Bill Maher says activists who fixate on race have replaced the colorblind liberalism he once knew.
The HBO “Real Time” host told his audience that his perception of reality regarding race relations isn’t matching with many of his ideological peers.
“Am I wrong to not want to see race all the time? Because that’s how I was brought up,” Mr. Maher said. “Like, that’s what a good liberal does, is you don’t see race. And now, they switched it all around, and I’m bad because I don’t see it all the time. … Is the picture of America that’s presented by the radicals, I would say — Black Lives Matter, some of them, the anti-racists — of America 2021, is it an accurate picture? Sometimes, I’m like, ‘Are they talking about 2021?’”
The Daily Beast reacted by calling the moment “strange.”
“Maher, as you may probably know, has a checkered past when it comes to racism and bigotry, from dropping the N-word on his program, to regularly trading in Islamophobia,” writer Marlow Stern responded after Friday’s broadcast.
Mr. Maher also agreed with guest Kmele Foster of “The Fifth Column” podcast co-host when it comes to diversity and inclusion training in the workplace.
“It’s unfortunate when I have to agree with Donald Trump, because it’s very unpopular — but one thing we have to acknowledge is that this diversity and inclusion training can often increase people’s racial sensitivity, that it can often make workplaces less harmonious, that talking often about racism and discrimination can make people presume that it exists in places where it does not,” Mr. Foster said.
“Right,” Mr. Maher replied. “I’m so sympathetic to the cause, but don’t gaslight me, you know? And this is what I hear privately from my Black friends: ‘I don’t want to be the focal point. I just want to blend in. I want to have a beer like you. Don’t look at me like I have to make a speech about it, or you have to make a speech about it.’”
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at email@example.com.
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