Behar and Goldberg: First Year of Obama Presidency 'Traumatic' For Whites

[Update, 3:00 pm Eastern: Video added.]

On HLN’s Joy Behar Show on Thursday, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg gave a racial explanation for Chris Matthews’ recent “I forgot he was black” remark about President Obama. Goldberg cracked that “this has been quite a year for the white man.” Behar replied, “Traumatic,” and Goldberg continued it was “traumatic in many ways because...you have to think before you speak” [audio clip from the segment are available here].

The HLN host brought up Matthews post-State of the Union comment during her interview of her colleague from The View. After playing the clip of the MSNBC host, Behar asked Goldberg, “What do you think he was driving at there? Because he’s a lefty- you know, he’s liberal, and he likes Obama. And yet, he says something stupid like that- you know, I forgot he was black. He would never say I forgot he was white if he was looking at Bush.”

Goldberg responded half-jokingly, “Well, white people- you know, this is- this has been quite a year for the white man.” After laughs both on and off-camera, Behar interjected, “Traumatic.” Her guest agreed and continued with her point:

GOLDBERG: Traumatic in many ways because the things that people say now, you have to think before you speak. It sounded great in his head, I’m sure, because I know Chris and I know what he was trying to say was- you know, I wasn’t concentrating on that. I appreciate that with him. But, you know, people have begun to say things which they think are PC- and okay- and people go- whoa, maybe you shouldn’t say that. Now, the truth of the matter is- you know, maybe people are starting to see Obama as Obama. You know, as a president, and not a black president. I think that’s what Chris was trying to get at.

Despite her reference to political correctness, Goldberg did depart from this mindset on race later in the interview. As the two continued to discuss Matthews, the black comedian brought up how people don’t realize it when they’re making a racially-insensitive remark. Behar replied by throwing out a politically-correct line: “White people say stupid things about black people.” Goldberg disagreed: “Black people say- a lot of people say stupid things. Everybody says stupid stuff.” The HLN host tried to respond to insist her point, but was cut off by her colleague: “Well, you know what? We are now hearing it and looking at it and examining it in a way that we never had to before, because people are hearing themselves and going- okay, what did I actually mean by that?”

The transcript of the relevant portion of Joy Behar’s interview of Whoopi Goldberg, starting at the 36 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour mark:

Joy Behar, HLN Host; & Whoopi Goldberg, ABC's The View | NewsBusters.orgJOY BEHAR: What about Chris Matthews? Let’s talk about Chris Matthews. I mean we didn’t discuss this today-

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: No.

BEHAR: But I was interested in this because he’s taking a lot of heat for something he said on MSNBC last night. Watch.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: He is post-racial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and past so much history in just a year or two. I mean it’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching and I said, wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of white people, and here he is President of the United States and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight.

BEHAR: Maybe he needs a new TV. (Behar and Goldberg laugh) What do you think he was driving at there? Because he’s a lefty- you know, he’s liberal.

GOLDBERG: Yeah.

BEHAR: And he likes Obama.

GOLDBERG: Yeah.

BEHAR: And yet, he says something stupid like that- you know, I forgot he was black. He would never say I forgot he was white if he was looking at Bush.

GOLDBERG: No. Well, white people (laughs)- you know, this is- this has been quite a year for the white man. (off-camera laughs from unidentified person/people)

BEHAR: (laughs) Traumatic.

GOLDBERG: Traumatic in many ways because the things that people say now, you have to think before you speak. It sounded great in his head, I’m sure, because I know Chris and-

BEHAR: Yeah.

GOLDBERG: I know what he was trying to say was- you know, I wasn’t concentrating on that. I appreciate that with him.

BEHAR: Yeah.

GOLDBERG: But, you know, people have begun to say things which they think are PC- and okay- and people go- whoa, maybe you shouldn’t say that. Now, the truth of the matter is- you know, maybe people are starting to see Obama as Obama.

BEHAR: Uh huh.

GOLDBERG: You know, as a president, and not a black president. I think that’s what Chris was trying to get at-

BEHAR: I think so.

GOLDBERG: But sometimes it’s hard- you know, it’s like if you’re black, oftentimes, people say to you, you’re so articulate, not realizing how offensive that actually is.

BEHAR: It is offensive.

GOLDBERG: You know, because you would never say to somebody who is white, gee, you can dance.

BEHAR: Uh huh.

GOLDBERG: And not think it was going to be a slightly offensive comment.

BEHAR: Right.

GOLDBERG: You know, so we’re all having to learn how to-

BEHAR: White people say stupid things about black people.

GOLDBERG: Black people say- a lot of people say stupid things. Everybody says stupid stuff.

BEHAR: Yeah, but-

GOLDBERG: Well, you know what? We are now hearing it and looking at it and examining it in a way that we never had to before.

BEHAR: Yeah.

GOLDBERG: Because people are hearing themselves and going- okay, what did I actually mean by that?

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center