage. "That won't work. It's got the same implication," said Joy Behar, as the co-hosts nodded in agreement. "'Braves' is just plural. It's the same thing."
A few minutes later, Tafoya compared the Tomahawk Chop debate to a "very, very, very close relative" who doesn't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine because he believes he has immunity from "surviving" the virus. "He has more immunity than I do with my two shots," she said, prompting a series of questions from the co-hosts, including Sara Haines, who said that the unvaccinated are "allowing this virus to keep mutating, which betrays the people that chose to have the vaccine, and possibly the immunity he got naturally."
"Even if you do get the vaccine, there's a chance it's still going to morph and mutate and evolve," replied Tafoya. "But it's like the flu though! The flu kills people, too!"
Tafoya's remark earned her a harsh rebuke from the co-hosts. "It's not even close to being the same thing. That is not quite so," said Goldberg. "Well, explain that to me. Educate me, then," replied the guest co-host.
And educate her they did. Goldberg proceeded to say that she doesn't "want [Tafoya's relative] anywhere near her seven-year-old great granddaughter because she can't get the shot," while Haines hit her with statistics about COVID versus the flu, Sunny Hostin reinforced the meaning of public health, and Behar asked if she was vaccinated. "I am vaccinated," insisted Tafoya, at which point Hostin said "she wouldn't be here if she wasn't," as everyone on The View's set is required to be.
But Tafoya's clash with the co-hosts didn't end there. After the commercial break, the panel discussed the right's obsession with "critical race theory," and the guest co-host once again found herself on the opposite side of the argument when she asked why we're "even teaching that the color of the skin matters." Said Tafoya, "To me, what matters is your character and your values!"
Once again, Goldberg stepped in to school her, this time about the realities of racism in America. "We need white people to step up!" said the EGOT winner. "But they've been doing that since the Civil War!" replied Tafoya, as Goldberg shouted, "No, no, no, no they haven't!"
"What do you mean they haven't?" asked Tafoya. "When you have a country — or let's talk about a state where somebody can be hung from a tree and it's okay?" replied Goldberg. "It was okay in the South. People did it all the time. People would run you down. Not that long ago. They were lynching people!"
"I love having this conversation because I feel like it's important," she continued, explaining that when her grandfather returned from WWI, "he still had to step off the sidewalk" to allow a white person to pass. When Tafoya said that story makes her "sick," Goldberg insisted that's exactly how she should feel. "It should," said the longtime moderator. "We need more people to feel like that so we can get to the place that everybody thought we were with race and all the conversations."
"But America has had her reckoning," concluded Goldberg. "It continues to happen because unless we can say, 'This is what the country was like. This is what we don't want to be anymore' — we have to teach the little ones."
Michele Tafoya will return to The View tomorrow for her second day as guest co-host. What fresh hell awaits us then?
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.