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Sunny Hostin's Mother Cried to Learn About Family's Slave-Owning Past: 'She Was Deeply Disappointed'

'The View' co-host learned her ancestor's likely status as "enslavers" on Tuesday's 'Finding Your Roots''

<p>The View/X</p> Sunny Hostin details her mother

The View/X

Sunny Hostin details her mother's reaction to 'Finding Your Roots' discovery

Sunny Hostin had to have a tough conversation with her mother after taking part in Finding Your Roots.

During Thursday's episode of The View, the 55-year-old co-host detailed how her mom Rosa Beza reacted Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. telling Hostin that her maternal ancestors had "likely" owned slaves.

That her third great-grandfather was "the son of a merchant who was likely involved in the slave trade" and had owned at least one person was just one of many "surprising revelations about my family history," Hostin said on The View. While telling the panelelist that her forebears from Galicia, Spain, had moved to Puerto Rico as "enslavers," Hostin also revealed that she'd learned on the PBS genealogy series that she is only 7 percent indigenous Puerto Rican.

"It was 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, but her race is white — she’s European," Hostin explained.

"I know, it’s weird, because when you look at her, my mother’s blonde and she has light eyes, and my whole family looks like that. I think inside, I sort of knew that this was my history and that’s probably why I didn’t want to do it."

Related: Sunny Hostin Learns Her Ancestors 'Likely' Owned Slaves on Finding Your Roots

Hostin added that after speaking with Gates, 73, she ended up having a conversation with her mother about their ancestry.

"And I spoke to my mom about it, she was deeply disappointed — she actually cried about it," Hostin 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.'"

Related: Valerie Bertinelli Learns That Her Grandpa Had a Secret Second Family on Finding Your Roots

Hostin — who also told her co-hosts that she'd discovered Anthony Ramos from Hamilton is a cousin — went on to explain on The View how the experience opened her up to meeting new members of the family on her father's side, too.

"I also found out that on my father’s side, the grandfather that I thought I had was not my grandfather. There was another person, so we are establishing a relationship with that family, and I have five uncles and aunts that I didn’t know about," she said. "And so that’s kind of cool, and my father now has five siblings that he didn’t know about, and he’s the eldest, so I felt like that was great."

Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty
Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty

When asked by Sara Haines how the news has "changed" her, Hostin said she was "deeply disappointed" at first and has gotten emails and texts "saying that I’m a white girl and that I don’t deserve reparations."

Whoopi Goldberg, in response, encouraged that person in particular to "clean off your television screen."

"I still believe this country has a lot to do in terms of racial justice. But what I will say, Sara, to your question is that I feel that I’m enriched by knowing that history," Hostin shared. "And I’m enriched by knowing that my family has come so far from being enslavers to my mother marrying my father in 1968. I feel enriched by it."

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Finding Your Roots airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, and The View airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on ABC.

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