**I try hard not to speak about current events as anything but an observer, but this one has just become out of control. So this week I want to comment on the Paula Deen debacle and lend some clarity.
Warning, there maybe some language in this post that could be considered offensive.**
I have a guilty pleasure, cooking shows. I love “the Food Network (FN)”, “Top Chef” and others. I have learned so much that has served to advance my cooking skills. Paula Deen has been among the host that have given me a better understanding of Southern culture and cooking. I was initially surprised as the next person to hear of Mrs. Deen’s comments, use of the word “Nigger” and subsequent firing by the FN and other sponsors. What further concerned me was the instant “I support Paula Deen” Facebook pages and multiple post showing support for a women who used a word that, as a society, we have considered repugnant for many decades (though in my humble opinion not long enough). Additionally, I began to laugh when I read post from my friends comparing Deen’s situation to movies that say “Nigger” or “nigga (not that this word is much better)” a ridiculous amount of times (e.g. Django Unchained). I truly believe that Paula Deen should not be fired for admitting that she called someone a nigger 30 years ago but you should really read the deposition for yourself. The whole thing is now out and it is a pretty long read and damning read, here are some of the highlights (lowlights) and why I believe she was really fired.
- She was accused (in a lawsuit) of only hiring only Caucasians to work in the front of the restaurant:
“Bubba [her brother] and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is or what is between your legs, it’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us.”
- The transcript mentions employee complaints about Deen’s brother looking at pornography at the restaurant during operating hours and forcing other employees to look at it as well. In direct response to questions about this, Deen said:
“I know all men in my family at one time or another, they’ll tell each other, ‘look what so and so sent me on my phone,’ you know. It’s just men being men.”
- In response to questions about whether or not she’d have a problem with her brother looking at porn at work, Deen said:
“If somebody sent him something and he pulled it up and looked at it, no, I would not persecute him for that. … Bubba, I don’t think, would ever do that if he thought there was somebody in the room that he — it would insult.”
- She did respond to a question about when it’s acceptable to use the N-word and Deen said:
“We hear a lot of things in the kitchen. Things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way. What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that’s got —It’s just what they are, they’re jokes.”
The continuation of this line of questioning is rather disturbing. Even Macklemore and Eminem understand that in today’s America there is not a nice way to call a African American a nigger, yet Deen proceeded to find that medium. This her response to the lawyer asking her to give and example of how to use the word nigger in a nice, joking way after she state that she could:
“That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the joke, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t know.”
There is not a nice way to tell a joke with the word “nigger” in it, trust me I have heard my fair share and not one of them is funny.
- The most repugnant part of the deposition was Deen’s description of a “[pre] Civil Wars style Southern plantation wedding” she wanted for her brother. She was reportedly inspired by a restaurant with nicely dressed, middle-aged black waiters dressed up as slave caricatures. When asked by the questioner in the deposition whether the race of the waiters mattered, Deen said, “Well, that’s what made it.” the very suggest that slaves could be a quaint scenic touch at a wedding is deplorable to say the least.
Listen, if you really want to please go and read the whole deposition . After i did I came to the to the conclusion that as a private company I would not want someone who acts in the manner that she has and continues to defend it to represent my company. What about forgiving and forgetting? Honestly, I am all for forgiving but I also understand that we all must deal with the consequences of our actions (good or bad) and unfortunately we must let Mrs. Deen and her brother walk that path. She is a public figure and she has to deal with this publicly. If you want to talk about the numbers of celebrities, actors, pastors, politicians of all races that make stupid comments I will submit that you are deflecting from the real reason for her release and ask you to please read the deposition.
As I began I really meant what I said, I do not think she should be fired for calling a robber a nigger 30+ years ago while working at a bank but I the more I dig I see a national and cultural conversation that need to happen, especially within the church. I think another blogger said it the best when she said, “If our country ever wants to heal from the racism of our past, [we have] to stop denying that it’s still an issue. We need to own it. To step up and start a national conversation about race. That starts by being honest.”
Honestly, these are just my thoughts and opinions, what say you? I look for ward to the conversation!
Please like this post and share it on Facebook and/or Google + and follow me on Twitter