Do Sherri & Whoopi Make Us Look Bad?

July 20, 2010  |  

by Keli Goff

Who knew that one of the most controversial players in the Mel Gibson saga would turn out to be someone who is not Mel Gibson, his girlfriend, his lawyer, his publicist, or anyone else directly connected to the case?

When View co-host Whoopi Goldberg jumped into the Gibson fray by declaring him a friend and thereby from her vantage point, “not racist,” (despite the myriad of racial slurs Gibson has allegedly been caught on tape using,) she sparked a backlash almost as big as that of Gibson himself. But it was not the first time that Goldberg had experienced the verbal equivalent of stepping in dog doo since joining the daytime gabfest. While the show has long thrived on publicity and controversy, (everyone remember the Elisabeth versus Rosie smackdown?) Goldberg and fellow newbie, Sherri Shepherd appear to have permanently disproved the age-old adage, “all press is good press.”

At various moments the two women have inserted their feet so far into their mouths that I wouldn’t be surprised if producers kept a special foot removal device handy backstage with the words “Break Glass In Case of Emergency” on it. Though I have written about how unfair it is that those of us from minority populations are often compared to one another the reality is that we are reflections of each other. Which brings me to my question.

Are Whoopi and Sherri repping for the rest of us as well as they could, or more importantly, as well as they should?

A quick look at the comments about them flooding various outlets targeting our community makes it clear that I am not alone in asking this question.

Now before anyone asks, I do consider myself a Whoopi fan. I watched my Color Purple VHS tape so much I finally wore the darn thing out and I’ve seen Ghost too many times to count. These are just two of the reasons it pains me to write this. The other is that I am incredibly sensitive to the notion of being a part of a sisterhood that lifts one another up, not tears each other down. But I also believe that as sisters we owe it to one another to tell each other when we are not presenting our very best. (Shout out to the black woman who delicately suggested I never wear a certain lip color on TV again. Ever.) So I consider writing this piece no different than stopping a woman on the street and saying “Ma’m. Your shoes are great but you have a run in your pantyhose. Thought you’d like to know.”

Read more of Keli Goff’s piece at

Keli Goff is a political blogger for She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence (Basic Books, March 2008). She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and previously served as an editorial contributor to Keli can be seen regularly on national news programs including Anderson Cooper 360, The CBS Early Show, Lou Dobbs and BET. Email Keli at Follow her on Twitter @KeliGoff. Become a fan on her Facebook page.

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