Interesting Conversation About Race On Bill Maher’s Show

Bill Maher

Bill Maher had an interesting segment on his show Friday night. As NewsBusters put it, Maher (surprisingly) went “where few liberals dare venture.” The topic was the controversy over some recent remarks by Paul Ryan about the culture and work ethic in inner cities. First Maher quoted Ryan who said “We’ve got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” Maher’s liberal guests took issue and basically said Ryan was being a racist. But then Maher turned the tables on them.

Which led to Maher falsely citing a quote from Ryan that was actually from Michelle Obama. It was a delicious moment, though its impact was lessened by Maher having resorted to deceit. Maher put it this way — “Here’s something else Paul Ryan said. He said, when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. They’re sitting on couches for hours, playing video games, watching TV. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. … Oh wait, that wasn’t him, that was Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama said that.” This prompted no reaction from his audience, leading Maher to turn toward them and say, “hushed silence.”

Bell immediately became less partisan. “I don’t think this is a Republican or a Democrat issue,” he claimed. “This is a people issue.” Ah, Maher retorted, “suddenly” it’s no longer partisan. To which Lazio added, “you just called Ryan a racist.”

Read the whole thing. Their argument boiled down to it being okay for blacks to talk to other blacks about the problem in their communities, but if white people talk about those problems it’s racist. Or at least for white Republicans to talk about those problems.

It wasn’t mentioned that when Republicans don’t talk about those issues they’re accused of ignoring black voters. But when they do they’re attacked as racists. It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t.