Joy Behar: 'Oppressed Minorities' Can't Be Racist

Only white people can be racist according to ‘View’ co-host Joy Behar. Also on the March 24 broadcast, both Behar and Whoopi Goldberg justified Barack Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright by pointing to Bush’s association with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their many controversial remarks. It could be a valid point if Falwell or Robertson were Bush’s pastor for 20 years. Neither of them ever were.

After Elisabeth Hasselbeck labeled Reverend Wright "racist," Whoopi Goldberg jumped in and alluded to the late Reverend Jerry Falwell’s suggestion that God allowed the September 11 attacks because of secular forces in America. Whoopi asked Elisabeth if she should leave the Republican party because of that. Elisabeth noted that Falwell is not her spiritual adviser. Joy Behar then claimed that Robertson and Falwell are "spiritual advisers" to the Republican party.

Behar then essentially stated it is impossible for those in the "oppressed minority" (African Americans) to be racist. This is according to her college sociology professor.

"I have another point though. Because when I was in college, I studied sociology. And what we learned is that racism is an institutional thing. It’s not like, it’s something that goes from the top down. In other words it’s not something- if somebody is- you can’t be racist if you’re in the oppressed minority. It goes the other direction. The majority is racist to the oppressed minority."

Behar also added because of African Americans’ long history of slavery and segregation, it is "scientifically incorrect" to label a black man racist for uttering some anti-white comments.

Whoopi Golberg then mocked Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s young age suggesting she is naive and does not understand the true nature of racism. Goldberg felt Hasselbeck would be intimidated by a group of young black men on the street corner. Hasselbeck denied she would but Behar implied that she herself would be intimidated, noting New York City’s high crime rates in the early 90's.

GOLDBERG: Listen, you are 12 years old.

HASSELBECK: No, I’m 30. I’m 30.

GOLDBERG: You know how I always say you’re- No, no, I always say you’re 12 years old. This woman has a daughter who has a half black son. She has never done- and he says "I understand why white people are nervous the way they are. They have good reason to be." But you can’t tell me that if you’re walking down the street and you see six black guy, kids, standing on the corner, you don’t start to sweat. Sorry, I don’t believe that.

HASSELBECK: You’re telling me that?

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I’m talking to you.

HASSELBECK: I do not feel that way, and I don’t think that saying-

BEHAR: You didn’t grow up in New York in the 90's.

SHEPHERD: Girl.

BEHAR: It was scary in the 90's.

The transcript, minus some discussion on an unrelated topic, is below.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Well, Obama and his speech. I thought the speech was magnificent. One of the things that I did discover that I didn’t hear a lot of people talking about is the fact that there have been, attached to the hip, several Republicans, these evangelicals who have said also extremely outrageous things. And no one has said "why haven’t you dropped them from your roster? Why have you-"

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: People have said that.

GOLDBERG: Well, yeah, but not like they’re saying about this. And here’s my point on Barack and why he stayed. There are so many people in the world that I really like that I don’t agree with. Like, Newt is a friend of mine. He and I are politically-

JOY BEHAR: Newt Gingrich.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, like this. But I would never want to lose his friendship because I like him. So I can handle people who’s ideas I don’t necessarily embrace and it doesn’t make it a bad thing. It’s just like, listen, this is what you believe. I’m also Catholic. Did I leave the church because of all of the scandals? Did I stay because I believe that those scandals were okay? No. We know that there are things that we don’t like about the places and the people that we know. And you have to make a decision to accept it. That’s the first thing.

[...]

HASSELBECK: To go back to the Obama thing. You know, you and I don’t agree on that because I believe that there, there’s, it’s different because Barack Obama’s running for president and I believe that there’s a- I would never continue to be with someone who is a racist. But-

[...]

GOLDBERG: Let’s go back to the racist thing because we all sort of stopped with that. You feel that he should walk away from this gentleman, from the preacher because you feel that he’s a racist.

HASSELBECK: I don’t think that he should do it all of a sudden. I certainly don’t think he should do it just because polls say that people thought it was really, that racist things were coming out of Reverend Wright’s mouth for the past 20 years. I don’t think that in naming someone your spiritual adviser and having attended their church, and having that person marry you and baptize your children, if you know all of the things that are coming out of their mouth, you either- you have to make a decision. If I’m going to run for the president of the United States, Monday through Friday can I preach one American then on Sundays attend a church where there are some ideas that are racist coming out of there? Can he do that?

GOLDBERG: Well, let me ask, let me ask you this. You’re a member of the Republican party, yes? When Jerry Falwell said that the towers were because gay people and people who were not living the life that he felt they should live, did you leave the party then?

HASSELBECK: First of all I never condoned-

GOLDBERG: No, no. No, no. I’m just.

HASSELBECK: I’m not calling for Barack Obama to leave his party. Those are two different things. Jerry Falwell isn’t my spiritual adviser. He didn’t baptize my kids.

GOLDBERG: Well, he is the spiritual adviser- well, but he is the guy who seems to be everyone that we go to for stuff in terms of the Republican party.

