There's nothing wrong with Whoopi Goldberg's and Raven-Symoné's defense on Wednesday of Fox co-anchor Elisabeth Hasselbeck's recent question about the Sandra Bland incident; it's the other stuff The View co-hosts had to say about "people of color" who harp on race that is off the mark.
But let's start at the beginning.
Bland was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation in Texas on July 10, got arrested and later died while in police custody. People all over the nation have been up in arms about what happened to her, and some don't believe that she committed suicide, as her jailers claim.
The officer who pulled Bland over had asked her to put out her cigarette, a request that she questioned, since she was in her own car. On Monday, during a segment on Fox & Friends, Hasselbeck, a former co-host at The View, asked whether or not Bland's cigarette could have been used as a weapon. Some people didn't like that Hasselbeck was seemingly defending the officer's request.
Goldberg and Raven-Symoné defended Hasselbeck's right to ask that question as a journalist who's trying to get to the bottom of an incident.
But then Goldberg and Raven-Symoné went on and on about "people of color" who are always trying to make "race" and "racism" an issue, when in some cases they are not. Goldberg said that Hasselbeck had never asked her to "pick any cotton," and that she's known Hasselbeck for seven years—all safe-enough indicators, according to Goldberg's reasoning, that Hasselbeck isn't racist.
"People love to throw that phrase around: 'You're a racist, you're this, you're that,' " Goldberg said. "It is not racist to ask a question."
And then Raven-Symoné chimed in.
"There's a lot of people of color that feel like white people shouldn't ask certain questions because they don't understand [racism], and they don't feel like you're being sensitive to it, and I don't think that's fair," Raven-Symoné said.
"Everybody has a different way of looking at stuff, and we have to stop being so sensitive," she continued. "Yes, I know there's racism. Yes, I know there's people who don't like other people of color."
Fair points. But Whoopi, who knew Hulk Hogan was racist?
And I'm not suggesting that Hasselbeck is racist. But, Whoopi, just because you "know" Hasselbeck and she never asked you to pick cotton doesn't mean that she doesn't harbor feelings toward African Americans that may be biased, especially about social-justice issues.
Yes, Hasselbeck has every right to ask questions to get to the bottom of what the officer might have been thinking during Bland's stop, but it's also not ridiculous to question and poke at that line of inquiry, to bring into question the ways in which people may be trying to make Bland into a culprit.
And Whoopi and Raven-Symoné, enough with trying to paint people of color as just a bunch of folks who are overly obsessed with playing the race card. As the great comedian Paul Mooney always asks, "How did the race card get into the deck?"
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features expert advice with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.