Whoopi Goldberg and The Myth of the Jewish Race…
Even though I don’t watch The View, or any daytime television for that matter-nor am I Jewish-the recent suspension of Whoopi Goldberg from the show over her comments regarding the holocaust have been gnawing at me. So, I decided to delve into it by reaching out to my information assistant, better known as Google.
Whoopi’s comment was that the holocaust wasn’t about race. That was enough to set the Twittersphere on fire, and the profit and loss nerves of the shows’ producers all a quiver. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one reaching out to Professor Google for some clarity, and in fact coming up in the top five queries was the question: Is being Jewish a race or a religion?
At the top of the list was the review of a book published in 2005 by Lehigh University Press titled: The Myth of the Jewish Race: A Biologists Point of View by geneticist Alain F. Corcos. He confides in writing the book both from a scientific and a personal perspective. Corcos, as a child, lived in France during the Vichy regime, which sought to “cleanse the Jewish dirt” from France.
The first strategy in meeting a Fascist Dictatorship’s objective of exterminating an entire segment of a society is to paint that segment as less than human, such as “dirt”, making it easier for those carrying out the forthcoming slaughter and for those witnessing it.
Vichy painted being Jewish with even broader strokes than the German Nazis did, by classifying a Jew as anyone with two Jewish grandparents. This meant children of a Jew and a non-Jew could face deportation to a death camp, something Corcos came close to experiencing, had it not been for the foresight of his father refusing to register as Jewish.
After years of research Corcos became convinced “that there are not and never were human races”. Oh, how humanity might prosper if more people believed that. A glimmer of hope resides in the fact that over the last two decades an increasing number of anthropologist and biologists agree with him. Alain writes, “They argue that there is no way to genetically characterize race, because no human population has ever been isolated long enough from other populations to avoid crossbreeding. The history of the Jews, in particular, support this thesis. From Day One they had children with non-Jews. Hence, biologically, Jews are not different from non-Jews.”
Would that I could, live in a world where race is not such a focal point of our politics and, for far too many, our daily lives. But alas, systematic racism runs deep in our culture beginning with any government form that asks us to identify our race with a list of options. That said, my personal take on differentiating between a religion and a race is in line with Whoopi’s other point. Race is something we are born and die with which the world can generally see whether we like it or not. We can for the most part visualize the difference between white and black, Asian or Latino, Native American or Middle Eastern.
As for religion, however, while you may be born into a certain cast or family practicing a specific faith, the decision to practice it-in most free societies-is up to the individual, with the world never knowing unless you told them or displayed said faith in one way or another.
But, while Whoopi may have been right about being Jewish not being about race, she missed the horrible point of the holocaust. Hitler, like Vichy, needed to paint the Jewish people as “sub-human” in order to more easily exterminate them by labeling them “an inferior race”, because for so many-race matters. So, whether we like it or not, this made the holocaust all about a deadly “race theory” and thus about race.
This is an important distinction and “view” of the world to be realized and discussed. We shouldn’t be condemning Whoopi for her “point of view” on a show called “The View”. We should be condemning the network for its’ capitalistic viewership counting and advertiser worshiping tunnel vision that had it turning a teachable moment into a punishable offence.
Shmuley Boteach writing for The Jerusalem Post this week agrees telling us, “Rather than suspending Goldberg, whom I have known warmly for 20 years, and with whom I appeared on The View several times, I would have much preferred The View dedicate a week of segments to Holocaust education in a country where more than 60% of young Americans do not know that six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust and most have not heard of Auschwitz.”
In my humble opinion, the cancel culture train has gone off the rails when such opportunity is lost to the thralls of fear spawned by misguided public opinion, self-righteous political correctness, and the greed inducing quest for profits. Whoopi was suspended for all the wrong reasons, and for that she should quit, while reminding everyone there should be only one race-the human race.
Thanks for stopping by.
Photo courtesy of The New York Times