Whoopi, Wake Up & Smell The Racism

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In theory I can understand why Whoopi Goldberg wanted to defend her friend, Mel Gibson. Sometimes the most horrific statements can come out of our mouths at the height of our fury. We might not be able to take those comments back, but we can show the people we hurt that we didn’t really mean what was said.

At the same time, though, you got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Kenny Rogers never lied, ya’ll. If Mel Gibson had limited his racism to the drunken episode he had back in 2006 when he faulted Jews for every single major war, then it would be much easier to take him at his post-rehab word that he wasn’t some racist jackass. However, now that he’s screamed racial epithets like “wetback” and told his baby mama that her style of dress “may get her raped by a pack of niggers,” I think it’s pretty clear how easily Melly Mel could rock with the Tea Party at Happy Hour.

Some people vehemently feel otherwise:

I don’t defend people harassing members of Whoopi’s staff. She’s right in calling it cowardly and should be upset over it. But as far as people being upset with her comments in general, well, Whoopi, the hell do you expect?

For the record, most of the bloggers I saw tackle this story quoted Whoopi verbatim. They made note that she while she doesn’t defend Mel Gibson’s comments, she doesn’t find him to be a racist based on personal observation.

So we got what you meant, Whoopi. We just don’t understand how even Foxy Brown could hear racism shouted at her but not you.

First, let’s go back to origins of the Mel Gibson is racist theory.

People don’t say things like, “Jews started all of the wars” just because they’re drunk. That’s the sort of opinion you’ve taken time to develop and carry with you. Or maybe it’s the sort of opinion passed on to you. Didn’t Mel Gibson’s father openly question the Holocaust? Wasn’t Mel Gibson himself criticized by members of the Jewish community for their depiction in The Passion of the Christ?

And he just so happens to yell out wild conspiracy theories about Jews in the heat of the moment. I could chalk it all up to coincidence. You know, if I freebased. It doesn’t help Mel’s cause to see he’s been outed for more  racist commentary four years later.

This misogynistic bully told his ex-girlfriend that the way she was dressed would lead to her being raped by a pack of niggers. This is a combination of two age old stereotypes about both women and black men. Yet, in Whoopi’s mind, this makes Mel a bonehead rather than a racist. How about we brand him both and celebrate the compromise?

Now because she’s played spades and shared ribs with Mel at her home, Whoopi suggests that she has more insight into the mind of the soon to be ex-movie star and his true feelings on race.

Maybe she does, but she certainly didn’t show any proof of that the other day.

Just because he didn’t call Whoopi a nigger to her face doesn’t mean he doesn’t harbor racist feelings.

As one Huffington Post commenter put it, “I’m sure that Ted Bundy didn’t kill every woman he met either, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a serial killer.”

With all due respect to Whoopi Goldberg, whose talent and achievements I greatly respect, she is the same person who once defended her then ex-boyfriend, Ted Danson, for wearing black face.

She’s also the same person who while discussing Roman Polanski last year, said what he was accused of doing (drugging and sodomizing a minor despite cries to stop) doesn’t classify as “rape-rape.”

These sort of stances might make sense to her but they often baffle me.

Whoopi’s point about many of us saying things that can be perceived as racist while driving is one I can acknowledge. In six months my car, Cameka Camry, has been hit twice — once by someone without insurance, and more recently (sigh) by Toby Keith’s dimwitted cousin driving an 18-wheeler.

Did I think the worst? I did. Could it have been perceived as racist? Surely. Do I liken myself to Mel Gibson? No. Why?

Maybe it’s not fair of me to try and separate myself, but I don’t share Mel’s habit of making vile racist statements in anger, nor do I bring pointed views about any particular racial group into my work (and I’m presuming he was sober while filming).

We all make mistakes and we all sometimes say things we wish we hadn’t, but how many times can you be accused of the same thing and it not have any validity to it? Hopefully she’ll get Mel Gibson to answer this question the next time she has him over.

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