‘Patriot Act’: Hasan Minhaj Looks at Civil Rights Rollbacks During the Current Administration

Even when covering familiar territory, this episode is a reminder of the potential longterm effects of decisions being made across multiple cabinet departments.
"Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj"
"Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj"

One of the pitfalls of having a current administration riddled with chaos and turnover is that it seems counterproductive to talk about people who aren’t in public office anymore. Still, that didn’t stop Hasan Minhaj and “Patriot Act” from taking a look at some of the long-reaching ramifications of multiple departments’ rollbacks of federal protections over the past few years.

Oversimplified Harry Potter analogies aside, this is an efficient overview of how actions taken under the departmental leadership of Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, and the now-jobless Jeff Sessions have had significant effects on the status of civil rights for minorities and the LGBTQ community in states across the country. It’s enough to get Minhaj to tell the studio audience at one point, “This is not funny.”

Offering a useful overview of terms like consent decrees, this “Patriot Act” installment also addresses ongoing issues related to housing discrimination and investigations of school safety that somehow avoid researching gun control. And, as tends to happen with shows like this, there’s even a Person You Probably Weren’t Aware of Before This segment. This time it’s Roger Severino, Director of the Office for Civil Rights at Health and Human Services. Minhaj has some thoughts on him that we’ll let him elaborate on.

The fact that this show can switch between discussions of systemic changes at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the greater implications of streetwear brand decisions (like it did a few months ago) makes this one of the more versatile, valuable series in late night.

As usual, the show’s segments are available on YouTube the day of a new installment, so watch the full overview (including an unexpected James Harden joke) below:

“Patriot Act” releases new episodes every Sunday on Netflix.

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