Whoopi Goldberg is sitting out a short suspension from her usual seat at ABC’s “The View” for remarks to this effect:
On Monday, while discussing a Tennessee school district banning the graphic novel “Maus,” Goldberg said, “If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race.”
Goldberg said instead it was about “man’s inhumanity to man” and that both groups of people were white.ABC News, “Whoopi Goldberg suspended from ‘The View’ for 2 weeks over Holocaust comments” at ABC News (February 1, 2022)
Weikart is not trying to Cancel Goldberg; rather, he thinks there are some things she (and perhaps most people) don’t clearly understand about the Holocaust. First, to the Nazis — whatever anyone else may think — it WAS about race.
Weikart’s recent book, Darwinian Racism: How Darwinism Influenced Hitler, Nazism, and White Nationalism, covers the links between Darwinism, as understood in the early twentieth century, and Nazism and other racialist movements like White Nationalism, etc. At The Stream, he writes,
Up to the about the 1850s, Jews in Europe were usually identified by their religion. Jews who converted to Christianity were usually no longer considered Jews. They were treated as full and equal members of society.
But in the late nineteenth century this changed, as biological determinism gained adherents. This view taught that heredity determined human traits, even behavioral traits. On this view, the racist stereotypes of Jews as greedy, deceitful, and sexually immoral were chalked up to heredity. It was “in their blood.”Richard Weikart, “Whoopi Goldberg’s Not the Only One Making This Mistake About Jews and Race” at The Stream (February 6, 2022)
Also, by the 1890s and early 1900s many biologists and anthropologists promoted scientific racism. Often they focused on disparities between Europeans and black Africans, East Asians, and Native Americans. Many anthropologists also divided Europeans into different racial groups. This is why Hitler thought the Aryan or Nordic race was also superior to other non-Nordic Europeans. (The terms “Aryan” and “Nordic” were used synonymously.)
As I explain in my new book, this malicious brew of scientific racism and anti-Semitism was not the province of some fringe, hare-brained publicists. In Germany—both before and during the Third Reich—these ideas were mainstream among scientists. For instance, Fritz Lenz was one of the leading geneticists in Germany before the Nazis came to power. He integrated anti-Semitism into his co-authored textbook on human genetics. And he was by no means alone.Richard Weikart, “Whoopi Goldberg’s Not the Only One Making This Mistake About Jews and Race” at The Stream (February 6, 2022)
Weikart goes onto explain in considerable detail that the on-the-ground interpretation of Darwinism underlay this development.
Whoopi Goldberg (born Caryn Elaine Johnson, 1955), a gifted comedienne, considers herself Jewish. If so, the best that can come of this is that an accomplished historian is helping her straighten stuff like this out. If she doesn’t know, just think how many other people don’t.