Bill Maher Hits Back at Whoopi Goldberg's Attempt to 'School' Him Over Black Anthem

Bill Maher repeated his opposition to the playing of two national anthems before football games during a monologue in which he took aim at Whoopi Goldberg.

The co-host of The View had criticized Maher's objection to the singing before NFL games of "Lift every Voice and Sing", a hymn commonly known as the Black national anthem, as well as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Earlier this month, Maher had said on his show Real Time that playing the two tunes signified "segregation" and that "we are going back to that under a different name."

This prompted Goldberg to refer to the current state of racial tension in the U.S. and that "because we have gone backwards a good 10, 15 years, we're having to re-educate people."

But Maher leaped on the negative connotations the word "re-education" contained during his monologue on Friday night in which he said it smacked of something that China would refer to.

"Nothing ever goes wrong when you start talking about re-education," Maher quipped, "just ask Chairman Mao. Maybe we could set up some sort of camps?"

He said that Goldberg's criticism of him was "a lot about a need to school me about the Black national anthem itself."

He continued: "I am what you might call an old school liberal who was brought up with the crazy idea that segregating by race is bad." He said that while he was open to the idea of changing the current anthem to better reflect the country, "it has to be just one, you know, because it's a national anthem."

"Symbols of unity matter," he said, "and purposefully fragmenting things by race reinforces a terrible message that we are two nations hopelessly drifting apart from each other," to applause.

He told the audience on the HBO show that the issue of two anthems was part of a trend that saw the U.S. sleepwalking into greater division, and cited a survey of colleges that found nearly half offered segregated residences and three-quarters offered segregated graduation ceremonies.

"Yes, America was born from the original sin of slavery and redress for that is still in order but not at the cost of destroying a country that most Black people now have found a decent life in," Maher said.

"We need to stop regarding this new woke segregation as if it's some sort of cultural advancement. It's not," he added before listing other parts of the world where ethnic tensions descended into violence, such as the former Yugoslavia, Kashmir and Iraq.

Lift Every Voice and Sing was played before the national anthem at the first game of the 2021 season and had appeared in previous seasons, including Super Bowl LV.

The NFL said as part of its 10-year, $250 million pledge to fight racism, the song would be played before certain "tentpole games," including the NFL playoffs, NFL draft and Sept. 9 NFL kickoff game, The Hill reported.

Bill Maher
Bill Maher attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. He has criticized the idea of two national anthems being before football games. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty