Wayne Brady: See but even Bill Maher, like I’ve had Bill Maher twice now when referencing Obama, and he’s like, “with your Wayne Brady.” So that means that it’s a diss to Obama to be called me, because he wants a brotha brotha or what he perceives. Just cause you fuck Black hookers. Just cause you’ve had that particular Black experience. And I have to stop myself from getting into it Bill because I realize the thing is that if I would’ve gone on his show, or even doing it online, I’m not going to win because as soon as you back off, he still has his platform to say whatever he wants to. So you know what? That’s fine and I do say this on your podcast and if he ever hears and he should listen, ’cause you’re brilliant. If he once said of I want to know how Black Wayne Brady is that chip on my shoulder says, “rarely do you threaten a man and you should not fear anyone.” I’m not saying I’m billy badass but if Bill Maher has his perception of what’s Black wrapped up, I would gladly slap the shit out of Bill Maher in the middle of the street and then I want to see what Bill Maher would do. Now Bill Maher would call the cops and he would have his lawyer and I’d get sued and lose my house and it’s not worth it for me. But the Black man part of me would so satisfied to slap the shit out of him in front of Coco and Ebony Fox – the three ladies of the night that he had hired.
Aisha Tyler: I think there’s one called Fancy too.
Wayne Brady: Fancy, who also happened to be named Tyreek at one point. So, and the thing is, that comes from a place of actually respecting Bill Maher’s comedy and loving him until I heard that shit because I took that personally. You mean to slam the leader of the free world with my name because I’m not the aggressive Black man. You know, that’s fine; let’s go Bill.
Aisha Tyler: I will say that what’s exciting about it is your name and your persona and your identity has become such a cultural touch stone that that you’re quoted in bits about other people.
Wayne Brady: Who knew that on the flip side, amen hallelujah
Aisha Tyler: You’ve become a pop culture reference
Wayne Brady: Amen
Aisha Tayler: hallelu
Who hasn’t wanted to slap the shit out of Bill Maher because he engages in rampant sexism, racism. classism and Islamophobia, all while cultivating a supposedly liberal veneer, to cover for the many isms which he works to enforce?
Maher, for all of his clever satirical skills, has rubbed black folks, and others, the wrong way from time to time with his racial stereotyping. For example, he once called Obama “President Sanford and Son,” and expressed disappointment that Obama isn’t a “real black president,” the kind that “lifts up his shirt so they can see the gun in his pants.” Maher also has been taken to task for his caricatured statements about the Arab-American community, including the comment that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good.” [source]
Somehow Maher thinks that his race based attacks make him clever and not the racist asshat that he truly is. He doesn’t know the first thing about what it is to be Black in a White supremacist state and yet has the nerve to criticise two Black men for doing Black masculinity wrong. If that isn’t a sign of privilege on overdrive, I don’t know what is.
The truth of the matter is that though Blacks all must negotiate racism, we all deal with it differently and it effects us differently, if we must negotiate other sites of oppression like gender, sexuality, ability etc,. The idea of the angry Black monolith was created by Whiteness to make Black men and women appear threatening and abusive, even as we struggle for equality. It serves as a method of silencing dissent and criminalizing our bodies, but then if Maher were as liberal as he contends, he would know that.
Brady can say and do a lot of things wrong, but the one thing that he cannot ever err on is being a Black man in America. He does not have to perform Black masculinity in a manner which makes a White man comfortable. The idea that if one is not a thug that one is not Black enough speaks of the low expectations placed upon Blackness by Whiteness. The moment a Black person lives up to this stereotype, they are further assaulted by Whiteness. The truth of the matter is to some degree we all have to perform in order to survive. This is why we at times let racist commentary or actions go, but that does not mean that they do not wound us in real ways, or that we are somehow less Black by choosing not to go on the offensive.
Had Brady lived up to the stereotype that Maher believes to be the norm, would his career have been able to take the same route? Even when Whiteness supposedly loves a Black man for talking about race — if he speaks too much truth — he will be attacked, as Chris Rock’s fourth of July tweet recently proved. The only truth Whiteness really wants to hear is from comedians like Bill Cosby, who lectures Black folk paternalistically, while forgetting his absolute failure to act during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
Obama has been radicalized since the moment he decided to run for president and that has everything to do with the colour of his skin, because his politics have most certainly always been centrist at best. His body was and is considered a threat, regardless of what his policies have been and no other president has had to deal with that because they have all been White.
If Black folks are angry, it’s because we have the right to be. Race continues to have many negative effects on our life’s chances. In every single social institution, we are discriminated against and no matter how many positive representations of Blackness there are (which btw there are few), to be Black is still to be subjected to Whiteness and their determination to other, silence and attack us at every damn turn. Anger is a legitimate emotion but to hear White folks tell it, it is a uniquely Black phenomenon. I suppose all of those White Teabaggers are all just the epitome of calm and commonsense and not the rage filled, ignorant entitled liars that they appear to be to me. White rage has continually been justified for the simple fact that it upholds White supremacy, and Black rage is attacked because it criticizes White supremacy.
On a final note, while I completely agree with the point that Brady made, his transphobic commentary was not necessary to attack Bill Maher. Using one isms to attack another, does not get anyone anywhere and only increases the cycle of oppression.