Whoopi Goldberg: Blacks and Whites Live in Different Worlds

Do not say black and white Americans live in the same world or you will feel the wrath of Whoopi Goldberg. That is what Elisabeth Hasselbeck discovered on the July 17 edition of "The View." Upon suggesting that, Whoopi reduced Elisabeth to tears.

On the news of Jesse Jackson’s use of the "n" word, the conversation quickly developed into the double standard involved between a white and black person’s use of the word. Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg admitted there is a double standard, but added there should be. Sherri Shepherd said she uses the word "as a term of endearment," but said to Barbara Walters "I don’t want to hear it coming out of your mouth."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, puzzled by the obvious double standard, questioned how she can explain to her young daughter why she is not allowed to use that word, but other kids are, when she noted "we live in the same world," Whoopi went off on a tangent that blacks and whites do not live in the same world. Whoopi, who also dismissed Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s concerns as "very white," added Elisabeth just does not "understand."

GOLDBERG: We do live in different worlds. I’m sorry. I’m sorry it’s the way it is Elisabeth. This is the way it is. This is how I grew up. My mother could not go and vote in the United States of America, the place of her birth. We, go- wait, wait.

WALTERS: And don’t we want that to change?

GOLDBERG: Yes, we would like to. But you don’t understand.

HASSELBECK: I’m not going to take that away from no.

GOLDBERG: No, no, I, I want you to. But what I need you to understand is the frustration that goes along when you say we live in the same world. It isn’t balanced. And we would like it to be. But you have to understand, you have to listen to the fact that we’re telling you, there are issues, there are huge problems that still affect us. And you’ve got to know this if you want to know us.

Elisabeth started to cry and asked "how are we supposed to then move forward if we keep using terms that bring back that pain?"Barbara Walters used the opportunity to promote Obama’s candidacy opining "Barack Obama and others...are trying to move forward."

The entire transcript is below.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: I don’t know whether you’ve been watching television last night or this morning, but new footage was leaked that apparently shows Jesse Jackson using the "n" word. Fox News says the tape was leaked. They didn’t have anything to do with it. So I ask you, is any of this a surprise?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Well, you know, what, what I think the hypocrisy is coming out because Jesse is the main, he was the main proponent of, of saying, you know, he didn’t want the rappers using it and take it out. And I thought, and we were talking about it, I thought it had been a funeral or something where they– I don’t know if Jesse came to the funeral– where they buried the "n" word.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Did that come after Michael Richards, when after his rage, using the "n" word? He called for a boycott of all the "Seinfeld" DVD’s and episodes telling people to take of their DVR and-

SHEPHERD: Was that Al Sharpton?

HASSELBECK: Jesse was part of that as well.

JOY BEHAR: He wasn’t talking about using the word privately. He was talking about using it publicly.

HASSELBECK: Did you ever see "Crash"? Did you guys see "Crash" the movie? See I don’t think there’s an ounce of difference, and sometimes I think it’s almost worse to talk- use it privately than publicly.

SHEPHERD: No, no, it’s not true, no.

HASSELBECK: Well, I’m saying, are they equally as bad if I say it to someone in, in the privacy of my household? That’s still bad. It’s not a word that should be used. I think it’s, it’s-

SHEPHERD: Don’t tell me I can’t use that word. Because I use it.

BARBARA WALTERS: Okay, there’s something I want to add.

HASSELBECK: But how is it- you’re telling me I can’t use it, but you can use it.

SHEPHERD: It’s not the same when I use it-

HASSELBECK: Why?

SHEPHERD: Because-

WALTERS: That’s what I want to ask you.

HASSELBECK: Is it when you’re funny or you’re not funny all the time-

SHEPHERD: There’s no difference from being funny.

WALTERS: Just a second.

HASSELBECK: I don’t understand.

WALTERS: Could I just ask a question?

HASSELBECK: I would never use it to begin with, but yes.

GOLDBERG: Then why are you arguing?

HASSELBECK: I’m saying why is it for anyone to say it?

WALTERS: Elisabeth could I just ask a question?

HASSELBECK: Sure.

WALTERS: Is it-- and what you’re saying– is it okay for black comics primarily, like yourself when you do an act and so forth, is it okay then to use as it is still done and not okay for white people? Is that the case?

SHEPHERD: Yeah I, I have no problem with them using it. It’s something that means something way different to me than it does to you. I grew up with my family using it. It– for me, I can use it as a term of endearment.

WALTERS: But if I used it...

SHEPHERD: I don’t want to hear it come out of your mouth.

HASSELBECK: I just think, here’s the like, how do you, okay, so wait a minute, let’s think about this. This is how I think things can be simplified sometimes. How do you teach children, okay? We should be acting. We’re trying to teach our kids certain things in this world, no? So then are we, are we acting out on what we’re actually preaching them? Am I supposed to tell Grace, "Grace okay, here is [sic] some words you can use, here is [sic] some words you can not." And then but you’re friend over there can use it because-

GOLDBERG: Can I simplify it for you? The little kid is not going to walk up to Grace and say "[bleeped out]" It’s not going to happen. [laughter]

HASSELBECK: It’s an example. I’m just giving an example.

