I continue to be impressed by Bill Maher’s relative reasonableness compared to others on the left. While there’s no doubt there are likely few if any positions we agree on, his criticism of the left’s embrace of wokeness has been spot-on.
During a recent appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Maher made a rather interesting observation in response to something Rogan said about how extreme liberals have become.
“I think they look at you like a guy who they’re worried about, because you don’t toe the line,” Rogan began. “You’re like a ’90s liberal. You’re like liberals back when they’re more reasonable—before they became leftists—and now every liberal kind of has to be a leftist. It’s not. It’s like if you want to be on the team, you got to subscribe to the most fringe ideas that the team is promoting. And I get in trouble with that, too.”
Rogan referenced Joe List, a comic who refers to himself as a ’90s liberal whose opinions didn’t change, unlike almost everyone else on the left who became more and more extreme over the years.
“I’m always trying to make the case. That liberal is a different animal than woke, because it is,” Maher replied. “And you can be woke with all the nonsense that that now implies, but don’t say that somehow, it’s an extension of liberalism, right? Because it’s most often actually an undoing of liberalism. So you can have your points of view and your positions on these things. But don’t try to piggyback on what I’ve always believed.”
Maher then noted that he’s always believed in a colorblind society, “that the goal is to not see race at all anywhere for any reason. That’s what liberals always believed all the way through Obama, going back Kennedy, everybody, Martin Luther King.”
The woke, Maher explains, believe the exact opposite. “They believe race is, first and foremost, the thing you should always see everywhere, which I find interesting, because that used to be the position of the Ku Klux Klan, that we see race first and foremost, everywhere.”
It was an interesting take from Maher, and it makes sense, especially since the KKK was born out of the Democratic Party in the mid/late 1800s. I would go a step further and say that the woke are obsessed with identity, and not just race, but the point remains the same. From where I sit, that obsession with racial divisiveness is the legacy of the KKK, and that has reared its ugly head once again.
As a teenager in the ’90s, I remember how racial colorblindness was the message that was widely promoted in popular culture. I remember the fashion brand Cross Colors and its “clothing without prejudice,” including its shirt promoting the slogan “Love See No Colour.” In 1992, the R&B group En Vogue had a hit single called “Free Your Mind,” which featured the lyrics, “Free your mind and the rest will follow / Be color-blind don’t be so shallow.”
It seems that during the Obama years, the racial colorblindness was morphed into something bad. In 2011, an article in “Psychology Today” argued that colorblind ideology is a form of racism. In 2015, “The Atlantic” called racial colorblindness “counterproductive.” A 2016 article in HuffPost asserted that colorblindness is racist, as did a 2020 article from “Oprah Daily” that suggested that being “anti-racist” was better. Two years ago, Merriam-Webster changed their definition of the term to suggest as much, all but completing the transition for the left to become super obsessed with not just race, but identity in general.
I think Bill Maher is on to something, and he could me more right than he realizes.