How did Whoopi Goldberg upset people with her Holocaust comment?
by Ana Walia | Tue, 01 Feb 2022 21:11:18 GMT
Image Source: PNGitem, BBC

Whoopi Goldberg is addressing the comments she made on The View on Holocaust and Jewish identity.

Whoopi Goldberg said on The View, “Let’s be truthful about it because Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man.” The Holocaust she referred to involved the murder of about 6 million Jews and other victims. Her co-host Ana Navarro did point out to her, “But it’s about white supremacists going after Jews.”

After which Whoopi Goldberg replied, “But these are two white groups of people! The minute you turn it into race it goes down this alley. Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white, Jews, it’s each other.” As soon the audience and leaders heard Whoopi say these comments, she received a massive amount of backlash.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of Anti-Defamation League tweeted, “No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race. They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous. #ENOUGH.”

David Harris, CEO of American Jewish Committee tweeted, Whoopi Goldberg absurdly claims the #Holocaust ‘isn’t about race.’ Nazi Germany considered all Jews a ‘subhuman race.’ That’s why they wanted to exterminate the entire Jewish people, including my family, & almost succeeded. Please rethink & apologize.”

After looking back to the comments she made and the backlash received, Whoopi took to her Twitter to tweet an apology for the ones she disappointed. She tweeted, “On today’s show, I said the Holocaust, ‘is not about race but man’s inhumanity to man’. I should have said it is about both.“ She continued and said, “The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.“

Whoopi’s appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was filmed before but aired after her apology on Twitter but she tried to explain the thought process of her behind stating those comments on ‘The View’. She said, “It upset a lot of people, which was never ever, ever, ever my intention. I thought we were having a discussion… because I feel, being Black, when we talk about race it’s a very different thing to me, so I said that I felt that the Holocaust wasn’t about race. And people got very, very, very angry, and still are angry. I’m getting all of the mail from folks, and very real anger, because people feel very differently.”

She continued to explain to Stephen Colbert, “But I thought it was a salient discussion because, as a Black person, I think of race as being something that I can see. So I see you and I know what race you are, and the discussion was about how I felt about that. People were very angry, and they said, ‘No, no, we are a race,’ and I understand. I understand. I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me, and, you know, I don’t want to fake apologize. I’m very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying, and so because of it they’re saying that I’m anti-Semitic and that I’m denying the Holocaust, and all these other things which would never have occurred to me to do. I thought we were having a discussion about race, which everyone, I think, was having.”

Stephen Colbert also shared his thoughts on the same and tried to reason with Whoopi by stating, “As the white guy in the conversation here, I am neither Jewish, nor am I Black, so I have a different perspective of all of this. It seems to that whiteness is a construct created by colonial powers during the beginning of the colonial imperialist era in order to exploit other people, and that they could apply it to all different kinds of people, that idea of race. And the American experience tends to be based on skin.” To which Whoopi replied when she was talking about the Holocaust, she wanted to say that it was not a racist act but an evil one. “This wasn’t based on the skin. You couldn’t tell who was Jewish. They had to delve deeply to figure out”, she said.

Countering her statement, Stephen said, “What I’ve read about how the Nazis operated, when they found out that you were of the Jewish race, that’s why they’d make you wear a star, so they could see.” And then Whoopi explained, “So they could identify you. But my point is, they had to do the work. If the Klan is coming down the street, and I’m standing with a Jewish friend, and neither one—well, I’m going to run—but if my friend decides not to run, they’ll get passed by most times, because you can’t tell who’s Jewish. It’s not something that people say, ‘Oh, that person is Jewish,’ or, ‘This person is Jewish.’ And so that’s what I was trying to explain, and I understand that not everybody sees it that way, and that I did a lot of harm, I guess, to myself, and people decided I was all these other things. I’m actually not. And I’m incredibly torn up by being told these things about myself. And you know, I get it, folks are angry, I accept that, and I did to myself. This was my thought process, and I will work hard not to think that way again.”

On Tuesday, Whoopi Goldberg also took time to address the same on The View as well where she mentioned, “Yesterday on the show I misspoke. [The Holocaust] is indeed about race, because Hitler and the Nazis considered the Jews to be an inferior race. Now, words matter, and mine are no exception. I regret my comments and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people.” Whoopi was joined by Jonathan Greenblatt to talk more on the controversy that stirred the internet and she added, “I know a lot of people were upset about what I said yesterday, and the things that I regret, so I wanted to clear this up.”

Jonathan said to Whoopi, “Whoopi, there is no question that the Holocaust was about race, that is how the Nazis saw it as they sought the systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — across continents, across countries, with deliberate and ruthless cruelty.”