Bill Maher Deplores Claim 'White Ignorance' Helped Youngkin Win Virginia Governor's Race

TV host Bill Maher condemned an MSNBC article blaming Republican Glenn Youngkin's victory in Virginia's gubernatorial race on "white ignorance"

During a panel discussion on his show Real Time Friday with U.S. Representative Adam Schiff and radio host Tavis Smiley, Maher discussed racial divisions in the United States amid the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man.

Maher said: "It is troubling as an omen for things to come when we divide this way. Like, 'I don't trust any Black people. I don't trust any white people.'"

Smiley pointed out that people of color are "not the ones causing the problem" of racism, prompting Maher to read the MSNBC article headline "Glenn Youngkin's victory proves white ignorance is a powerful weapon."

Maher criticized the story, saying he doesn't think it "helps."

"I'm an old-school liberal," Maher said. "I believe in a colorblind society. That's not where woke is, okay? There's a lot of resegregation going on. There's a lot of 'You're either a racist or you don't know you're a racist.' So yes, there's some 'we' on the other side, too."

During his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Youngkin said he would ban the teaching of critical race theory (CRT)—an academic framework that examines history through the perspective of race, which conservatives argue is meant to make white people feel they are inherently racist—in public schools.

Democrats including Terry McAuliffe, who was the party's nominee for Virginia governor, have argued that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and that the issue is being used as a "dog whistle."

Youngkin won Virginia by about 1.9 points in a state President Joe Biden carried in 2020 by just over 10 points.

In the MSNBC article, writer Ja'han Jones criticized Governor-elect Youngkin for "grouping" lesson plans on inequality with critical race theory, which he describes as a "catchall phrase for intellectually lazy people—many of them white—who want to stigmatize any discussion about American racism."

Jones wrote: "The Youngkin campaign discovered that this contingent of angry, willfully ignorant white people was the key ingredient needed to elect a GOP governor in Virginia for the first time since 2009."

Maher previously defended parents who oppose the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. On his November 5 show, he said that parents are not objecting to Black history being taught, but that they are concerned about "separating children by race."

"And describing them as either 'oppressed' or 'oppressor,'" he continued. "I mean, there are children coming home who feel traumatized by this. That's what parents are objecting to," Maher said.

Newsweek reached out to MSNBC for comment Saturday morning but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Bill Maher
Bill Maher, above, slammed an MSNBC opinion piece blaming “white ignorance” for Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc for HBO Films/Getty Images