Old rules, Bill Maher: The words “Nigger” and “Nigga” are socially unacceptable

Today’s blog began as a Facebook rant in the wake of Bill Maher’s decision to use the phrase “House Nigger” in reference to himself during his much acclaimed HBO show this past Friday. While HBO has condemned the comment as have many in the mainstream media, I was not surprised to see many “progressive” whites and even a few black Maher fans on social media defending the comedian/pundit for his choice of words, words that I and countless other black people find inappropriate as we or our immediate forebears have seen white “Christian” terrorists use the term to demean, discredit and justify beatings, rapings and lynchings, like the poor black man below who was mutilated and hanged by America’s ISIS–the Ku Klux Klan–for voting prior to World War II.

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Without ado, below is an edited version of my Facebook post (sans salacious cussing because my momma is an avid reader of my blog):

Bill Maher is not black. Bill Maher is not descended from blacks. Bill Maher shares no blood with anyone who ever toiled in the fields picking cotton, cutting sugar cane or harvesting tobacco or other commodities in the hot sun for zero pay. As such, I find his exchange with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse last night disturbing:

Bill Maher: “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.”

Senator Sasse: “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”

Maher: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger. No, it’s a joke.”

There is a teachable moment here so pay close attention: white racists come in progressive/liberal/Democratic form, too. They range from the Miss Millie from “The Color Purple” variety, the ones who self righteously exclaim “I’ve always been good to YOU people, I always liked Coloreds,” to the ones who think that they know more about certain subjects than the most highly educated black folks because their Caucasity trumps multiple college and professional degrees or book learning. (Indeed, that Wikipedia search does not trump my two degrees in history, my law degree, or twenty-seven years of research and writing for my columns that have been published in newspapers and websites across the globe, the very ones that have garnered two Pulitzer Prize nominations to date, Captain Boss and Missy Ma’am).

Maher meets both of the aforementioned progressive/liberal racist markers because somewhere along the way, maybe around the time he reportedly started having sex with Karinne “Supahead” Steffans, Maher designated himself an honorary brother. But he is not, he is and always will be a white man who should guard his grill about offensive words and phrases.

But Maher is endowed with a form of white privilege that makes him and many of his followers scratch their heads at my and other black folks disappointment. I mean, Maher has said things in the past that should have had black guests like Cornell West slapping the taste from his mouth (Google Wayne Brady’s comments about this Maher phenomenon for more clarity), but said black guests do not, I assume, because of the platform and appearance fees that Maher provides.

Or, perhaps said black pundits are too timid to check Maher because sadly, the N-bomb has been dropped so much in pop culture whether it is Samuel L. Jackson firing off “nigger” to Quentin Tarantino’ s near orgasmic delight in his movies, to rap music by black artists that is bought by whites who think that it is hip to debate whether “nigga” is the more socially acceptable term since said artists use it so liberally, which clearly it is not.

But to be clear, for those paying close attention, Maher shows his bigot bona fides week in and week out with his anti-Islam rants that are similar in context and tone to Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Maher pals around with conservative racists like Ann Coulter and alt right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, folks who do not have to appear on his show, mind you, as there are plenty of conservatives who are far better versed in right wing orthodoxy minus the race, religion and gender baiting of that pair.

Knowing who Maher is, I am not surprised by what he said last night. Yes, he should lose his comedy tour and book sponsors and his show, but I know that he won’t because far too many within the white progressive/liberal/Democratic entertainment elite love how he sticks it to Trump and other conservatives on his show, even if he does so while disrespecting the very black folks and other minorities that are so very critical for Democratic wins.

Indeed, this liberal hypocrisy is no different from the “edited” version of Rock Music Hall of Fame artist Ice Cube’s classic diss track “No Vaseline,” where the same entertainment industry honchos who love Maher allow Cube to say “nigga” multiple times on the record, but block out Cube’s “you let a Jew break up our crew” comment in reference to former NWA manager Jerry Heller. Why? Because the Anti-Defamation League fights hard and allows no disrespect–period! Disrespect of black people, whether from blacks or whites, is perfectly ok to these types. Indeed, here we were yesterday with otherwise woke Black folks like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and rap activist/ pundit Killer Mike defending Maher but hey, I know that Black booking fees matter. Even worse to me was progressive whites trying to tell me on my Facebook page that Maher has a right to use “nigger” in self-deprecating form.

Really???

Well, as one of my black Facebook friends noted, had Maher chosen to joke or self-deprecate about being a self-hating Jewish Nazi collaborator, the wheels would already be churning to have him removed from television. For those unaware, the pejorative connotation of “House Nigger” holds similar meaning, thus the lack of humor and the palpable anger that most black folks that I know feel when folks like Maher disrespect us, our history, and our interests–even in jest.

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