Bill Maher's New Low: Blames Body Slam of South Carolina Black Teen on Bad Parenting (VIDEO)
Another Friday night, another racially tone-deaf opinion from increasingly reactionary Bill Maher. On last night's episode of Real Time, Bill Maher needed a quick, edgy take on the now-infamous body slam of a 16-year-old black girl by a white police officer earlier this week and went with the "absent/incompetent parents justify police violence" trope.
Captured on cell phone cameras, the incident caused national outrage from police reform advocates. Why would a police officer need to violently toss around a 16-year-old who wasn't posing any harm to anyone? How much did race factor into his decision to go full Charles Bronson, since we know, statistically, African-American female pupils are punished more harshly than their white counterparts?
Never mind, Maher insisted, "kids these days" don't respect authority. Citing no studies, anecdotes (Maher himself notes he is childless), or evidence of any kind, Maher didn't address the racial aspect at all. Instead, he implicitly justified the cop's actions by going on a rant about kids not respecting authority and being coddled by their parents "these days." His hot take began with a head-fake toward indignation on behalf of the abused.
"But [Officer Fields] confounded it," Maher said. "I think this is just horrendous to treat a child like this, a teenager." But wait: here comes his real opinion.
"But I also have sympathy," Maher said, "for people in authority because I think parents let kids do anything these days so they never listen to authority." This was followed by a long sermon on bad and absent parents. Given the context, it was clearly meant to impugn the outrage from black activists who saw this, quite correctly, as a clear-cut case of police abuse rather than an opportunity to moralize and blame the victim.
"Am I wrong that parents just aren't doing their job? That it's underzealous parenting and overzealous policing?" Maher asked his guests and sycophantic audience. While the panel, which included African-American congresswoman Maxine Waters, attempted to downplay the more ugly implications of what Maher was suggesting, the conversation had shifted entirely. The topic was no longer over-policing and systemtic racism, it was the catch-all problem of "poor parenting," proving once again that Maher's brand of "liberalism" is less about confronting power and more about ameliorating uncomfortable truths for HBO's premium cable viewership.
Watch the clip below: