Sunny Hostin tries to square the news her ancestors were Spanish slaveholders: ‘I still believe in reparations’

‘The View’ cohost Sunny Hostin appeared on PBS show Finding Your Roots and was disappointed to learn that her family consisted of slaveholders.

The left-wing TV personality was somewhat reluctant to pursue her ancestry, but this is not to say she still doesn’t back reparations.

“But what I found out was that my mother’s family, while they are Puerto Rican, they actually originate from Spain. And the reason that they moved to Puerto Rico is because the slave trade had been sort of canceled in Spain and then Curacao, and then they moved all of their slaves to Puerto Rico,” Hostin explained. “And so the biz, the family business — I had been told that they were printers and journalists, but they were, in fact, enslavers. It was deeply disappointing.”

Slavery was abolished in Spain in 1867, although the Spanish government signed a treaty to ban the slave trade 60 years earlier. Curacao, which was a Dutch colony, abolished slavery in 1863.

“It’s deeply disappointing because my mother really identified as Puerto Rican. She was part of the civil rights movement, and she was deeply ingrained in black culture, and identified herself as black race, but Hispanic for ethnicity,” she continued. “But her race is white. She’s European. I know. It’s weird because when you look at her, my mother is blond and she has light eyes and my whole family looks like that. So, I think inside I sort of knew this was my history and that’s probably why I didn’t want to do it.”

Hostin went on about how her mother cried to learn that she was not black.

“She was deeply disappointed. She actually cried about it,” she said. “And then she said maybe that’s why I have been so connected to black culture because it’s an atonement in my spirit. And I received that. I also found out – and there were slaves on both sides of our family, mother’s and father’s — but we are seven percent indigenous Puerto Rican!”

The revelation did not change views on financial atonement for black Americans.

“I still believe [in] reparations, by the way, so you all can stop texting me and emailing me and saying that I’m a white girl and that I don’t deserve reparations,” Hostin added. “I still believe this country has a lot to do in terms of racial justice.”

When cohost Sara Haines asked how the news changes her, Hostin replied that she felt “enriched” knowing about her family’s history as slaveholders.

“I’m enriched by knowing that my family has come so far from being enslavers to my mother marrying my father in 1968,” Hostin said.

Predictably, cohost Joy Behar chimed in to reassure her fellow liberal, “You’re not responsible for what they did.”

Social media users found the story rather humorous, given Hostin’s political views… here’s a sampling of responses to the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison


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