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Up there with Fox News, as common butts of Maher’s “jokes,” aside from Muslims, aside from Arabs, aside from the religious, aside from—as we will see in the final part of this article—the economically disadvantaged, the mentally ill and more, are both people of color and women. “Black people know who you are and will come after you.” What a knee-slapper, Bill. In another, when Obama (predictably) refused to fight for any serious punishment for B. Maher infamously applied it to Wayne Brady, putting both men in the non-“real black” group.P.’s 2010 gulf oil spill, instead of criticizing him as, you know, a person, Maher criticized him as a black man. Brady publicly rebuked Maher and, criticisms of his response aside (Racialicious noted its transphobic and gendered elements, criticizing it for “engaging in dude-bro rhetoric”), warns us about the consequences of Maher’s racism.Significantly, Maher, like a good white liberal, does not deny that reverse racism exists, but merely that it’s not worse than actual racism; in a rhetorical sleight of hand (tongue?
The difference between a member of an oppressed group and a member of an oppressor group using an oppressive term is completely beyond Maher, as is linguistic appropriation and redefinition as a form of empowerment in a racist society. His conception of freedom of speech is all or nothing.
In order to prove they are not racist, white liberals resort to a number of strategies.
Perhaps most prominent among these is the ubiquitous “I have black friends! Some take it further: “My girlfriend” or even “My wife is black. ” In the “Racism 101” section of the excellent blog Resist Racism, bullet point nine states “A claim to anti-racism cannot be made based on any variation of the ‘black friend defense’ (Mexican boyfriend, Asian wife, children of color, etc.)” (See: Michael Rapaport’s character in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled).
Also, I don’t believe it because they would make too much sense together.
As a secular humanist leftist, I was first drawn to Real Time with Bill Maher, several years ago, because of Bill Maher’s critiques of the religious right.