Can you just identify as something?


During the whole Whoopie Goldberg debacle where she falsely claimed that “The holocaust wasn’t about race,” it got me thinking a lot about how she merely identifies as a Jew, though she has never converted, nor does she have 0.1% of Jewish ancestry. You see, early in her career she publically stated that she took the Goldberg name because it would be funny to see a black woman walk on stage when they call a Jewish name. Later Whoopie claimed she’s ancestrally Jewish though no one in her family is Jewish and her own DNA test showed no Jewish DNA, one asked about it, Whoopie said (and I’m paraphrasing) her family is made up of all religions, she just doesn’t practice them.

Her statement about being Jewish and her equating it to a simple religious choice, coupled with her ignorance of the holocaust shows a succinct lack of understanding of what being a Jew is (coupled with her “Jews are white” mentality). Whoopies own mother said Whoopie took the name Goldberg because she thought the name being Jewish would open doors for her comedic career, insinuating that Jews own and run everything. In this case, Whoopie Goldberg is doing harm to Jewish people by her identifying as something that you don’t get to just wake up one day and say “I’m a Jew, it’ll help my career.” 

How is this harmful? Because of her willful ignorance regarding everything and anything inherently Jewish, she consistently makes uneducated comments on Jewish people, Jewish life, and the Jewish experience… Take for instance her “Jewish American Princess Fried Chicken,” joke (click here to read more about that). 

Do not get it twisted either, I’m 100% for people who identify as something they truly feel inside, I am a staunch ally of the LGBTQI++ community and have been for a long time, but “Goldberg,” puts in zero effort to actually know what she is trying to identify as!

Jews aren’t white, we’ve never been white, and Jews were never treated as white in the Diaspora because we originally came from Judea and Samara in modern-day Israel. Claiming Jews are white is like saying the Roma people (Gypsys is a derogatory name) are white, btw both of which were targets of the Nazi’s persecution. There are light-skinned Arabs across the Middle East, I know Mexican Americans that are whiter skinned than myself, I’ve even seen African Americans in my skin tone… are they too white? 

This “Jews are white,” mentality also harms Jews of color (of which make up nearly half of all Jews worldwide), as well as those of the tribe who have converted and are darker-skinned. Whoopie Goldberg may not in fact be antisemitic at all, but her willful ignorance of what she identifies as is a detriment to the whole of the Jewish people!

If Whoopie underwent the full conversion process, the full education required to welcome people into the tribe of Yisrael, she would be more than welcomed and she wouldn’t be so ignorant about what Jews are or Jewish history. Even in her “Apology,” she pretty much doubled down on her “opinion,” and claimed she hurt herself in what she said… no Whoopie, you hurt the Jewish people and your apology was nothing short of a slap in the face to Jews. 

So, in closing, I want to say that I wasn’t going to write this, but I am tired of the famous chipping away at Jewish identity and dignity and getting a free pass. I’m tired of other people telling Jews who they are, telling Jews what their identity is and means, regardless of the fact that they know little to nothing about the Jewish people or Jewish history. So I felt compelled to throw my two cents into the ring, if for nothing else, for me, to get out how I feel, based upon what I’ve seen over and over again.

This is but isn’t about Whoopie Goldberg, I love Whoopie, I grew up on Star Trek TNG and Sister Act, I don’t think she’s an antisemite at all, but ignorance is destructive, especially when that ignorance has a public forum to spread harmful misinformation to a society already ripe with antisemitism. Antisemitic hate crimes are up literally 600% over the last five to ten years, and though Jews make up only 2% of the American population, nearly half of all hate crimes are committed against Jews. Ignorance publicly espoused by the famous, but government officials, by social media influencers fuels this growth… they are culpable.