"You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool."
Bill Maher's use of the n-word on Real Time With Bill Maher last Friday has landed him in hot water. While critics (including Chance The Rapper) demanded that he be taken off the air following the tasteless joke about a slave, Maher has aired a follow-up episode this week, bringing Michael Eric Dyson, Symone D. Sanders, and Ice Cube on as guests to discuss his comments.
While Cube initially accepted Maher's apology, he wasn't about to let the comedian go that easily. "You've been buckin' up against that line a little bit," he said. "You've got a lot of black jokes, you do... sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker." Maher immediately disagreed with Cube's perspective, suggesting any "black" jokes were "against" racists. "Alright, it's my opinion," Cube replied.
"We need to get to the root of the psyche," he continued. "I think there's a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they're a little too familiar, or they think they too familiar. Or it's guys who might have a black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid every now and then. And they think they can cross the line -- and they can't."
The legendary rapper went on to make a powerful analogy about the non-black use of the word. "It's a word that has been used against us -- it's like a knife," he said. "It's been used as a weapon against us by white people. I know you've heard it's in the lexicon... but that's our word now, and you can't have it back. When I hear my homies say it, it don't feel like venom, when I hear a white person say it, it feel like that knife stabbin' me, even if they don't mean it."
While he continued to insist that he liked Bill and the show throughout his speech, Cube insisted that this was a teachable moment, not just for Maher, but the people watching. View Cube's full comments, as well as some thoughts from Symone D. Sanders, who pointed out how black women were implicated in the joke, above. Watch Michael Eric Dyson's conversation with Maher below.