TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2022
On The View, no one asked: It's one great thing about membership in our floundering liberal tribe. Especially when it comes to matters of race, you always get to be right!
Consider what happened when Michele Tafoya mentioned something she doesn't like about her children's schools.
Tafoya did this for the first time back in November, appearing on The View. Last Wednesday night, she did so again, this time on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
She didn't mention critical race theory during either appearance. She didn't say anything about the best way to teach our American history in our American schools.
In each case, she spoke to a different type of concern. Within our nation's discussion-free culture, it doesn't much matter what she said. But just for the sake of maintaining tradition, let's try to establish the record.
When Tafoya appeared with Carlson last week, he started by playing some (lightly edited) videotape from her appearance on The View. Below, you see the fuller chunk of what she said on The View about her children's schools
TAFOYA (11/2/22): My kids in school—there is a big, big focus on the color of your skin.
INTERJECTION: How old are your children?
TAFOYA: My children are now 16 and 13—
INTERJECTION: In what way?
TAFOYA: It's been going on since they were in lower school, all right? And it is that there are affinity groups on campus for each—
My son's first best friend was a little African-American boy. They were inseparable. Get to a certain age, they start having what's called an "affinity group," which means you go for lunch and pizza with people who look like you. Suddenly, my son wasn't hanging out with him any more.
His next best friend was a little Korean boy. Years, inseparable. He started going to his affinity groups.
Why are we even teaching that the color of the skin matters? Because to me, what matters is your character and your values.
At this point, Whoopi Goldberg jumped in, and a discussion of a different topic ensued.
The discussion never returned to what Tafoya seemed to have said. Just for the record, this is what she seems to have said about her children's schools:
She seems to have said that her children attend schools in which kids are sorted into "affinity groups" based on ethnicity and race. She seems to have said that kids are directed to go, for lunch and for pizza, with other kids of their own ethnicity and race.
Rather plainly, she seemed to think that this wasn't a good idea. But that's where Tafoya's presentation came to an abrupt halt. After Goldberg responded, a different discussion broke out.
We'll admit that we were curious about what Tafoya had said. We wondered where her children go to school. We wondered about the actual policies to which she was referring.
No one on the set of The View seemed to have any such questions or curiosities. But just for the sake of creating a record, we'll show you some of what we've learned about this situation from a bit of googling.
By all accounts, Lafoya and her husband live in Edina, Minnesota, a high-income suburb of Minneapolis with a population of roughly 54,000. As of last July, Edina's racial / ethnic demographic breakdown looked like this:
Population of Edina, Minnesota
So go Edina's demographics at this point in time. Income levels are rather high. The poverty rate is low.
We've found no record of whether Tafoya's kids attend public or private schools. That said, the leading authority on the Edina Public Schools offers this statement as part of its overview of the highly-regarded school system:
"Since the late 2010s, the district has increasingly gained attention for its social justice curriculum."
There seems to be little doubt that the Edina schools have been engaged in some such effort. In October 2017, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a pair of point / counterpoint essays about the system's focus on issues of racial justice. In her critical essay about the effort, Katherine Kersten wrote this:
KERSTEN (10/9/17): District leaders enshrined [a] new mission in EPS’s “All for All” strategic plan, adopted in 2013. The plan mandates that, going forward, the EPS must view “all teaching and learning experiences” through the “lens of racial equity.”
The “All for All” plan mandates sweeping change to how education is delivered in Edina. For example, it dictates that, from now on, the district will hire “racially conscious teachers and administrators.” It also declares that students must “acquire an awareness of their own cultural identity and value racial, cultural and ethnic diversities.”
In education-speak, this means that Edina children will now be instructed that their personal, cultural “identity” is irrevocably tied to their skin color. This directly rejects the colorblind vision that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pioneered, and that the vast majority of Americans share.
Those are Kersten's views of the "All for All" program. In a counterpoint essay, Professor Annie Mogush Mason voiced a favorable view of Edina's approach, but there doesn't seem to be any doubt that the Edina Public Schools adopted some such new set of procedures during the last decade.
On that basis, we'll guess that Tafoya's kids probably attend the Edina Public Schools. For the record, the district's web site says that its student population is "becoming more diverse," and is now "28.3% students of color."
We'll guess that Tafoya's kids attend the Edina Public Schools. That said, no one asked any such question when Tafoya appeared on The View.
The program's stars showed zero interest in exploring what Tafoya had said. Instead, they launched an exceptionally dull exposition of various obvious ideas which were cluttering up their heads.
Through the magic of videotape, you can watch the two segments of The View in which this non-discussion occurred. If you choose to do so, you'll be watching a remarkable imitation of life—a virtual Platonic ideal of an imitation of discourse.
Tafoya never said a word about the way American history should be taught. We were intrigued by what she had been briefly permitted to say, but the stars of The View were not.
They staged a remarkable imitation of life, in which they pretended to conduct a public discussion. Is it possible that such blinkered and tribalized pseudo-discussions put our political future in peril?
According to several essays in today's Washington Post, there's every chance that they do! But so what? Along the way, we liberals will grant ourselves the greatest gift of all—we'll grant ourselves the gift of knowing that we're always completely right in our tiny handful of basic ideas, no matter what may have been said.
In the next day or two, we'll offer more about the way Tafoya's remarks have been covered. We'll offer more about the way her remarks were received on The View.
For ourselves, we'd like to know more, for good or for ill, about those affinity groups. Within our vastly self-assured tribe, some others may prefer to sound off.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our deeply self-impressed tribe is just extremely limited. Our basic skills are very few; our sense of certainty is strong.
Increasingly, we're inclined to focus on "the journalism of race." But oh, what kind of journalism is this, which goes from bad to worse?
Could our arrogance and our incompetence possibly lead to future disasters? In the wake of that vote in San Francisco, why yes—of course they could!
Tomorrow: Who is Michele Tafoya? Also, who are Tafoya's kids?