HASSELBECK: I don’t go to him. I don’t- I don’t think most Republicans go to him.

GOLDBERG: So all of this that they talked about Jerry Falwell has been BS for the last four years? He hasn’t had anything to do with the Republicans?

HASSELBECK: I, first of all, if you’re asking if I would do that, I would, A, I’m not running for president. A, I’m not preaching one America-

GOLDBERG: I was just asking. I was just asking.

HASSELBECK: -and having a spiritual adviser. I think it’s wrong.

GOLDBERG: I’m just asking if you felt the same way.

HASSELBECK: Jerry Falwell, I would remove myself completely from that man.

BEHAR: Has Bush removed himself? No.

HASSELBECK: Well, he should.

BEHAR: He hasn’t.

HASSELBECK: I’m saying he said some crazy things.

BEHAR: Well, he’s removed himself since he died, yes.

HASSELBECK: Well, he should. You have to-

[laughter]

BEHAR: You know why? Because it gets a little stinky after a while. But what about Pat Robertson? Didn’t he say something similar about Katrina? I mean, these are in fact spiritual advisers to a lot of the Republican party.

HASSELBECK: Who, who, who, who? Who? Name them.

BEHAR: Well, they appear in public with them. There are pictures. There were pictures with the first George Bush with the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

GOLDBERG: Come on, you know what I’m saying.

BEHAR: He did not distance himself from that, that very oppressive regime. I mean, come on Elisabeth. Everybody has some people in their life that they like even though they’re not on target what is said.

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Can I say something? Because this man- 20 years he’s been preaching and he’s done so much for the community and I think, you know, to say that this man is racist, and you haven’t had the full text of what he said, that’s just really extreme Elisabeth.

HASSELBECK: Now, would you say, and I’m going to go to an extreme now since we’re going there. I’m sure at some point, Jeffrey Dahmer ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Does that make the fact that he then ate people less wrong?

GOLDBERG: How do you equate those two things together? I’m sorry, I, I-

[laughter]

HASSELBECK: I know this is where my mind goes.

GOLDBERG: It’s too much. It’s too much.

HASSELBECK: Welcome to my brain!

GOLDBERG: He ate somebody, so-

HASSELBECK: I’m just saying, Reverend Wright, I’m sure he said nice things, PB and J’s. But the fact that he said those racist things-

GOLDBERG: You know what? This is a racist country and what you’re, what my problem is with all of this is that you can not say to a guy, you have to leave because I don’t like what this guy says and you must believe what he believes because you’re still there. It’s not so. I don’t believe what a lot of people believe, but they’re still friends of mine and I think you’re entitled to that as Americans. [applause] But you had a thing. You had a question about the grammar of the thing.

BEHAR: I have another point though. Because when I was in college, I studied sociology. And what we learned is that racism is an institutional thing. It’s not like, it’s something that goes from the top down. In other words it’s not something- if somebody is- you can’t be racist if you’re in the oppressed minority. It goes the other direction. The majority is racist to the oppressed minority.

HASSELBECK: So you don’t think that someone saying-

BEHAR: So you have to call them something else besides racism according to the sociology professors that I knew.

HASSELBECK: Well, I don’t agree with those professors. I don’t thing every professor is right just because they’re preaching- I don’t think every teacher is right in their teaching. I don’t think every professor is right in their teaching.

BEHAR: Wait a minute, I believe that, that is-

GOLDBERG: Well, there you go. There you go.

BEHAR: I would like someone to look this up for me. I believe that, that is more the definition of it, rather than the oppressed or races. What they are reacting to racism from the oppressed position.

HASSELBECK: So is that okay? Regardless of what you call it, I won’t call it, if you want to call it-

BEHAR: You can’t call it racist.

SHEPHERD: Is it okay to react to racism? I think it’s absolutely-

BEHAR: It’s okay to react to it. If this reverend’s-

SHEPHERD: If he has a passion about it.

GOLDBERG: It went on for a long time. I think if it goes on for a really long time, you should probably react.

BEHAR: How can you say- that’s like- you can’t say that black people in this country who have experienced slavery and then in the past century, a lot of segregation, everything else. Basically since the civil rights legislation, this group of people has had a modicum of freedom actually, to eat in the same places you and I can eat, et cetera. So you can’t say now that when somebody goes "hey, you know, what people act like da, da, da, da," they are racist. It’s scientifically incorrect.

HASSELBECK: So you’re condoning it. You’re sitting there condoning Reverend Wright’s statements? The U.S. of K-K-K-A?

BEHAR: No, I’m criticizing your use of the word racist.

HASSELBECK: I believe it’s racism. It’s a form of bigotry. It’s wrong no matter what side it’s coming from, it is wrong.

[applause]

BEHAR: There’s another side to it.

GOLDBERG: Racism, you know what? Racism is wrong. Let me ask you this. You were offended by Obama talking about his grandmother saying "a typical white woman." Yes?

