Politics

Maher, ‘Real Time’ panelist: The U.S. has gotten more racist, Obama critics are proof

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

It could be argued that the United States has made significant strides in eliminating racial inequality during the last several decades. However, according to some, the country has actually been backtracking all along.

On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday, host Bill Maher and Jeremy Scahill of The Nation magazine argued that society is becoming more racist, citing — among other transgressions — recent criticism of President Barack Obama.

SCAHILL: When you start talking about that, it raises for me how incredibly racist our society is becoming. I mean, it’s been racist for a very long time, but it’s coming to the fore. When Martin Luther King walked through –
CNBC’S MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA: We have a black president. How can we be racist?
SCAHILL: He’s got more death threats than any president in U.S. history. I mean, the stop and frisk stuff in New York is disproportionately targeting black kids and Latino kids, the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida is racist, and it’s meant to target people of color.
MAHER: Just the fact that we have one person in that big job — I agree it is a big job, it doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial world does it?
CARUSO-CABRERA: Would you at least acknowledge that we’ve gotten less racist, that civil rights was accomplished, that we’ve gotten places here?
SCAHILL: I think it’s getting more racist. I think the tea party plays into that. I think the fact that we have a black president has brought out the racism in a lot of white people in this country, and they were keeping it in their pocket when Bush was in the White House. It’s full-blown on the scene now.
MAHER: This is why he needs to be this crazy radical when he is really not. This is the cognitive dissonance
SCAHILL: He’s better at their game than they are

According to Maher, tea party activism on fiscal issues is just a “reason” to vent pent-up racism.

“They hate him and they want a reason to hate him, so they make it about finances,” Maher said. “But it really isn’t about finances. Bush ran up the deficit. Bush ran up the debt.”

Follow Jeff on Twitter