Last week Bill Maher made some comments on his HBO show “Real Time” that probably did not go over well with any Islamic viewers he might have had.(see link below) Maher started out by stating that a study showed that the most popular baby name in the U.K. today is Mohamed. Maher then said: “Am I a racist for being alarmed by that, because I am”. I thought that this was a bit harsh even for him. Maher was also interviewed by Wolf Blitzer some time later and was still unapologetic. I found it an odd that this should have happened so soon after Juan Williams was fired from NPR. For those of you that don’t know Juan Williams is a regular on the fox news show “The O’Reily Factor”. He generally brings a more liberal point of view to the rather conservative talk show. But a few weeks ago Williams said in so many words that when he sees people in “Muslim garb” at an airport he gets nervous. I think that one comment like that probably did not warrant his termination, but then again I might be impartial. I made a similar comment in sociology class a few weeks ago. Hopefully no one remembers.
At any rate, I thought that Maher’s comments were a bit odd coming from a liberal. Maher is clearly no fan of religion. Anyone who has listened to his stand up or watched his movie religulous knows that. But on some level he has to realize that he is stereotyping. The thought that Islamic people will breed out westerners and take over is plainly xenophobic. Maher makes his living off of political humor. One would think that he would know better. The same goes for Juan Williams. He has written about the civil rights movement. He is an African American. Are both of these otherwise liberal people just “timid bigots” as Mertron would put it?
In a previous blog I suggested that everyone is prone to using stereotypes. Perhaps with time and more exposure to Islamic people westerners can learn not to stereotype them, or at least it will become less acceptable to do so. Then again, I can defiantly see how the first contact between the western world and Islam during the middle ages could effect our relations even today, so it might take awhile.
Bill Maher’s initial comments:
Bill Maher and Wolf Blitzer:
Juan Williams comments: