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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  • Mimi

    In my opinion, neither Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepard are not "repping" every African-American in this country…and no one should place those two in that role either. Just like any other race of people, AA's are just as diverse and if someone wants to generalize a whole race of people, based on the negative behavior of a few individuals, then they are just as ignorant as those individuals.

  • the BLACK truth

    they are NOT a reflection of black women……………………, sherri shephard isn't the brightest

  • jazz

    I do think Sherri always comes across as an ignorant buffoon. When she opens her mouth it just makes me cringe and I don’t find her funny. Sometimes I think Whoopi looks embarrassed to have to be on a show with her. I do think she is projecting a negative stereotype.

  • Mel

    Whoopie is starting to make us look bad. I use to love her on the veiw. I thought she did a great job of representing African-Americans/AA women & America period. At thistime she is coming across as a narcarciss. As far as Sheri true enough she is a little ghetto, but black people are and can be ghetto and it’s nothing wrong with that. Culture is culture. In my opinion Sheri reps in a professional way for ghetto AA’s/A. Nothing wrong with that. So Whoopie yes, Sheri no.


    Well, Ms. Kelli Goff….First off, speaking as a brother who has himself together mentally, spiritually, and finacially, I can honestly say that neither WHOOPI or Sherri “REP” me.

  • Shawn of the Living

    They don’t make us look bad. One major problem int he black community is lack of openess to dissenting opinions. All black people are not of the same mind , we have different experiences and different lives that make up how we see the world. I resent the fact that anytime a black person doesn’t share the same popular “black opinion” they are lableled in one way or another.

    It’s an opinion, and they are entitled.

    Making Us look bad ???….high crime statistics among blacks makes us look bad, baby momma syndrome makes us look bad, lack of education in the black community makes us look bad….. Having an opinion and points to back it up, makes us look credible.

    GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!

  • Tamika

    its black men that makes us look bad

  • That's What I S

    No they do not make us look bad because they do not represent all black women. That's on them if they choose to look foolish on TV.

  • That's What I S

    I don't think they make us look bad because they do not represent "ALL" black women. We are individuals and shouldn't be grouped into one category. They are making themselves look foolish, not "all" black women.

  • Bca

    The majority of black women are like these two, either ugly or fat, but black women can't understand why so many black men date outside the race.