Whoopi Goldberg says "the Holocaust isn’t about race"

Yep. Entirely true.

But that’s the point. When people hear “social construct” they think it’s just an imaginary thing that we don’t have to worry about, but language has very real power to do very real harm to very real people. Unfortunately, far too many people read the term social construct as meaning we don’t need to address it.

It also strikes me that the racialization of Jewish people in the 19th and 20th century was in part due to the emancipation of Jewish people in general in Western Europe. Governments lost a group of people they could reliable scapegoat for their failings as leaders, and so when the Nazis started to gin up anti-semitism in Germany, it found a ready audience among some Christian Europeans who felt threatened by not being able to easily identify their Jewish neighbors anymore.

God, people suck.


Whoopi Goldberg is an entertainer.
We should not pretend her views on history are worth more than anyone else’s.
It is not her area of expertise.


Oh, I agree 1000%. Money is a social construct too but that’s not much comfort to the millions and millions of people living in abject poverty.


Whoopi is someone i want to like, but she is a person that has said some indefensible things in the past like:

-Defending Mel Gibson’s racism
-Defending Roman Polanski’s rape of a minor
-Defending Bill Cosby from rape allegations (she did change her mind later but not believing in victims is still a red flag)


Well, it is mine. Hence I reserve the right to comment on celebrities (in this case someone who I do generally like) making problematic comments on historical events.

If she’s saying stuff like this, I suspect that others would hold similar views, and those of us with forms of expertise should very much put the truth out there when misinformation comes up. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Also… I did not post this topic, our lovely host, @jlw did. If we shouldn’t discuss the topic at hand, what precisely, would you have us do in this thread?

Misinformation matters, especially around issues of bigotry and violence, and we should all do what we can to counter it when it comes up .


My friends and I call this Schrodinger’s Jew. We’re white… right up to the point where we are not. Both white and not white at the same time.


This is a pretty good book on this topic, at least in the context of American history:

It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I seem to remembering it being pretty enlightening.


I am a space freak. As a little girl, I shared a bedroom with my sister. And I got to sleep on the side of the bed facing the outside wall, so there was a window, and I would look out at the stars. I thought if I ran into a Martian and the Martian said, “Who are you?” what would my answer be? The only answer could be “I am an Earthling.” I realized - and have continued to realize - that it would be illogical if I were to tell the Martian I’m a Black woman. That’s because a Martian doesn’t know what Black is, and they don’t know what a woman is. So we know that race is illogical. It is a construct that is destructive.

–Nikki Giovanni, The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 2, 2022

I don’t believe Giovanni is trying to simplify race; she understands quite well it’s a complicated issue, but she also understands that it’s a complication we’ve created.


Yep. Someone cleverer than me came up with the phrase “provisionally white,” which neatly encapsulated what I had been trying to express.

I’m not exactly young, but I’m young enough that I don’t have a clear memory of the time before Jews were “white” (even provisionally). I wonder when that transition happened.


I can understand why she initially wouldn’t want to believe the horrible truth about Bill Cosby. It’s hard to overestimate what his career represented for an African-American actor of her generation. The public persona he crafted was of a positive role model, dedicated husband and father who valued education and had mainstream fame and financial success. He, like Goldberg, was the kind of celebrity who would guest star on Sesame Street and meet Presidents and tell kids of every race and background that there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish.

I’m glad she’s come around, but accepting that the colleague she so admired had been a monster all along must have been painful.



This is sort of an aside but… I hate that in forms and in the census that Hispanics/Latinos aren’t an option and as a default i feel forced to label myself as white because there is nothing else that approximates what i identify as.


Let’s not forget defending Michael Vick’s dogfighting hobby.


After the Holocaust, mostly. Except among the fringe far right, and now among the Trumpian mainstream.

Yeah, the categorization of the US census has never been ideal and is under pretty constant changing over the years.


Many “entertainers” deserve more respect than they do for the things they do that are not in parallel pursuit of their career goals.

Off the top of my head:

Danica McCellar…published mathematics writer and actor.

Hedy Lamarr…actor who collaborated with composer George Antheil to develop radio guidance for torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping, principles used in Bluetooth and GPS.

I’m sure there are tons more…but this is not a response to shift blame away from Whoopi.


Don’t forget she was dating Ted Danson and thought it would be a good idea to have him get into black face and helped write dialog for him full of slurs for a roast of her. :confused:

I’ve enjoyed some of her comedy and as Guinan on Star Trek TNG - but some of her opinions are bad. It doesn’t help that on The View they just kind of talk with out forethought or direction where you can say thoughtless things easier.


Right? The topic is a problematic comment that she made. If people have a problem with the content of the post, they should complain about that rather than targeting random people discussion the topic of the post.


Jews are always other. Either we are white and not an ally, or we are not white and not an ally.


Whoopi might want to visit the museum the next time she’s in town (DC) for a refresher course.


Race is a social reality, but not a biological reality.


Those are great points. You reminded me of this post and how stunned I was at how divisions are established/maintained. The use of “othering” as a means to maintain control (or the illusion of control) at multiple social, cultural, or political levels needs to be addressed on a regular basis - because there’s always a group that puts a new spin on it.