Bill Maher: nigger is “just a word”

Can we finally quit touting Bill Maher as some great left-leaning comedian who loves to stick it to conservative principles and politicians? Because he ain’t all that damn tolerant.

The video above shows Maher sort of defending Paula Deen, who was canned by Food Network after she admitted in a deposition for using the word nigger and talking about how she wanted to throw a good old Antebellum plantation style wedding.

The popular fauxgressive misogynistic douche bag, Maher speaks out both sides of his mouth by chastising Deen for her racist views and the use of the word nigger, but pegs the question: “Do we always have to make people go away?” after they are caught saying and doing offensive shit.

“It’s just a word,” Maher said. “It’s the wrong word and she’s wrong to use it, but do we always have to make people go away?”

Echoing Bob Herbert, New York Times columnist who was a guest on the show, yes. Yes, people should go away for calling people niggers and musing about hiring black people to pose as slaves in her fantasy Antebellum plantation wedding. It’s racist and blatantly offensive.

And, I should add, growing up in the American south does not give you a pass on your racism.

I get tired of these white, mostly male fauxgressives who like to actively claim they support the destruction of racism, but continue to fall into massive fucking fails when it comes to supporting and advocating for intersectionality. I get tired of people like Bill Maher getting a free pass in liberal circles just because he routinely goes after conservatives and Republicans for their hypocritical stance on how intrusive the government should be in our lives.

If you’re not convinced of Maher’s race problem, it’s been well-documented and not gone unnoticed in anti-racist circles. People like Maher and those who watch and support his show and comments like dedicated disciples continue to hide behind their fauxgressive persona while mocking and dismissing the struggles and experiences of marginalized groups.

One could argue that Maher makes no secret that while he likes to sleep with and date black women, he has no problem with debasing and ridiculing our experiences and lives in front of a majority white audience.

Maher and these same fauxgressive — who we should note are almost always white, male, cis and straight — like to rail about the hypocrisy and double standards of the right, but can’t even bear the thought of checking their own privilege whenever their actions are called into question.

I shouldn’t have to spell out this rudimentary racism 101 logic, but I’m certain Maher’s backers are truly ignorant of why his stance reeks of white male straight cis privilege.  The term nigger is not just a word; it’s a slur that was inflicted upon a group of people designed to remind said individuals of their inferiority; an inferiority those who follow the constructs of whiteness claimed was inscribed in The Bible, thus giving them free will to act out those murky passages.

The word nigger will always have more weight when used against a black person because it reminds us that whiteness is the reason why we are inherently ruled as The Other. Calling a black person a nigger is a latent, yet lethal way a white person can assert his or her’s domination over black people. Paula Deen’s use of the word, whether she meant it in a friendly or unfriendly way, demonstrates this sad state of affairs when it comes to being black in America.

There is no other word comparable to nigger that can be inflicted upon white people that will make blackness reign over whiteness.

So, no, Bill Maher. Nigger is not just a word. It’s a slur that allows people like you to use against people who look like me in the name of reminding me of your believed superiority; a superiority you automatically inherent by just coming into this world as a white male.

14 comments on “Bill Maher: nigger is “just a word”

  1. yes they have to go away. They have to go away because they are surrounded by excuses and defenders all the damn time. They have to go away because, clearly, a large number of people don’t think such behaviour is all that bad. They have to go away because their words are an attack and need to be shunned, not endorsed. They have to go away because Black people deserve to consume media as well without seeing people dripping contempt on them on the screen

    They have to go away because some words and behaviour has no place on the public sphere – and if they insist in engaging in such, they need not to be on the screen

  2. Well stated analysis of the Paula Dean debacle and her supporters. I’ve always been suspect of Bill Maher for he seems to be totally invested in a rogue and denigrating concept of what blackness is or should be. We all remember his statements about President Obama to stop acting like his white side and be more down like his perception of the brothers in the hood.

    BTW: I hope I’m wrong but I feel like she and bubba won’t go away for her friend Oprah (remember her special and Paula’s cabins in the back for her and Gayle) has probably been on the phone listening to her wails and exhortations of being misunderstood. Oprah has this uncanny ability to forgive and absolve white folks especially southerns when they hide behind their heritage when caught or exposed. I remember her showcasing and supporting “Lady Antebellum”, the country music group for recognizing their heritage (and proud of it) when black folks were slaves and living under intolerable conditions. She became quite perturbed when this was brought to her attention.

    We might wake up one morning and Paula and bubba will be seen on OWN.

    Hope I’m wrong. Peace…..

  3. Wonderful analysis, thank you.
    A request: please do not use the term douchebag to describe him or other repellent people–it is misogynist since it depends on the societal prejudice that women’s vaginas and wombs, and anything associated with them, are icky and disgusting. Thanks!

  4. Well I wrote a whole comment, but I think Christopher Hitchens does a much better job of explaining this, so I’ll just refer you to him. This is him speaking at University of Toronto’s Hart House Debating Club on the topic, “Be It
    Resolved: Freedom of Speech Includes the Freedom to Hate.” November 15,
    2006 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1_Uz4H8zv0

  5. Don’t we just further give the word “nigger” power by forbidding its utterance? It seems nonsensical to forever hold this word as sacred. If we just shrugged it off, as offensive as it may be, it may just lose its power.