GOLDBERG: But, but I understand your example. I understand your example, but Elisabeth, as I said at the beginning when we first talked about this word, this is a word that has meaning when you give it meaning. I’ve never met [bleeped out], I have never gone to [bleeped out], I don’t know any [bleeped out]. There are [bleeped out]. You can try it, just like you can-

HASSELBECK: I am not trying to.

GOLDBERG: No, no, no, listen to me, listen to me. Just like you can talk about comical Italian people if you were a comic.

HASSELBECK: I’m half Italian.

GOLDBERG: And yeah, so you can say all kinds of stuff. You can say the stuff that your mom and dad would say in the privacy of their home and not outside. That’s just the way that it works.

SHEPHERD: What about teaching, what about teaching Grace with different things that- There are some things where people are sensitive to. There are some things that we can’t say because people are sensitive to it. Kids say "why does that person have a hump on their back?" You know, that might hurt their feelings. So why not explain it in that way?

HASSELBECK: Look, I’m not saying I won’t explain to my daughter how to talk about words. I grew up in a household where we didn’t say- I’m half Polish and half Italian. If somebody said to me "you’re a dumb Pollack," it offended me. I never made fun of myself saying, you’re, you’re that word. I’m a this. I never would go into my own heritage and use a phrase that is used against me in the privacy of my own home because I think it perpetuates stereotypes and hate.

GOLDBERG: You have to understand [bleeped out] word that has followed us around, and basically what we did is we took it out the hands of people that were using it and put it into our hands and we use it the way we want to use it and that’s the way it is.

HASSELBECK: Then it sneaks into pop culture then. I’m just trying to get an answer.

WALTERS: You did. You’re not listening you’re just talking. She is saying-

HASSELBECK: - I am listening.

WALTERS: -it’s okay in her culture, but it is difficult as you as a white mother to explain that, that Jeffrey can use it, but Grace can’t.

HASSELBECK: It’s not difficult for me. It’s just an example in terms of general philosophy. I have no problem explaining things to Grace. My thing is that we don’t live in different worlds. We live in the same world.

GOLDBERG: We do live in different worlds. I’m sorry. I’m sorry it’s the way it is Elisabeth. This is the way it is. This is how I grew up. My mother could not go and vote in the United States of America, the place of her birth. We, go- wait, wait.

WALTERS: And don’t we want that to change?

GOLDBERG: Yes, we would like to. But you don’t understand.

HASSELBECK: I’m not going to take that away from no.

GOLDBERG: No, no, I, I want you to. But what I need you to understand is the frustration that goes along when you say we live in the same world. It isn’t balanced. And we would like it to be. But you have to understand, you have to listen to the fact that we’re telling you, there are issues, there are huge problems that still affect us. And you’ve got to know this if you want to know us.

HASSELBECK: I’m not trying to take- I understand. I’m not trying to-

GOLDBERG: But it didn’t sound like it.

HASSELBECK: I am not trying to take that away from you. When we are living in this world and we are living in the world where there is in, in the pop culture, when that word is in use. When there are- [crying] this is upsetting to me because-

WALTERS: Okay, just take a breathe and let someone else talk.

HASSELBECK: I am, I am, but this is a conversation that is hard and we’re going to have it here and we have it here for a while because we love each other. When we live in a world where pop culture then uses that term, and we’re trying to get to a place where we feel like we’re in the same place and we feel like we’re in the same world, how are we supposed to then move forward if we keep using terms that bring back that pain?

GOLDBERG: I can tell you.

HASSELBECK: How?

GOLDBERG: Here’s how we do it. You listen and say "okay this is how we’re using this word and this is why we do it." You have to say, "well, you know what? I understand that, but let’s find a new way to move forward." You must acknowledge the understanding of what it is and why it is in order to go-

HASSELBECK: But when is it time to have the conversation?

GOLDBERG: But we are.

HASSELBECK: We are, yes.

WALTERS: Okay, but one second, let somebody else have a conversation for just one second. [laughter] We have a man- [laughter and applause] We have a man running for president who is 50 percent white and 50 percent black. And one of the things that he is trying to do is to bring people together and there still is racism. I have not heard anybody on this show say the word that you just said. They say the "n" word, we’re so afraid of it. If I said what you said, I would never hear the end of it. But when- wait I’ll grant it. But when you say it’s okay, we are trying to change. This is what Barack Obama and others are trying to do, to move forward. In the meantime, we have to understand that we haven’t gotten there yet. And maybe we should and maybe it’s not okay for you to use the word, but that is the reality, that’s the reality of the moment. And whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

BEHAR: Is this segment over? Because I can just end it right now.

SHEPHERD: You haven’t said anything.

WALTERS: No, you can say something.

BEHAR: No, I just wanted to say that I thought the "n" word that he used was "nuts."

[laughter]