My mother and I watch “Real Time with Bill Maher” together every week. It is one of the special mother-daughter moments we enjoy regularly. Every weekend we pull out our blankets and pour our wine or coffee and then watch the show. We particularly enjoy our post-show analysis, where we have an extended conversation about the debates, critiquing and deconstructing the arguments made by Maher and his guests. If the show is really good, the next morning my father contributes to the conversation, having gone to bed earlier than the previous night’s discussion. My family and I really enjoy sharing our Bill Maher time together, and the conversations following the show are a real treat! Essentially, we are all fans of Bill Maher and his show.

Low and behold, to our surprise, we were shocked last Friday when Bill Maher decided he was “black” enough and bold enough to use the “N” word…

(Somebody, please say it ain’t so!!!)

When and how did Bill Maher earn the license to use the “N” word???

(Now that continues to be an interesting family discussion!)

Growing up, my parents strictly prohibited my siblings and I as well as family members and friends from using the “N” word in our home. (My cousins and childhood friends can attest to this.) In fact, my parents did not allow the use of any derogatory terms referring to any racial/ethnic group in our home.

Additionally, my parents forbade racial/ethnic jokes. My siblings and I were taught from an early age that if anyone used derogatory words or shared offensive jokes in our presence, we were not to laugh or even pretend that such was acceptable behavior. My parents believed and taught that all people deserve respect.

Considering my upbringing, I am alarmed by the use of the “N” word, no matter who is using it and no matter what context they use it. As a matter of fact, because of the teachings of my parents, I am offended when anyone uses any racial slur in my presence.

Frequently, people often ask African Americans, “Well, why can’t we use the word? You use the word all the time.”

My argument is this: the “N” word is offensive no matter who says it and how the person may say it. In my opinion, everyone, including black folk, need to stop using the word. The word is offensive, degrading and insulting.

Yes, all Americans need to hold Bill Maher accountable for his actions. Additionally, African Americans need to hold each other accountable for the use of the “N” word as well. Neither Bill Maher nor anyone else should feel comfortable using the word. If Americans allow Bill Maher to get away with using it, then this will indirectly grant others permission to use the word, leading to the unrestricted use of derogatory slurs, statements and jokes that may offend other groups.

I have heard some black folk state that they feel that Bill Maher should get a pass and even a license to use the “N” word, since he has a so-called intimate relationship with black people, i.e. he has black friends and has a history of dating black women.

No! NO! N-O!!!

Bill Maher, you are not black, not even honorary black. Even if you were, “N” should never come out of your mouth, PERIOD.

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