Whoopi Goldberg caused a stir on “The View” when she mistakenly claimed that Black folks received “20 acres and a mule” as reparations after slavery ended. Goldberg made the misinformed comment during a segment about Rev. Al Sharpton rallying against Florida’s Stop Woke Act.
Goldberg and her co-hosts Sunny Hostin, Joy Behar and Ana Navarro were discussing the Tallahassee protests against Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Stop Woke Act, which restricts race discussions in schools, colleges and workplaces.
After noting DeSantis’ attack on African-American AP studies in the state, Goldberg jumped to the topic of reparations.
“You’re worried about the reparations, you’re worried that Black people want reparations,” she said starting at the 6:15 mark. “We, we have American reparations,” said Goldberg. “It started with 20 acres and a mule. There’s more to do.”
“They never got it,” noted Behar, to which Goldberg replied, “We did get it. That’s how my family got Florida land.”
Hostin replied with a confused expression, “Y’all got 40 acres and a mule? Because we didn’t get none.”
Goldberg went on to say, “Maybe that’s because your people didn’t come and sit on the front and say ‘We’re not moving until you give us what we’re owed.’ “
“Maybe. I don’t know,” said Hostin, as she looked at her co-hosts and laughed. Goldberg replied, “Well, you know. You know, but they weren’t really looking for you, but they were looking for my folks and my folks got it, and that’s because that was what was promised. We pay reparations to many different groups in this country, and have.”
Black people never received reparations. Former people in bondage were promised 40 acres and a mule for reparations in January 1865, but the order was reversed after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April. Any land that was already given to Black families was rescinded and given to white Confederate families.
Goldberg did learn that her ancestors acquired land as homesteaders after slavery during an episode of “Finding Your Roots.” However, the EGOT winner also learned that former enslaved people never received reparations or 40 acres and a mule.
There are some instances of developments surrounding reparations in the U.S. For example, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee recommended paying $5 million to longtime residents for reparations, and the city of Minnesota is exploring reparations.
In March 2021, the city of Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, reportedly became the first U.S. city to make reparations available to its Black residents.
The City Council approved distribution by the city of $10 million over the next 10 years, with the distribution of $400,000 to eligible Black households.
The Amherst Town Council in Massachusetts approved a $2 million bank. The town’s annual contribution must not exceed $205,000 per year, which means it will take roughly 10 years for the bank to reach the $2 million maximum. The money reportedly will come from certified cannabis tax revenue for the previous year.
A reparations task force in Detroit, Michigan, also recently was approved by the city council to explore reparations. In addition, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced a federal reparations bill. However, no one has actually received reparations.
Fans were shocked by Goldberg’s comments on social media. One Twitter user wrote, “Whoopi whoopi whoopi …what the hell ..first of all it was 40 acres and that plan never went through during reconstruction. Sunny is me lmao cause what are you talking about #TheView.”
Another person replied, “Whoopi was absolutely wrong saying that African Americans have received reparations for our ancestors literally building the country from the ground up. The shade in Sunny’s face and the audience agreeing spoke volumes.”
Another person replied, “WTH… Somebody, please come get #WhoopiGoldberg We were never paid #Reparations 20 Acres & a MULE?? They’ll say anything…”
“I love me some whoopi,”: added another. “But those WTF moments of hers are embarrassing.”