Whoopi Goldberg — A Little Right/A Little Wrong
by: Shmuel ben Shlomi
Actress and talk show host of ABC’s The View opened up a can of worms on her show during a discussion about the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
I have always liked Whoopi and find her to be an exceptional comedian and actress, especially in her role in "Ghost," "The Color Purple," as Quinan on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the upcoming season of "Star Trek: Picard." However, she would never be my GO-TO person for common sense and reasoned critical thinking on the issues of the day that are of great import.
Goldberg stated that “The holocaust isn’t about race.” The response from the panel, the audience and online social media was instantaneous. Most of the responses were negative toward Goldberg, even from members of The View panel who generally bow to Ms. Goldberg’s opinions. She later offered up a tepid apology on The Late Night With Stephen Colbert show and followed up on her own show with an apology on Tuesday, February 2nd.
The bigger question is was Goldberg correct in her statement? From her point of view she was. To her, and nearly all leftist liberals race is simply about the color of one’s skin. She even made that clear on Colbert when she stated “you can’t call this racism (the Nazi atrocities on the Jews), this was evil. This wasn’t based on the skin.” Those like Goldberg view race as nothing more than what you can see as the color tone of the skin and nothing else matters as far as defining one's race is concerned. And that is where she gets it all wrong.
Where she gets it right is her statement that this was more about “man’s inhumanity to man.” It matters little in this regard how the Nazi’s viewed the Jews as a separate race of people for Jews come in all colors, shapes and sizes. If Adolf Hitler had been victorious then every Jew across the globe, regardless of the color of their skin would have ended up in an oven. The Nazi’s revealed for the first time since the Roman Empire under emperor's like Tiberius and Nero how ugly and evil a people can be against humanity. Hitler was the first in the modern era of the 20th Century to allow that kind of hatred to raise its ugly head. We have seen many since but nothing compared to the likes of both Hitler and the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin.
Goldberg is correct in her assessment of just how inhumane one human can be to another, be they an individual or a group. The Nazi’s may have viewed the Jews as a separate race but we must see it for what it really was - pure Evil!
There is a difference between ethnicity and race. Loosely defined ethnicity provides a much larger or broader term of humanity than does race. While ethnic groups may be somewhat based on race it has a much greater definition and covers not only the color of one’s skin, but encompasses customs, traditions, tribal rituals, cultural and religious commitments and even languages used within the cloister of a community. Those within a certain ethnic group may or may not be all the same color but will share many of the very same foundational religious beliefs and practices, rituals and rites. Much of their customs and traditions will be very similar and vary only in limited practice but not overall. The Jews living in Germany and Eastern Europe and parts of the Soviet Union of the 20th Century fell into that definition of an ethnic group, known mainly by the ethnic sub-group of Ashkenazi Jews.
Race is much narrower term to describe a segment of peoples and is almost always based on three factors — color of skin, similar physical characteristics and genetic heritage/lineage.
In this regard Goldberg got it right as well. Race is something one can see. The color of one’s skin and other physical characteristics will generally identify them with a certain race; be they Caucasian, Black, Latino, Indian, Oriental or Native American.
This leads to an age old question. Are Jews a race or just an ethnic group? We Jews are both.
While many, even within the Jewish community (especially since the holocaust) want to completely deny the race question as it pertains to Jews (Hebrews), the truth has always been known among our people. We are not only a people with an ethnicity, we are also a race of humans called the Semitic race, from which the term antisemitism comes from.
The Hebrew peoples share our race with others of our founder’s offspring — the Arab peoples in particular. We are all the offspring of Abraham who began the Semitic lineage known today as Jews and Arabs. Thanks to modern medical research we can now quantify the racial element within the Jew through DNA testing, something not available to the general public just a half century ago but now readily obtainable from various DNA companies for a fee.
Are Jews a race and is antisemitism a form of the evil of racism. Yes it is and that is where Whoopi Goldberg got it wrong.