Bill Maher and Paula Deen are unlikely allies, but the former — an outspoken and often offensive political comedian — is stepping up to ostensibly defend Paula after her recent racism brouhaha.
Bill Maher is no stranger to being silenced, perhaps why he can identify in part with what Paula Deen is going through. In 2001, he was canned from ABC and lost his long-running Politically Incorrect show simply for pointing out that whatever one thinks about the actions of the 9/11 hijackers, they weren’t cowardly. He’s since quipped that he is the only person who was fired after 9/11, and he has gone on to far greater success with his HBO show.
Maher’s defense of Paula Deen is also surprising given his vocal distaste for American trash-cuisine, and while he admits to liking foods that are unhealthy, he also frequently opines that Americans are digging graves with “knives and forks,” suggesting that the country medicates issues that can be addressed in part without shoving food just like the stuff Paula Deen cooks into our face holes at every given opportunity.
But Maher’s Paula Deen defense is not because he agrees with what she said — on the contrary, while unafraid of offense, the comic is certainly openly critical of America’s racial divide — but rather the way it was handled.
On his show last night, Bill Maher again brought up Paula Deen, in a very watch-worthy clip about how we discuss matters of race, racism, and why banning words is not the answer.
Maher suggested Antonin Scalia and Donald Trump are far more racist than Paula Deen may be, but they get to keep their jobs because we, in his opinion, have substituted saying the word in question for a real conversation about what actually harms black people.
According to Maher, as a for instance, Scalia’s description of the Voting Rights Amendment as a “racial entitlement” is a far worse transgression — he explained last night:
“Just the fact that he talks about black people voting as an entitlement, that is so much more racist than anything Paula Deen ever said.”
Maher breaks it down, as he has in the past, saying that language has become a surrogate for real dialogue about race in America. He continues:
We have replaced having a conversation about race with ‘oh OK, liberals feel good about themselves if they make the bad person go away.’ Who’s the bad person? The one we caught saying that one word. Donald Trump is a worse racist but he gets to keep his show because he never said the word. Sarah Palin is a worse racist, she said Obama was shucking and jiving his way to victory. Newt Gingrich said he was the food stamp president. This is real racism.
Before the Paula Deen flap, Maher has addressed Donald Trump’s dog-whistle racism in a bit after Trump released his five million dollar bet to the President, where the mogul tells Obama that he will pay the money if he can see a passport and school records.
Maher quipped of Trump’s suggestion Obama donate the money to inner-city kids in Chicago that it was indicative of the reality star’s way of thinking, adding “the NBA, sickle cell anemia, and the Wu-Tang Clan” as possible other charity recipients.
Above is a Bill Maher clip from earlier this year before Paula Deen’s controversy, in which he explains that denying racism is the new racism. Did you catch this Real Time segment last night?