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Whoopi Goldberg: ‘I’m not African American, I’m an American’

ABC/The View

ABC/The View

Say what? On Wednesday, Jan. 6, “The View’s” Whoopi Goldberg ruffled a few feathers when she completely rejected the African American label after one of her co-hosts made a joke about seeking refuge overseas due to Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

“You know what uh, uh! This is my country,” Goldberg said. “My mother, my grandmother, my great-grand folks, we busted a– to be here. I’m sorry. I’m an American. I’m not an African American, I’m not a chick American, I’m an American!”

Unsurprisingly, fellow co-host, actress Raven-Symoné, who’s shared similar sentiments about labels in the past, seconded Goldberg’ sentiments,” American! I’ve been here too long to not just hold American.”

As expected, Goldberg’s rhetoric provoked quite the uproar on social media. But it also revived an increasingly common debate within the Black community about how to identify ourselves and why.

The fact of the matter is Goldberg’s held this opinion for decades. In 1999, she published a book, titled Book, where she explains why she chooses not to be labeled an African American. Check out an excerpt below:

“Call me an a–hole, call me a blowhard, but don’t call me an African American. Please. It divides us as a nation and as a people, and it kinda pisses me off. It diminishes everything I’ve accomplished and everything every other Black person has accomplished on American soil. It means I’m not entitled to everything plain old regular Americans are entitled to.

“So, no, I am Not an African American. I’m not from Africa. I’m from New York. My roots run a whole lot deeper than most of the people who don’t have anything in front of the word ‘American.’ I can trace my family tree back to the Mayflower. We may not have been on it, but we were under it, and that counts too.”

Well, there you have it. Sure, Goldberg’s statement is controversial and for many who dub themselves “pro-Black,” a hard pill to swallow. But does she have a point? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


  1. Neil Reich on January 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

    and she is correct.. i could call myself a german-american but why.. such things divides us as a nation..

    • RealTalk on January 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Great point!

    • Screenphile on January 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      That’s utter nonsense–on your part and Goldberg’s as well. The weakness of such a silly line of thought is that if African-Americans just called themselves Americans, what would change?

      Would cops all of a sudden stop slaying black people–when under similar circumstances whites aren’t?

      Would the unemployment rate for African-Americans suddenly rise to levels similar to that of white people, if they called themselves American?

      Not at all. And it saddens me that Whoppi Goldberg encourages such nonsense, mainly because it implies that she has no sense of history (or reality, for that matter).

  2. Afro-Emotive ⚡ A.J. on January 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Technically, an African-American is someone who moved from Africa to America and is a naturalized citizen. Jesse Jackson popularized the title African-American for ALL American BORN black citizens to use in the 1980s. Technically, if you were BORN in America, your nationality IS American. So yes, Whoopi is correct ( and so is Raven despite her inability to articulate what she meant/means ). Nobody is denying their African roots ( or any of their other non-African roots for that matter ) . . I don’t understand the issue.

    At the end of the day, people are allowed to label themselves whatever they please. Free country!

    • RealTalk on January 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Agreed. However, I think the issue here is that in this politically correct society, you are either “pro-Black” or you “hate Black people.” Either way, I agree that people are free to label themselves as they see fit.

    • Gwendolyn on January 8, 2016 at 1:08 am

      There is no country named “america” and it is my experience that Black African-Americans speak the name of the continent to celebrate their ancestors who came from there. And, the usa is NOT really that “free”. Also, just what is Whoopie, Raven, and those other Black-not Black, African-not African-Americans, Sooo hateful of the “African” part of the term and Sooo enamored of the “American” (Caucasian) part? The Caucasians have raped, pillaged, robbed, enslaved, and murdered their way across the country now called The usa and are STILL doing it. Are they proud of this? Or are they proud of this “American legacy”?

      • Malibu Jones on January 8, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        American is not a synonym for Caucasian. It is pure conjecture. No one taught you this. The Americas is not just the U.S. The Americas, which is in fact a synonym for America, includes: North America (Canada, USA, Mexico and Greenland) and South America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, etc.). By no means are the inhabitants all “Caucasian” nor do they identify as such. I am Black. I am proud to be a Black person who lives in America. I am with Whoopi and Raven, I am an American. By definition, our ancestors, including Caucasians, are immigrants. What makes America so beautiful is it is a melting pot of nationalities. We are all just plain ‘ole American. Native Americans will agree with this point.

  3. Jason on January 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    So sad that many of you are ashamed of your ancestry. The next time you get pulled over – hope that it is a cop and not a race soldier – then remind them that you are an “American”.

    • RealTalk on January 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Who said they’re ashamed of their ancestry? What’s sad is that so many people feel that those who don’t line up with their thoughts and opinions are wrong or should be “ashamed.” In MY opinion, people should be ashamed over not being mature enough to simply listen and respect another’s point of view regardless of whether or not they agree… rather than attempt to shame them 😉

      • Jason on January 8, 2016 at 9:32 am

        Ok. I can take that correction. My point is – when you ask an Irish person in the U.S. what they are – they say Irish. Why? Because the fact that they are an American is given. Blacks seemed to be shamed into dropping their African ancestry. Why?

        • JustSomeLady on January 9, 2016 at 8:38 am

          Our history was kept from us, completely buried and demolished by our oppressor. We lost language, culture, traditions, religion, even our names and intelligence. Unless someone can show me a relative I have living in Africa, don’t call me African.

        • JustSomeLady on January 9, 2016 at 8:40 am

          Its more so, there we’re black native Americans and also, the slaves that we’re taken into captivity we’re Hebrews ( Not Africans ).
          The black species I s indigenous to this entire earth so why should we believe Tim & Bob that we all came from Africa?

        • R. Hawkins Ruu Hawkins on January 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

          I can only speak for myself. In saying that, I don’t think being ashamed of our “ancestry” is a community wide issue. I think it depends on one’s experiences in/outside our community. I for one could care less how anyone identifies me because at the end of the day, I know who I am.

  4. guest on January 8, 2016 at 7:56 am

    For once I agree with Whoopi and Raven. Why we continue to try and connect ourselves to a continent we know nothing about and it’s people that want nothing to do with us is beyond me.

  5. Jackie Herndon on January 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I completely agree with Whoopi. Just because some civil rights activist decides that Africa is the “homeland” for all black people doesn’t make it so. I am a black American female. That’s it.

    • guest on January 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      I stopped using the AA when it was made abundantly clear to me by many Africans that immigrated to this country, that they didn’t want to be associated and wanted nothing to do with American born blacks.

  6. Guest on January 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I’m mixed with 3 or more races and when people label me just as black, I get offended cause feel like people (mostly black people) are saying ‘that the only race that matter and the other part of you don’t matter’. The comments I hear, that I hate the most is “you only mix with black/ black/ black ” I’m not saying i don’t like being black, I’m just saying I rather be identified by all my races then just one. I spazzed out on my family and friends before because of that . And when people introduced me to their friends they make it clear not to just call me just black. No one gets special treatment when it cames to my race. So if Whoopi want to identify her self as just an American why get mad. She a grown lady.

  7. 7734real on January 9, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    The whole argument is ridiculous! There is no way a person can derive from 2 men, let alone a negro be an offspring of 2 red/caucasian men! Only the simple and or ignorant people believe that ALL NEGROS are African/Canaanite descent! Do some research outside of the lying edomites so-called history….and READ!!!

  8. LAM on February 2, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Whoopie once again. Who the h___ cares!!!
    White people, no matter their nationality, have tiptoed around this issue for fear of being called a racist. The black population has demanded what they should be called. It was demanded that they be referred to as African Americans because it fit the narrative of Jackson/Sharpton/NAACP.
    Now Whoopie, biggest racist on morning TV, is offended? Thank ABC for giving this woman a throne so she can belittle everyone else.