Rapper and actor Ice Cube appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday to promote the re-release of an album, but also to talk about what he termed a “teachable moment,” Maher’s use of a racial epithet on the show last week — what Maher referred to as his “transgression.”
“I love your show,” Cube told Maher. “You’ve got a great show. But you be buckin’ up against that line a little bit. You know, you’ve got a lot of black jokes, you know what I’m saying? You do.”
“Against racists,” Maher replied.
“Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker up here,” Cube said.
“No I don’t,” Maher argued. “That I gotta push back on.”
Cube then questioned Maher as to what made him think that it was “cool” to use the offensive term.
“There was no thought put into it,” Maher said. “Comedians, they react. And it was wrong and I apologized. More than that, I can’t do.”
“I accept your apology, but I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche,” said Cube, adding that the slur is “like a knife.”
“When I hear my homies say it, it don’t feel like venom,” the rapper said. “When I hear a white person say it, it feels like that knife stabbing me, even if they don’t mean it.”
Earlier in the show, Maher addressed the incident in a chat with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, who scolded Maher over the host’s use of the racial slur, which was an “unconscious reflex […] that grows out of a culture that reflexively identifies that particular word with some heinous acts in history.”