HASSELBECK: Yeah, he was on the, he was on the radio talking about his speech, which was an incredible speech and I think to open up the dialogue about race is an important thing to do. So it really opened the door.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, we’re doing that.

HASSELBECK: I think it’s, we’ve been doing it for a while. He said, "you know, the point I was making about my grandmother was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she’s a typical white person, who, you know, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, there’s a reaction."

GOLDBERG: Yeah.

HASSELBECK: And I just think-

GOLDBERG: We talk about y’all.

HASSELBECK: I guess, but that to me seems wrong because I’m a typical white- okay say I’m a typical white person.

GOLDBERG: No, you’re not a typical white- you’re not.

SHEPHERD: But he’s talking about a woman of that era. I remember, I was at Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills and I was walking-his grandmother, who was of that era. But when I was walking in Beverly Hills I remember it was an old white lady who was walking down the street and I was walking with Jeff and she just kind of, you know, and I thought "oh my gosh, what-" But she, she reacted that way. A lot of white people when, you know, when you see a bunch of folks-

BEHAR: They do that to you.

SHEPHERD: Right, they react to me, a lot of white people when I walk down the street.

[applause]

BEHAR: Is that true?

SHEPHERD: Well, no, but I think- Why were you offended?

HASSELBECK: Because I feel as though this is- I’m a white person. I don’t feel that way when I’m walking around. To say "I just think there, if you want to talk about-" He gave a speech, "just words."

GOLDBERG: Listen, you are 12 years old.

HASSELBECK: No, I’m 30. I’m 30.

GOLDBERG: You know how I always say you’re- No, no, I always say you’re 12 years old. This woman has a daughter who has a half black son. She has never done- and he says "I understand why white people are nervous the way they are. They have good reason to be." But you can’t tell me that if you’re walking down the street and you see six black guy, kids, standing on the corner, you don’t start to sweat. Sorry, I don’t believe that.

HASSELBECK: You’re telling me that?

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I’m talking to you.

HASSELBECK: I do not feel that way, and I don’t think that saying-

BEHAR: You didn’t grow up in New York in the 90's.

SHEPHERD: Girl.

BEHAR: It was scary in the 90's.

HASSELBECK: You’re saying, to say, he’s a man of words, right? And he gave a speech about "just words," okay, and we were on him for that. But to say "she is a typical white person." If anybody said something like that on the radio, "oh he’s a typical black man, he’s typical hispanic-"

GOLDBERG: I do that all of the time.

HASSELBECK: I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s okay.

BEHAR: Again, again, it’s the majority that you’re talking to. The majority of white people, they can take it, okay? It’s not a group of people that have been oppressed for the past millions of years.

HASSELBECK: I understand that, and I understand the pain-

BEHAR: Not in this country.

HASSELBECK: But I don’t understand when does it stop? Write me the rules then. Write me the rules on racism.

BEHAR: Well, you know what? I am a typical white person because I’m being constantly mistaken for Angelina Jolie and I’ve had it! I had it and we must stop doing that.

GOLDBERG: Racism, racism is with us. The fact that we are in 2008 for the first time having the g- oooh, ooh, having the dialogue! Ooh my goodness. Having the dialogue is extraordinary. The fact that we can do this. And the fact that we can leave ya’ll and come back for more full day of hot topics.

Break transcript: the panel went to commercials then returned.

BEHAR: Well, our crack research department has brought me a dictionary definition of racism. And number one "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races may determine cultural or individual achievement usually involving the idea ," this is crucial, "that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others." The second definition is, this is what I was driving at, "a policy, a system of government based upon or forced such a doctrine of discrimination." So it comes from the ruling party, the ruling class. It doesn’t come from the oppressed. It comes from above. But yours is, I know what you’re driving at. You’re against intolerance and racial hatred and so that’s where you’re going. And so you shouldn’t be the target of any of this, you know, negativity from us because "hatred or intolerance of another race or other races." Now, I’m saying that it starts at the top and then it can get a reaction. And you’re saying you don’t like the reaction.

HASSELBECK: I don’t like the action and I don’t like the reaction. I just, I’m an idealist I guess and I want to-

SHEPHERD: I just wanted to address, you said let’s just write the rules. There have been rules that have been written that said every man should be treated equal. They’ve not been followed, at all, you know, and so you have, you have a class of people who are very angry. [applause] They’re very angry and they have a passion and I wish that the rules can be followed. I really do.

HASSELBECK: I hope they can be, one day.

SHEPHERD: We don’t need to re-write the rules. Let’s try to get back to the rules that were written.

GOLDBERG: And also, you know, you have to- I said this to you guys before I left. You know, you have to understand there’s a whole group, a very specific age group that is still pissed. That is so angry from sports to arts to politics to anything, just normal everyday things where you were not a human being. And now that the conversation is being had, you’re going to hear this response from folks. You’re going to hear it. And what you have to understand is we have never dealt with this before because there has never been a man poised, maybe, to become president of the United States who wasn’t a white guy.