    1. why should we be expected to just shrug it off when people use it to be intentionally offensive or demeaning? why is the onus on us to tolerate its use? don’t understand your logic here.

      1. You be expected to do so because by not doing so, it is you who gives the word power. The word could bandit-boopus-snarf-blat but history has chosen the word “Nigger” to offend. And for as long as we strive to prohibit and ban its use, we merely fuel it having meaning.

        1. That’s derailing BS and revisionist history. The word has power because whiteness and racism have deemed “niggers” to be inherently inferior. You can’t change that, and us “ignoring” it doesn’t change the fact that when white people use it, it’s essentially them check-mating–asserting their white privilege over black people. And who is talking about banning the word?

          1. Yeah I’ll agree with you up to a point. While it is true that it was used to do what you said, I’d LIKE to think we’ve come a long long way.

            We’ve elcted Barack Obama twice. Does anyone here think that could have happened even 20 years ago? I voted for the man in the primary in ’08 and in both general elections and I can tell you that his skin color had nothing to do with it. The first time, I liked what I heard. The second time, I liked what I heard even more.

            But I’m not naive. The Rethuglicans running the House are going to do whatever they can to obstruct him and make no mistake: they’re doing it because man of them are pissed off that a black guy got elected President. Twice.

          2. I think that’s absurd. Yankee was a word meant to deride but because it wasn’t associated with a race we stopped taking insult. It’s just bizarre that a combination of letters uttered can be allowed to hold association and power for evermore on a holy of holies because racist bigots of yesteryear decided to make it so. We’re a prisoner forever to them. Shall we pick another combination of letters to associated with another vile treatment or connotation and forbid its utterance too?

          3. You do realize you can’t compare the word Yankee and nigger? It’s not just a “combination of letters” that we “allow” to bother us. The word nigger and other racial slurs are used in tandem with white supremacy in an effort to create an us (whiteness) vs. them (black folks as the Other) mindset. There was no racial systematic oppression against those who were classified as Yankees.

    2. No. This is the exception because it was created and used to, as the author points out, marginalize generations of blacks from the founding of the colonies up until the 1960s.

      But to your point, one of the things we have let happen is the theft of one of our symbols. When the Nazis co-opted the Swastika, which is an ancient, world wide symbol used across many cultures, they pretty much stole it. It’s stil used as a religious symbol in the far east. Bu there in the west, we’ve erased it as much as possible.

      Synagogues had swastikas carved into their floors. The symbol was used by the United States 45th Infantry Division until the mid 1930s when it was changed because of the Nazi thugs in charge of Germany.

      So what we’ve done is allow one regime that had power for 12 years to ruin what the symbol used to stand for and made us afraid of something that was thousands of years old.

  6. whaaaaaat the fuuuuuck. bill maher ain’t no damn linguist and he ain’t no damn sociologist. i just stumbled on this but I’m both stunned by the sheer violence of this revisionism yet unsurprised because maher and general liberals and the white supremacism hiding beneath the surface there.

    that word is a slur connected to slavery, lynching, unpunished rape and disenfranchisement ALL OF WHICH HAPPENED FOR ENTIRE LIVES OF THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS, AND ALL OF WHICH CURRENTLY PLAGUE THEIR COMMUNITIES THROUGH SYSTEMATIC CHOICES OF WHITE LEGISLATORS AND BUSINESSPEOPLE. that means when a black person hears it from a non black person it is heard as being short for “i want you dead” or “i want you harmed for my amusement”. and we all fucking know that’s what you mean, you sick racist fucks. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BEG BLACK WOMEN TO HOLD YOUR HAND AND GENTLY EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF A SLUR TO YOU WHILE YOU CALLOUSLY FUCKING REPEAT IT AT THEM. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE. IF YOU’RE THAT IGNORANT ABOUT A BASIC CONCEPT OF SOCIOLOGY THAT YOU APPARENTLY USE EVERY FUCKING DAY, TRY READING THE DAMN INTERNET.

    everyone who delighted in getting away with hurting someone with slurs, is gonna get waterboarded while they get their nails ripped off when the revolution comes. y’all gonna pay, so start repenting now, that someone might have it in their heart to have mercy on you. think on it at bedtime tonight, racists. wonder to yourself: who has my IP address and thus my precise location, and who might offer to buy that info? think about all the times you said a slur ‘anonymously’…do they have your address already? food for thought.

  7. Before I start I need to throw in a few qualifiers: I’m not black, I’m not a woman, and I’m a moderate Dem.

    I think Paula Deen is a racist d-bag and I’m glad her show got yanked. Freedom of Speech or not, a public figure needs to exercise a modicum of decorum, regardless of her or his personal feelings.

    And the word itself is not JUST a word. It is in fact a racist term and used only by the baser of society. I don’t even like it when two black people use the word between themselves. Such use trivializes what it meant and where it came from.

    Now… I doubt that Bill is a racist. The fact that he is with a black woman who is successful in her own right would suggest he is not a racist, because I’ve met some pretty vile scumbags in my line of work who I wished I could have put away just because their heads are wired wrong. Bill Maher doesn’t come off like that, at least to me.

    Paula Deen on the other hand, used the term the way it was intended and was anxious for an “antebellum wedding.” Seriously? In the 21st century? Regardless of her origins, maybe she should go back to the 1860s or join the rest of us in modern America.

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