A week after using a racial slur on his political talk show, Bill Maher returned to his HBO series, Real Time, to address his usage of the N-word and why he shouldn’t have said it in the first place.

Joining him in the debate was hip-hop historian/educator/author Michael Eric Dyson and rapper Ice Cube. After his monologue, Maher had a chat with Dyson about his transgression.

“I want you to school me. I did a bad thing,” Maher told Dyson, to which he agreed. He then asked Maher why did he apologize for saying the racial slur.

“There is a lot of bulls--- apologizing in America, and I am against that,” Maher said. "[But this is] appropriate because, I’ll tell you why: For black folks, that word — I don’t care who you are — has caused pain. I’m not here to do that.”

“It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said in malice if it brought back pain to people," he added. "And that’s why I apologized freely, and I reiterate it tonight. That’s sincere. I’m not that big of an asshole.”

Ice Cube appeared on the second-half of the show to delivered a teachable moment. The rap veteran took Maher to task for saying the N-word and asked him directly what made him feel so comfortable in saying the word.

“I love your show, you’ve got a great show,” Cube said. “But you be bucking up against that line a little bit. You know, you’ve got a lot of black jokes.”

When Maher pushed back from that critique, Cube shot back, “Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker.”

But Cube accepted Maher’s apology for uttering the racial slur, but added, “I think we need to get to the root of the psyche, because 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’re too familiar.”

"It's a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. And you can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool," he continued. "It’s been used as a weapon against us — by white people. And we’re not going to let that happen again, by nobody, because it’s not cool. Now I know you’ve heard, it’s in the lexicon, everybody’s talking. But that’s our word now, and you can’t have it back.”

You can watch Bill Maher's interview with Dyson above and Ice Cube's diatribe below.

Ice Cube and Symone Sanders Talk White Privilege on Real Time

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