Bill Maher Plays the Race Card

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: HBO talk show host Bill Maher was typically classy on his appearance on ABC over the weekend. Here's what he had to say about members of the Republican Party.


BILL MAHER, HBO TALK SHOW HOST: I would never say, and I have never said, because it's not true, that Republicans, all Republicans are racist. That would be silly and wrong. But nowadays, if you are racist, you're probably a Republican.


HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction, James Peterson, assistant professor of English and Africano [SIC] studies at Bucknell University. And Congressional candidate from California and the 37th District is — Star Parker is with us.

What — he is saying, basically trying to advance the narrative that, if you're conservative, if you're a Republican, you are racist, right?

STAR PARKER, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Right. To intimidate. Again, they throw out racism every opportunity they get.

But it's interesting that it's the Democrat Party, the liberals, that focus on these poor communities and target them with their policies. Their policies have not only increased abortion rates, like in the black community, to where every two pregnancies, one is aborted. It's their policies that perpetuate the welfare state that keeps government dependency. And that's all we know.

One more point. It's their policies that keep these people trapped in failing government schools and will not allow for school choice. So I'm not sure that they have the credibility to throw out the term racism.

HANNITY: Do you agree, James, with that statement of Maher?

JAMES PETERSON, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY: I don't agree with what Star just said. There's a lot of reasons why our school systems —

HANNITY: No, no. I said Maher not Star.

PETERSON: Oh, with Bill Maher.

Well, listen, Bill Maher is a comedian, right? So I don't really normally take my politics from comedians. But I think the Republican Party should take a close look at what he's saying, which is he's saying that all Republicans are racists. He's saying that most racists are probably Republican.

And what he means by that is, if you look at our political spectrum, if you look at various regions around the country, the small pockets of racism that still exist, they usually associate themselves with different conservative movements. They're not necessarily Republican movements.

PARKER: We don't even know that for sure.

PETERSON: They associate themselves with conservative — actually — actually — actually I do know that.

PARKER: What we know is people want to protect freedom. What we know is that people rose up during the health care debates to say, "Wait a minute. You might like government intervention, but you do not want to take my freedom from me without a fight."

PETERSON: You — Star, you can yell — Star, you can yell and talk about other issues. You can yell and talk about other issues, Star. That's fine. But I think the Republican Party should take this seriously. Listen, not all Republicans are racist. And I think that's important to state. But it is — it is — if you think about the fact that racism still exists in our society...

HANNITY: Is there black on white — is there also black on white racism in America?

PETERSON: Well, listen, Mr. Hannity, we've had this debate before...


HANNITY: Hang on. Is there — let me give an example. Let me give you an example.

PETERSON: Let me answer the question. Let me answer the question. You asked the question. Let me answer it. I can answer that question.

HANNITY: Is Louis Farrakhan a racist, for example?

PETERSON: Listen, the definition of American racism implies that there are systematic structures at someone's disposal that they can use to oppress someone else.

HANNITY: That's not what the definition of racism is.

PARKER: Not only is that not the definition of racism, but then you cannot say...

PETERSON: I said American racism. It is. Listen, let me answer the question. Why would you ask — why would you ask me...

PARKER: ... then it's in the Republican Party, because the Republican Party is full of individuals who want to protect their freedom.

PETERSON: ... on here and not allow me to answer the questions?

HANNITY: Hey, James, it's not — it's not...

PETERSON: Why would you have me on if I'm not allowed to answer the questions?

HANNITY: James, you're spending half your time — you're spending half your time complaining. I'll go back to another question. Is Louis Farrakhan...

PETERSON: I'm not complaining.

HANNITY: Is Louis Farrakhan a racist in your view?

PETERSON: In my view, there are certain people in this world who are racist, and they have the power to enforce that racism on people that they hate.

PARKER: Right. Like people in the Democratic Party, who force you to stay in broken schools...

PETERSON: So you can take anyone. I'm not — so you can take — you can take anyone.

PARKER: ... against their will.

PETERSON: And you take anyone and put someone in power…

HANNITY: Hang on one second.

PETERSON: …and if they hate someone, then they use the system to oppress them, that is racism.

HANNITY: No, no. You know what's troublesome to me? Because I give you an obvious example. Everybody knows Farrakhan is a racist. But here I ask you, and you don't seem to have the moral conviction or courage.

PETERSON: You always want to attack me, Sean.

HANNITY: You're quick with your admonitions and warnings and the Republican Party ought to pay attention. What about Democratic politicians that hang out with Farrakhan, or Reverend Wright?

PARKER: Let's move it away from the personalities. Let's look at just what your definition is.

PETERSON: Listen, listen. Hold on. There's enough racism in this country to go around. Listen, there's enough racism in this country to go around.

PARKER: Well, let's look at what your definition is. Sytematic. Then why — then why is it that systematically, it's the Democrats who force abortion in poor communities? Why is it systematically that the Democrats will force poor children to stay in broken schools?

PETERSON: Force abortions, Star? What are you talking about? What are you talking about?

PARKER: Absolutely. They set up an absolutely — don't you remember the health care bill? My goodness. The debate was about abortion. When you look at what's happening.

PETERSON: Really? The health care bill is a bill about abortions?

PARKER: Down in Georgia, for instance — down in Georgia, for instance, the NAACP said there is something wrong with targeting their community with abortion.

PETERSON: Star. Listen. Listen, you can yell as much as you want to yell, Star. It doesn't make your point any stronger.

HANNITY: We've got to go — we've got to go...

PETERSON: You can yell as much as you want to yell. It doesn't make your point any stronger.

HANNITY: James, we've got to go one at a time. Let me ask Star. As — as a conservative African-American woman, have you experienced racism?

PARKER: In which definition? The definition that somebody may call me out of my name or the definition that the opponent is saying that it's systematically against me?

No, I do not find that the American system is against me. What I found, especially in my joining legal welfare, was that, if I would put my talent on the table, if I would control my impulses, if I would make decisions and plans for my own life, then I could be successful. I don't allow individuals to stand in my way.

HANNITY: Have you been attacked as an African-American woman for being conservative?

PARKER: Absolutely. Death threats against my children.

See, this is where they lie. They lie about who racists are. And what they do is try to paint them the Republican Party as racist so it will stop discussion. But I think that that's over.

That's what happened during the health care debate, and the people still didn't stop. Because American people want freedom. And they're not going to allow — they're not going to allow people to keep intimidating them.

HANNITY: Alright. Let me ask — let me ask James this.

James, I've interviewed many, many people in the course of this program, many African-Americans who are conservative, and they are called all sorts of names that I won't repeat on this program. All sorts of names.


PARKER: It's more than just names.

HANNITY: And it happens with regularity.


HANNITY: They're ostracized.


PARKER: It's social suicide. You lose employment. You lose your integrity and credibility in your community. They paint a picture on black conservatives in this country as if we do not have individual minds and thoughts. And it makes others afraid to speak out.

You know, when you think about black America, a third of them say that they are conservative. They're evangelical conservative, poll after poll after poll. But you don't see that in their voting patterns, and you don't see that in society, because they are afraid.

HANNITY: Let me get James to respond. James, what do you — what do you think when that happens to — to African-American conservatives, when they are excoriated for being conservative?

PETERSON: Sean, well, listen, I don't — I don't bash any African-American conservatives. I've never disrespected Star Parker or any black conservative. I think everyone has a right to their own opinions.

But let me tell you this, Sean. When I get off this show tonight, I'm going to get a series of e-mails, and they will be racist e-mails. And they will be directed at me just for appearing on your show. So I have experienced racism.

PARKER: Well, I get a lot of them that will be praising me and I'm black.

PETERSON: I wouldn't say America's against me — Star, can I finish, please, Star?

PARKER: Oh, sure, sorry.

PETERSON: Star, can I finish, please? Please?

PARKER: Yes, alright.

PETERSON: Listen, I have experienced racism in this country. My children have experienced racism in this country. I wouldn't say America is against me. It is not an either/or proposition. But there are some people who hold fast to certain religious beliefs...

PARKER: And they're all Republicans, you took a poll, right?

PETERSON: Sometimes they're conservative. No, they're not all Republicans. They are not all Republicans.

PARKER: Then maybe you should let Bill Maher the comedian know that...

PETERSON: The first question was asked to respond to Maher's point which I tried to respond to.

HANNITY: But I will tell you, one day we'll exchange e-mails. I don't think you'll be too fond of many of the ones I get as well.

PETERSON: They — I agree with you, Sean, we should. We should do that.

HANNITY: OK, James, thank you for being with us.

And good luck on your run for Congress in California.

PETERSON: Thank you for having me.

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