Megyn Kelly tells Bill Maher 'divisive racism' in the country is driving people to 'lean into victimhood'

Following a brief conversation about political leanings of major cable news outlets, Maher asked Kelly why she and her husband decided to pull their children from their private schools in New York

Megyn Kelly tells Bill Maher 'divisive racism' in the country is driving people to 'lean into victimhood'
Political commentator and TV host Bill Maher and journalist Megyn Kelly from 'The Megyn Kelly Show' talk racism and its effects in America (Getty Images)
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Bill Maher invited former Fox News and NBC News star Megyn Kelly for an interview on Friday, February 26, on HBO's Real Time. The duo had a frank discussion about race, social justice and 21st-century “victimhood” in America — and especially how it affected kids and the education system.

Following a brief conversation about the obvious political leanings of some major cable news outlets, Maher asked Kelly why she and her husband had decided to pull their children from their private schools in New York, according to a Deadline report.

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“You took your kids out of the school in New York, and I’ve been hearing — anecdotally — very much the same thing from many parents,” said Maher. “Just tell us why, basically, you did this.”

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“We were in the New York City private school system,” Kelly recalled, “and they were definitely leftist, we’re more center-right, and that’s fine… then they started taking a really hard turn toward social justice stuff.”

Megyn Kelly, NBC News Anchor and host of "Megyn Kelly Today" speaks onstage with Alyson Shontell at IGNITION: Future of Media at Time Warner Center on November 29, 2017, in New York City (Getty Images)

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The 'Megyn Kelly Podcast' host said her eight-year-old boy's school had “unleashed three-week experimental trans-education program. It wasn’t about support — we felt that it was more like they were trying to convince them.” According to her, it only “confused the kids.” Meanwhile, she noted how her kindergartner “was told to write a letter to the Cleveland Indians objecting to their mascot.”

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“It’s so divisive and counterproductive. And it wasn’t just our school in New York… and it’s all over New York,” Kelly argued. Maher agreed that he had heard similar concerns from parents, who say, "My kids are not ready to be told they’re White supremacists. I’m not ready to be told that.” The HBO star went on to read a letter from a school that reportedly said things like “there’s a killer cop sitting at every school where White children learn."

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“I’m tired of White people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity and snuffing out Black life with no consequences” and “as Black bodies drop like flies around us by White hands…” Maher commented, “It bothers me so much that I have to be on this side of this issue because I’ve always been a civil rights advocate. Don’t make me Tucker Carlson. You’re the f**king nuts — this is insane.”

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He added: “There [are] racist problems problems in this country, but this is hyperbole. And this is making people crazy. This is not the way we get to the Promised Land.”

Kelly agreed that the approach was "divisive" and "racist" and does not have the effect they intend. “Everybody gets divided into ‘oppressed’ or ‘oppressor’ on racial identity, on sexual identity," she explained.

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"I mean, this is really damaging, and as you get older, what the studies show is these sort of implicit biased education efforts bring out racism. So if somebody’s having racist thoughts in the back of their head, it brings it to the frontal lobe, and more people act on their latent racism than they otherwise would have.”

Bill Maher Performs During New York Comedy Festival at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2016 in New York City. (Getty Images)

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The pair discussed a few more examples of apparent overreach by schools, as well as by some students of color. “Again, I’m with you. Of course we should acknowledge that there is racism in this country, and we have a horrible, sorry history," Maher told Kelly.

"We don’t have an exactly horrible, sorry present, certainly as much as it was in the past. That doesn’t mean there’s not work to do, and we should do it, but don’t gaslight me. … I feel like this is beyond race. I feel like it’s a generational thing where so many people want their identity wrapped up being a victim.”

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“That’s the push now, to lean into victimhood," Kelly responded. "And it’s not just a race thing, I see it in some of my fellow women … but we don’t have to lean into victimhood, even when we might be victims. Even if you are a real victim, which I’ve been in the past too, it isn’t psychologically helpful not helpful to lean into it."

"I always use the word ‘target.’ I was the target of certain men — that didn’t make me anybody’s victim," she added. "And the more you wallow in that mentality, the more you veer toward negativity and attract more of it in your life.”

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In conclusion, Maher thanked Kelly for accepting his invitation “and talking about this — not an easy subject, and I hope someday we don’t have to talk about it.”

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