By Jasmine Washington
Comedian Bill Maher addressed his controversial use of the n-word during Friday night’s episode of HBO’s Real Time.
Maher opened the show saying, “I did a bad thing.” He continued, “For black folks, that word, I don’t care who you are, has caused pain.It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said in malice, if it brought back pain to people, and that’s why I apologized freely and I reiterate it tonight. That’s sincere. I’m not that big of an a–hole,” Maher added.
Rapper Ice Cube was later brought on the show to discuss Maher’s use of the historically offensive term. “I knew you was going to f–k up sooner or later. I love your show, but you been bucking up that line a little bit. You got a lot of black jokes… Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker,” Cube said.
“What made you think that it was cool to say that,” he asked. After Maher explained the thought process behind his use of “house n-gger” in last week’s episode and followed up with an apology, Cube said, “I accept your apology, but I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche, because I think there are a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they a little too familiar… or is guys who had a black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid now and then think they can cross the line, and they can’t.”
Explaining the complexity of the word, Cube compared it to “a knife.” “You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s been used as a weapon against us by white people, and we’re not gonna let that happen again by nobody, because it’s not cool. It’s in the lexicon, everybody talk it, but it’s our word now. You can’t have it back,” he added.
Wrapping up his thoughts, Ice Cube said, “When I hear my homies say it, it don’t feel like venom. When I hear a white person say it, it feels like that knife stabbing me, even if they don’t mean it.”
Watch Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan put their hip hip knowledge to the test below.