Bill Maher Trashes Critical Race Theory, Says Racism Is Not Essence of America

TV host Bill Maher said he understands parents' concerns about critical race theory (CRT) being taught in schools.

In an interview with CNN, anchor Chris Cuomo asked Maher about parents' perceptions of the subject, which examines how race and racism intersect with politics, culture and the law.

Critical race theory has been an incendiary issue for conservatives and a number of states have introduced bills that aim to place limitations on lessons about race and inequality that are being taught.

During the recent gubernatorial election campaign in Virginia, the Republican winner, Glenn Youngkin, said he would ban CRT in schools.

His Democratic rival, Terry McAuliffe accused him of playing on the fears of parents, describing his stance as a "dog whistle."

Academic experts say there is no evidence CRT is being taught in K-12 education curriculums, but Cuomo said that liberals use the issue to "mock the ignorance" of parents for whom "fear overwhelms facts."

Maher said CRT is "not a phantom" and that there was "something going on in schools that never went on before."

"I'm not in schools, I have no interaction with children whatsoever. But I do understand this issue because I read accounts from parents, from educators."

He told Cuomo Prime Time that when he was in school: "We learnt about the Civil War. They mentioned racism, we understood slavery and Lincoln...but they didn't really go into it and more than Gone with the Wind goes into it.

"Now we are doing that and I think it's a good thing," he said, "that's different than teaching that racism is the essence of America, that's what people get upset about.

"Or involving children, who are probably not old enough or sophisticated enough to understand this very complicated issue," he added.

Cuomo said that many parents believed that CRT was a way "to make white kids feel badly about what happened before them and that their lives should be a function of making up for it."

Maher replied: "Kids are taught and sometimes separated into groups, oppressor and oppressed.

"Does a kid even know what those words mean? Would they gravitate toward that if you hadn't told them?"

Cuomo raised the argument that people want children to be taught about the realities of racism and "otherwise you're just hiding from the truth."

Maher replied, "That's nuts. That's just silly. It's just virtue signaling."

Education experts have voiced concerns that CRT is being misrepresented as simply teaching about slavery and other historical events that have any mention of race.

James Lance Taylor, politics professor at the University of San Francisco who wrote Black Nationalism in the United States: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama, told Newsweek earlier this month that critical race theory was "specialized for law students" and that the idea that it was "being taught in grade school is just a complete lie."

"People are overreacting. Critical race theory is nothing but the civil rights movement history."

TV host Bill Maher
TV host Bill Maher at ArcLight Hollywood on October 24, 2017, in Hollywood, California. He told CNN about parents' concerns about critical race theory. Vivien Killilea/Getty