After reading Ja’han Jones’ passionate – and in my opinion misguided – diatribe against Bill Maher, I felt compelled to say a word or two in response. The Z Review has already published some commentary on the beleaguered comedian’s cringe-worthy attempt at a joke, but as the vitriol continues to spew forth from the left, we feel it necessary to provide a little more airtime to the conversation. Now, first off, full disclosure, I am indeed a white male of the hetero, cisgender, demiromantic, gender normative, meterosexual persuasion — I know how the progressive left loves their identity politics these days. Still, my genetic background and predisposition should not make a whit of difference, as it seems the people yelling the loudest for Maher’s head all appear to share a similar hue to mine own.
So, to begin with. Maher was wrong. That word should never be uttered by white people in jest, in anger, in any context. The fact that it so readily rolled off his tongue should be something for him — and maybe his shrink — to really think about. That being said, Bill Maher is not a racist. He is a man who has always spoken out against the atrocities perpetrated on black society and given a platform to their voice. He has apologized profusely and with genuine remorse. He didn’t issue one of those ‘I got caught, so I’m forced to say I’m sorry’ non-apologies. On last night’s show he discussed his transgression at length with Michael Eric Dyson and Ice Cube. He made no excuses for what happened. Now, it’s time to move on.
Personally, I feel a lot of the anger towards Bill is coming from a different place altogether, namely, people are conflating his stance against Islam with his attitude towards black people…and that is simply unfair. Yes, Maher has made his views on Islam clear…he’s joked about the ‘beekeeper’ outfits Muslim women are forced to wear, and the passive complicity of many non-violent followers in the terrorism that causes so much suffering around the world. He believes it’s a religion that oppresses and should be spoken out against. He believes that all religion is a blight on humanity. Fine, you can agree or disagree with those beliefs, but that is another discussion. His stance on Islam or religion in general should not be seen as a reflection on his feelings about black people.
For decades, Bill Maher has provided a platform for black issues. He is not as Mr. Jones describes, a “dangerous white man”. Maher has used his “social capitol” to address the challenges and injustices faced by the black community, time and time again. Moreover, he has put his money where his mouth is by donating a million dollars to President Obama’s 2012 campaign. For the alt-left to jump on him for what was clearly a mistake is unconscionable. I will also say, for the Huffington Post in particular to be stoking the fires on this issue is unforgivable. Bill Maher made Arianna Huffington famous. She was a right wing Republican who became news fodder over the salacious controversy over her husband’s bisexuality. It was Bill Maher that had a huge role in resurrecting her career by having her on his show…by offering his loyal support. Now, I know that she is no longer the guiding force behind the website, but I wonder how she would feel about the Post’s blatant attempt to destroy the very man that helped provide her the credibility to create the platform in the first place.
Bill Maher is not the enemy, far from it. It would serve the left well to focus their attention on the factions that are hell-bent on making life worse for black people, women, and vulnerable communities. It’s enough already. We have a man in the White House that is on tape bragging about sexually attacking women…who could very possibly have colluded with Russia…who started his career by discriminating against blacks in his real estate dealings. Trump and others – many others – like him are the ‘dangerous white men’. You lose Bill Maher’s voice in the fight against people like them and you’ve weakened your own cause.
What Bill said was wrong…there’s no getting around that fact. To those that were hurt by hearing the word, I can understand. But I truly believe what is being done to him is worse. It’s a calculated assassination on his character that is simply unwarranted…and it should stop now.