Whoopi Goldberg, born Caryn Johnson, is well known and loved worldwide and is most famous for her roles on Star Trek and the classic movie series Sister Act. Many are unaware that she has a history of antisemitism that a lot of people don’t know about.
It all Starts From a Name
She decided to change her name to her stage name Whoopi Goldberg in 2011 because she believed her name needed to sound Jewish. This is based on the myth that Jews control the media.
The first name was after a Whoopi cushion. “When you’re performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door. So if you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me,’You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ That’s where it came from.”
Her last name Goldberg is what really draws the question on why she chose a Jewish last name. Her father’s name was Robert James Johnson, Jr and her mother was Emma Johnson.
“My mother did not name me Whoopi, but Goldberg is my name. It’s a part of my family, part of my heritage, just like being black.” It is rumored that her mother told her that Goldberg wasn’t jewish enough to be famous.
“Identifies as Jewish” With No Conversion
Goldberg says she feels a connection to the name and identifies as Jewish. “I just know I am Jewish. I practice nothing. I don’t go to temple, but I do remember the holidays.” This was reported in the Jewish Chronicle. “Religion is a lot of work, its’s exhausting. So I keep it simple, I have a pretty good relationship with G-d. We talk.”
There is no trace anywhere of her going through a conversion. Even my non biological children have to go through a conversion because thier biological parents are not Jewish. `
Converting to Judaism isn’t easy and requires certain criteria. Becoming a Jew not only accepts the Jewish religion but becomes a member of the Jewish People and embraces Jewish Culture and history. Conversion is a process that is governed by Jewish religious law. Conversions are overseen by a religious court, that is composed of 3 members of clergy (Rabbis or Cantors).
In order to convert to Judaism and become a Jew by choice:
- At least one year of study
- life style changes
- must be sincere
- converting for the right reasons
- converting on thier own free will
- has a thorough knowledge of Jewish faith and practices
- will live an observant life
The ritual requirements are:
- ritual bath called a mikveh (can be done in the ocean too. Thats what we did since we live so close to the beach)
- AMAB must undergo circumcision. If they area already circumcised, a drop of blood is drawn as a symbolic circumcision.
Since Judaism isn’t a missionary faith and doesn’t actively try to convert people, the Jewish community welcomes Jews by choice who choose to go through this process. When someone goes through the process, they are recognized to be just as Jewish as someone born into the community.
Act of AntiSemitism Resurfaces
In 1993, Goldberg submitted a recipe called “Jewish American Princess Fried Chicken” to a charity cookbook. The book was called “Cooking in The Litchfield Hills.” It featured a step by step process for creating the dish with off color anecdotes.
“Send a chauffeur to your favorite butcher ship for the chicken (save the brown paper bag. Have your cook 1)melt equal parts oil and butter 3/4 deep in skillet over moderate heat.”
There are so many things wrong with this:
- The first one is that this recipe is not Kosher. For people who keep Kosher, dairy and meat are not mixed.
- This perpetuates the stereotype that all Jews are rich and have cheuffeurs and can afford to buy food from a butcher shop
- the term Jewish American Prince/Princess was never to be used by non Jews. It means that the person is extremely spoiled, materialistic, etc. It is meant as an insult.
The Anti Defamation League labeled it as insulting and antisemitic. This is accurate, because it is.
“It’s a lousy recipe with inventive and antisemitic ingredients. Whoopi should know better. She needs some sensitivity training, unfortunately. The good people who published it need some sensitivity training too.
In reaction to the backlash she said,” I am a Jewish American Princess. That’s probably what bothers people most. Its not my problem people are uncomfortable with the fact that I am jewish.”
She isn’t Jewish. She never went through conversion, she cannot just identify as Jewish and be magically Jewish. As described above, thats not how it works.
You can be antisemitic and Jewish at the same time. Both are not mutually exclusive.
In 1994, she told the Orlando Sentinel that she does not practice any religion. “And even if I wasn’t [Jewish], come on. Its like being called a . . . lawyer.”
In the same interview she said “I love blackface because for me it’s a great measuring stick of where we’ve been. We get to be black now. We don’t have to paint up. I don’t quite get what the stink was.” This is something I never thought I would see from a black person. EVER.
Offensive Holocaust Comments on The View
When discussing the Tennessee school district ban on the graphic novel series Maus on the show, The View, Goldberg said,”The holocaust is not about race but about man’s inhumanity to man.”
There are several things to unpack here.
- One major one. She is not really Jewish. She does not get to talk over Jews when it comes to the holocaust. This is what I call Goysplaining.
- Jews were not the only ones who were murdered during the holocaust and people seem to forget that. They were Jehovah’s witnesses, Romani, resistors, priests and pastors, LGBTQ, disabled, non Jews married to Jews, BIPOC.
- The final solution was a means to create a “master race.” So yes, the holocaust was about race
Due to the comments on the show, ABC suspended her for two weeks. This was huge because this is the first time anyone can remember where any antisemitic comments or acts were swept under the rug. Accountability was being taken here, whether she liked it or not.
After her suspension, she released an apology.
This apology ignores some very important points. Jews weren’t the only ones murdered during the holocaust, this ignores Jews of color and other BIPOC killed during this genocide. They were trying to create a “master race.”
She acts like this is the first incident of anti semitism, and clearly it wasn’t. It became clear that she believes it wasn’t about race because both Germans and Jews are white.
She said,”These are two groups of white people.” Her co host Sara Haines said that the Nazis “didn’t see them as white.”
This contributes to the erasure of Jews of Color. There are Jews of every race.
Judaism is an ethnoreligon, not a race. An ethnoreligion is a grouping of people who are unified by a common religious and ethnic background. There is also a subcategory of ethnicity and used as evidence of a common culture and ancestry. Thats why there are DNA results for Ashkenazi, sephardic or Mizrahi Jews.
Do I hate her? No. I do think she needs education because she is really ignorant. If she wants to do the right thing, she should take the criticism, do better and use her platform to educate and do the right thing.