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Racism, still deeply ingrained in US culture, is even more deeply ingrained in the English language. If someone condemns his, or others’, use of a racial, misogynist, or another kind of oppressive slur, it’s an “attack on free speech”; it can’t possibly be an attack on bigotry, on oppression.“The new racism is denying racism,” Maher correctly observes.To Maher, black men are simply stereotypes to be used as joke material.Back in February, in regard to Herman Cain working for Fox News, Maher tweeted “Man, #Herman Cain is making a comeback – says he likes working with Fox team, particularly some of them fine-ass white women they got there.” Boyce Watkins recalls “Maher once made a joke to Dr. West ‘making booty calls,’” writing “I cringed while watching West, a devout Christian and Professor of Theology, uncomfortably wiggle his way out of the joke without becoming offended. West understands or engages in regular ‘booty calls’ just because he happens to be a black man.In the following work, part three of the “Bill Maher, Worse than Glenn Beck” tetralogy, I will investigate how these character attacks, taken together with Maher’s “politically incorrect” (read: oppressive) comedy, reinforce the very racist and sexist stereotypes he claims to oppose, and demonstrate that everyone’s favorite liberal comic in fact reeks of privilege, white supremacy, and misogyny.In the first part of this article, I wrote about how Maher’s anti-Islam bigotry leads to his unflinching support for brutal U. intervention in the Middle East (“My favorite new government program is surprising violent religious zealots in the middle of the night and shooting them in the face” Maher exclaims enthusiastically).Maher is simply a “truth-lover,” out there on the front line, crawling through the trenches, duking it out with all of the world’s evils: religion, the G. In little time, however, I came to see that many of Maher’s critiques, lacking in substance, make up for their evidential deficiencies by appealing to thinly-disguised racist, sexist, and classist stereotypes.In place of attacking ideas, Maher tends to attack character.
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.
The smug pundit is skilled in the art of carefully crafting a lofty persona—a persona a critical viewer will soon find to be an untenable façade. At times, we are asked to pity him for the colossal cultural cargo resting upon His enlightened shoulders, for his unrelenting defense of “free speech” (use it or lose it), for his challenging power (some of it at least), for the endless problems that come with being a rich straight white male celebrity in this cruel, cruel world (life’s hard).
He, the sagacious, purely rational “progressive,” knows all the answers; He, the open-minded white liberal is immune from any and all prejudice; He, the controversial comic, perforates cultural taboos with his dry wit alone (well, and his million-dollar paycheck). Fans fall over themselves to defend their secular master, Maher the martyr, against these cruelties.
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).