Indiana Daily Student

EDITORIAL: Race issues divide the left

300 dpi Chris Ware caricature of Bill Maher. (TNS) William "Bill" Maher is an American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host. As a television host, he is well known for the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher.
300 dpi Chris Ware caricature of Bill Maher. (TNS) William "Bill" Maher is an American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host. As a television host, he is well known for the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher.

Two racially-charged events made headlines at the end of last week that have seemingly divided those situated on the left side of the political aisle.

On Friday night, comedian Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, used the n-word during an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from 
Nebraska.

After Maher made a comment about visiting the state, Sasse responded, “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”

“Work in the fields,” Maher replied. “Senator, I’m a house n***r.”

Since then, Maher has issued a public apology for the statement, while Sasse expressed regret on Twitter for not calling Maher out on his use of the word in that moment, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, celebrities like Chance the Rapper and activist Deray McKesson have called for HBO to cancel Maher’s show.

However, other prominent African-American liberals, like rapper Killer Mike, dismissed Maher’s comment.

On Twitter, Killer Mike wrote that blacks “have BIGGER things...to concern ourselves with: Black Banks, Gentrification, Economics & Trade 
Education.”

In the comment sections of articles that reported on the event, you can find liberals defending Maher or diverting attention back to President Donald Trump and the GOP.

Some commentators even wrote that because Maher has supported equal rights for African-Americans and other liberal causes, he shouldn’t be so harshly condemned.

The Editorial Board, however, finds this logic has rarely applied to anyone else, especially from liberals to conservatives.

We believe that despite a person’s good deeds, racially insensitive comments shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

The other event involved Evergreen State College. Evergreen State is a public school in Washington that was shut down June 1st and 2nd due to threats following large-scale protests on campus, according to the Washington Post.

The protests came as a result of a professor objecting to the school administration’s suggestion that white people stay away from campus during their annual “day of absence.”

This tradition, which extends back to the 1970s, draws attention to the importance of people of color to the community by gathering off-campus, leaving the college without them for a full day.

This year, the administration asked that white people stay away from campus instead, to which Professor Bret Weinstein objected.

In response, students erupted in protest, calling him a racist and demanding his resignation.

The school was then closed Thursday and Friday following a direct threat, according to the Washington Post.

Weinstein, however, is a member of the left. According to the New York Times, Weinstein voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and has been an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

He identifies as “deeply progressive.”

While some support the students, others have condemned their actions as an example of “illiberalism” and “far-left extremism.”

Contributing to the Huffington Post, a generally left-leaning publication, Matt Teitelbaum, former president at the College Democrats of Maryland, writes, “This insanity is unrepresentative of true 
liberalism.”

While the Editorial Board doesn’t expect those on each side of the political spectrum to always be in agreement, recent racial issues have exposed a deep-seeded divide within the left, reminding us that there is little consensus on how liberals around the country are thinking about race and free speech.

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