February 3, 2022

Whoopi Goldberg

“Whoopi Goldberg was suspended for two weeks Tuesday as co-host of ‘The View’ because of what the head of ABC News called her ‘wrong and hurtful comments’ about Jews and the Holocaust… The suspension came a day after Goldberg’s comment during a discussion on ‘The View’ that race was not a factor in the Holocaust. Goldberg apologized hours later and again on Tuesday’s morning episode, but the original remark drew condemnation from several prominent Jewish leaders.” AP News

Both sides condemn Goldberg’s comments but are critical of her suspension:

“[Goldberg’s comments] reflect a disturbing ideology that is growing increasingly rampant: a concerted effort to rewrite the history of the Jewish people and render the nature of antisemitism as nebulous and as nonspecific to Jews as possible. It’s an ideology that tries to turn Jews into White people, that tries to erase Jewish vulnerability and oppression, to squeeze Jews who have light skin into modern American categories of race and ethnicity, and which also myopically categorizes the hatred against them into American considerations of what racism looks like. But Jews predate these categories (and America, as a nation) by thousands of years…

“[The Nuremberg] laws were highly specific about heritage: A ‘full Jew’ was one who had three Jewish grandparents. Jews with fewer than three Jewish grandparents, particularly if they were married to a non-Jewish spouse, might ‘enjoy’ the mixed status of ‘mischling,’ or ‘mongrel.’ The categories were based on calculating the amount of Jewish blood in a person’s veins. There were no tests applied to how religious the Jews were. Nazis murdered secular Jews and religious Jews; they murdered Jews who had converted to Catholicism and Jews who had denounced Judaism. They described the physical attributes of the Jewish race: how long our noses were, how our faces were shaped, what size our brains might be. To describe the Holocaust as ‘not about race’ betrays a profound ignorance of what the Holocaust entailed.”
Daniella Greenbaum, Washington Post

​​"When I teach about race in American history, I always begin the lesson with a simple question: What race am I? ‘White,’ my students say. ‘No, I’m Jewish,’ I reply. Jaws drop, and a few angry hands shoot up. I call on one of the students, knowing exactly what the speaker will say: Jews aren’t a race. They’re a religion, or a culture, or a heritage, or a tradition. But not a race. ‘You’re right,’ I say, ‘for now.’ But for most of our past, I add, Jews were indeed considered a separate race. Into the 1940s, immigration authorities recorded them as a distinct racial group… The Nazis viewed Jews not just as a race, but as an inferior and dangerous one. And they tried to eliminate Jews on precisely those grounds…

“If race were real – in a biological sense – it would stay the same across history. But it doesn't. It changes. That's how people like me became white. Yes, you read that right. Jews weren't white … until we were… Race makes us imagine that our differences are inherent. And from there, it's just a short step to the idea that some people are inherently superior – or inferior – to each other. We need a new language to talk about all of this, openly and honestly.”
Jonathan Zimmerman, USA Today

“The history of racism—or, if you prefer, racialism—in America was never solely about black versus white… Progressives like Stanford sociologist E.A. Ross—coiner of the term ‘race suicide’—focused their concerns on the rapid influx of, in Ross’ words, ‘Latins, Slavs, Asiatics, and Hebrews’ into America. The fact that many of the Slavs, Latins, and Hebrews had white skin didn’t stop them from worrying that they would corrupt America’s superior racial Yankee genetic stock. The pale and swarthy breeders alike were thought to be better suited to the grinding work of industrial capitalism and would doom the Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, Teutonic, or Aryan elite (the terms varied)…

“This is worth contemplating when so many people insist how important it is to teach critical race theory. We don’t need to dwell on CRT’s merits and demerits here, save to point out that it fosters precisely the sort of myopia Whoopi Goldberg put on display. If you think racism and bigotry are purely a function of black-white relations, you’re going to, um, whitewash a lot of history. As bad as anti-black racism was and is, the black-white binary is an exercise in erasure that renders the struggles of various non-black immigrant groups invisible to the fuller stories of oppression and struggle that define so much of American history.”
Jonah Goldberg, The Dispatch

“What Goldberg said was factually incorrect, yes. But so what? Figures on political TV shows say stupid and historically illiterate things every day — including about the Nazis — and nothing much happens to them as a result…

“In its statement, ABC insisted that ‘the culture at ABC News is one that is driven, kind, inclusive, respectful, and transparent.’ Okay. And Goldberg violated these principles how? Presumably, ABC does not think she’s actually an anti-Semite. That would be absurd. Nor, I assume, is she being accused of hostility or disrespect in the workplace. So what’s the infraction? Once again, it seems that Goldberg’s only crime was ‘being wrong in public’ — an eventuality that is all-but guaranteed to arise when we televise spontaneous political debate. Why have such productions if we intend to police them like this?”
Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review

"Goldberg apologized [Monday night] on ‘The Late Show’ with Stephen Colbert. ‘Folks are angry,’ she said. ‘I accept that, and I did it to myself.’ She also tweeted an apology. Goldberg apologized again on Tuesday’s show. ‘It is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race,’ she said. ‘Now, words matter, and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, as I said, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people, as they know and y’all know because I’ve always done that.’…

“Goldberg also talked on the show with Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, who had decried her remarks the day before on Twitter and thanked her on the social-media platform after his appearance Tuesday… Then Wednesday night ABC New president Kim Godwin suspended Goldberg ‘for her wrong and hurtful comments.’… Don’t get me wrong, Goldberg’s comments needed to be addressed. She needed to apologize, and to explain, to learn. And she did… if true apologies and good-faith efforts to learn from mistakes aren’t enough, what is?
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

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