Maher: "Racism Has Gone Underground In This Country," Thug Is The New N-Word

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BILL MAHER: Let me move on to another topic, which is Mr. Richard Sherman. How many watched the Seahawks-49ers game last week? It was fantastic. When the game ended, Richard Sherman, who is probably the best corner back in the game, he got a little excited….

Alright, Howard Dean, as someone who has --

HOWARD DEAN: Thank you.

MAHER -- been unfairly pilloried for a moderate outburst, I was going to ask you to defend him first.

DEAN: I am going to defend him.

MAHER: I will too.

DEAN: He was the second ranked student in his high school class. He went to Stanford, which is widely acknowledged --

MAHER: And he's from Compton.

DEAN: Well.

MAHER: He's from Compton --

DEAN: He worked his way up.

MAHER: He went to Stanford and he's a millionaire. He is the American dream

DEAN: Right. You know, he himself has said, 'maybe I shouldn't have said that.' Which is more than I ever said about my speech.

MAHER: He didn't do anything wrong!

DEAN: I didn't neither! Maybe he didn't neither.

MAHER: No, not really. C'mon, once the steroids wore off, he was a lot…

DEAN: He didn't use any bad language, right? And so, can you understand how someone can be as pumped up as he was?

MAHER: Totally.

DEAN: You save the game with your play and then you come off the field and you got as much… and he didn't need any steroids for that.

MAHER: Here he is later, when he had calmed down and I want to show what a thoughtful young man he actually is…

RICHARD SHERMAN: The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it is the accepted way of calling someone the n-word nowadays. You know, everybody else said the n-word and then they say thug and, oh, that's fine.

MAHER: Now that's a great point, that thug is now the n-word. I think it's a very creative way to point out that racism has really kind of gone underground in this country.

DEAN: I would agree with that except that I don't believe -- my idea of a thug is Viktor Yanukovych, so I don't think --

MAHER: Who?

DEAN: When I see Richard Sherman -- he was the president of the Ukraine, he killed all those people in the streets of Kiev. I wouldn't say that Richard Sherman is a thug. I'm not sure I agree with that.

MAHER: But people do that. Whenever they see a black guy they don't like: thug. Because it's socially unacceptable now -- unlike when it once was -- to say the n-word. So that's sort of the word that they use instead. I mean, this was Martin Luther King Day we had on Monday and I noticed that Sarah Palin was lecturing Obama on not playing the race card. Who better than a white woman from a state with no white people to be telling our first black president --

CARLY FIORINA: Of only white people, I think you mean.

MAHER: Yeah, of only white people.

JOSH BARRO: There is this expectation that black public figures should show this level of humility that's not necessarily expected for white figures in the same presence. Like when Donald Trump goes off on how great he is.

MAHER: Right.

BARRO: It's, you know, nobody is calling Donald Trump a thug. And unlike Donald Trump, Richard Sherman seems to be actually really good at what he does for a living.

MAHER: I noticed that John McCain said, 'Everybody is such a Peyton Manning fan and that loudmouth from Seattle sort of epitomizes the Seattle team to me.' It just said to me that this reminds me of Ali and Frazier, when that sporting event divided America politically. All the liberals loved Ali and the conservatives, they didn't love Joe Frazier, but they wanted him to win because he was old school. I don't think the Duck Dynasty people are going to be rooting for Seattle. (HBO's Real Time, January 24, 2014)

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