Why Whoopi Goldberg is wrong and right.
Co-Host of ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg received major backlash last week, following a statement she made, seemingly implying that the Nazis did not discriminate “on race.” Here’s why that matters.
By: Mo Gerstley
Whoopi Goldberg is not unfamiliar with controversy. After all, the 66-year-old Actress and Commentator have made a name for herself on ABC’s “The View,” a show featuring an array of guests and hosts all of who, promulgate ideas that typically diametrically oppose those of their co-hosts, thus making for some contentious moments. However, late Monday last week, Goldberg received major backlash on Social Media for a moment far more controversial than anything before.
The smears began following the taping of “The View’s,” January 31st episode in which the hosts were discussing the county-wide ban on the novel “Maus,” in certain Tennessee public schools. The book is a 296-page metaphor for the escalation of conflict prior to the Holocaust, exhibited through animal characters in a cartoon-like narrative. Some, however, suggest banning the book to the rare use of nudity in the graphic novel, along with “insensitive language.”
Those claims were, what spurred the decision to ban the book in McMinn County, Tennessee, according to school board officials. However, by banning content that comprehensively condemns the actions of the Nazis through a gripping storyline, due to the rare use of bad language, it trivializes the far worse atrocities committed by the German Government in the 1940s. This sentiment was shared by all hosts of “The View,” but once fellow Co-Host Anna Navarro, and others began debating the matter, Goldberg tried bringing the conversation to a simpler form, discussing the basis to which the Holocaust itself stemmed from.
It was then when Whoopi Goldberg said “the Holocaust isn’t about race,” before continuing. “It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about.” Navarro quickly countered, saying it is “about white supremacy … and going after Jews and gypsies and Roma.” Despite the swift backlash from her co-hosts, Goldberg double-downed, muttering, “it doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white because of Black, white, Jews — everybody,” was targeted. This is plainly inaccurate. Adolf Hitler himself characterized Jews as “race-tuberculosis of the people,” in his autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf. It's well known that the Nazis considered Jews a different race, but, Goldberg's statement appears to suggest, that because much of the modern perspective on race is solely on the physical attributes, dispelling with the previous understanding of race, from an ancestral point-of-view, along with the societal significance of “your people’s” contributions, which in that definition would also apply to Jewish people. That night, Whoopi Goldberg appeared on the “Late Show,” alongside host, Stephen Colbert, in which Goldberg attempted to apologize for her remarks. While doing so, Goldberg talked about her perspective on race, and told Colbert that, “as a black person, I think of race as something that I can see.” While the literal definition of “race,” are shared physical or social qualities of groups, many in the US differ with that definition, instead choosing to toss the social aspect of race, instead referring to a group of people who have a common visible physical trait, similar to what Whoopi Goldberg said.
The problem, is that the very fundamental idea of race, is an entirely made up concept. Of course, the diversity in skin tone is apparent from different ethnic groups, but it was the human response to those differences that created both rasicm, and prejudance, based only on faulty or real ideaologies that differ through those different groups. So too, Judiasm is the basis for a differing theology, one that's drawn criticism throughout history from other religions and societies, spurring the Spanish Inqusition, the Crusades, Middle Age political, economic, and social isolation; exclusion, degradation and attempted annihilation. To suggest then, that the Jews were not subject to similar tragedies as other social and ancestral groups in history due their race, and rather were “random” targets from Nazis, is lunacy, and while Whoopi’s claim that the modern day marginalization only occurs to those, whose race is “visible,” sounds reasonable, that too is inaccurate. In 2018, Jews were 2.7 times more likely than blacks, and 2.2 times more likely than Muslims to be hate crime victims. Despite African Americans further visibility as a minority, Jews too were targeted specifically due to their religion, which inherently is a social group, thus being classified as a race.
Whoopi Goldberg was right to say, that blacks are in more danger than Jews in certain situations due to the fact, that many of them could more easily be discerended, but she is wrong to suggest, that because of this, Jews are therefore not targeted because of their social profiles, and because many Jews retain that profile even when they do not practice the religion, with many calling Judiasm more than just a religion, and more a “culture.” Judiasm specifically, is known as a cultural position, rather than solely a religion. If Goldberg would have understood this, before suggesting otherwise in front of “The Views,” 3.8 million viewers online, she might not have been suspended from ABC for two weeks, and perhaps when she returns, she will offer a genuine apology for her insensitive remarks, rather than her fake apology on CBS’s “The Late Show.”