Bill Maher is that one white dude in your crew who gets too comfortable singing along to Tupac lyrics without self-editing. He lets that n-word out, and you sit there scratching your head. Normally, it’s a no-brainer: white dude says “nigger”, white dude gets a beat down. But he has been in the hood for so long; he grew up here in the same straights as you, and he probably doesn’t know better. The only thing is that Bill Maher didn’t grow up in the hood. He’s been fronting like he’s that one white kid from the hood who’s down for a while, and we’ve pretty much been letting it slide.
When Bill Maher described himself as a “house nigger” jokingly on his HBO show this past week, people were shocked and appalled and calling for his ouster from the public eye. On the other hand, I was wondering when he’d finally slip up and say “nigger” in public. It was only a matter of time. If you know anything about Bill Maher, it should be that he is oblivious of many social queues, like how not cool it is for a white dude to say “nigger”, even jokingly, on national television. It doesn’t matter how many black women he has dated. Fluid exchange with black people doesn’t give you a pass.
Is Bill Maher a racist? Probably not more than any other oblivious white dude, so yes, but not viciously. What is interesting is that there was little outrage over his public comments about Muslims and Islam beyond a tiff on his show with Ben Affleck. He has said a lot worse and veiled it under the guise of being ecumenically anti-religious. However, the lopsided vitriol that he spews about Islam has been on display for a while, from asking Zayn Malik where he was during the Boston Marathon bombing to calling Islam anti-American to claiming that millions of Muslims supported the Charlie Hebdo attack. To be clear, of the approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only about 150,000 are actually terrorists. Most Muslims think the terrorists are assholes, so Maher’s numbers are off.
The outrage over him saying “house nigger” Is going to be overblown by the right, claiming that Bill Maher is an example of the “racist liberals” and then blah, blah some skewed reference about Democrats being originally pro-slavery, and overblown by the left, claiming that this is somehow Trump’s fault for allowing this type of language to be used in public again, and he should be fired and strapped to a Kafka-esque torture machine that tattoos his apology onto his chest until he passes out. The reality is that Bill Maher has always been kind of a dick and a troll for ratings. He just slipped and used a word on the air that he’s been using when mics are off. Everyone needs to question why they’re outraged over this, but they’re fine with his rampant islamophobia…and sexism.