Whoopi Goldberg’s Suspension is Ridiculous

Her comment wasn’t anti-Semitic — meanwhile, Ron DeSantis is out here refusing to condemn Nazis in his own state

Tim Wise


Image: Ron Adar, Shutterstock, Standard License, purchased by author

As a Jew, I know full well how incorrect Whoopi Goldberg’s recent comments about the Holocaust were — that it “wasn’t about race,” but merely a matter of man’s inhumanity to man, involving white people killing white people.

To the Nazis, Jews were a distinct race of evildoers — a biological pollutant — rather than white, despite our recent European ancestry. In that sense, she was flatly wrong. It was about race to the people who perpetrated it. The fact that their notions of race were pseudo-scientific garbage doesn’t change that.

But as a person with common sense, I also know that suspending her from The View for two weeks because of those comments, as ABC did, is performative bullshit, for which there is no justification.

In a week when Florida’s Governor and the heir apparent to the MAGA throne refused to condemn present-day Nazis in his state who hung swastika banners in Orlando, Goldberg’s comments — a naive assessment of Hitlerian race theory nine decades ago — are pretty trivial by comparison.

Frankly, I’m more concerned about how American politicians deal with American Nazis in contemporary America than I am about how a celebrity does or doesn’t comprehend the way that German Nazis in 1930s Germany defined European Jews.

Ron DeSantis is a guy who might be the GOP nominee for President in a few years. Whoopi Goldberg will not be his opponent.

And yet DeSantis, when faced with Nazis in his state, has a spokesperson who questioned whether they were even “real Nazis.” For the Governor himself, the Nazis were not evil or even worth calling out as racists. They were just “jackasses.”

Imagine if Whoopi had called the Holocaust merely the work of “jackasses.”

So, to review, Goldberg said the Holocaust wasn’t about race — a historically incorrect comment — even as she clearly articulated her personal revulsion at the actions of Nazis.

DeSantis can’t even admit that modern Nazis are racists — a word he still hasn’t used to describe them



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)