This is a food blog and Paula Deen is a celebrity chef so this post is relevant however political it might get. And I hate that I even have to begin a post like this with a disclaimer that I am not a racist towards any ethnic or religious background or sexual orientation. It seems in today’s society that those disclaimers are needed when issuing an opinion like a defense of Paula Deen or telling someone that I voted again President Obama twice. Neither of those items makes me a racist.
Now, let’s get to the facts of this “scandal” and what has caused Paula Deen to lose her contracts with QVC, FoodNetwork, Sears, J.C. Penney, Wal-mart, Home Depot, Target, Food Network, Smithfield Foods, and Caesars Entertainment. Under oath in a deposition, Paula admitted to using the n-word in the past. We’re talking twenty years ago. She was also asked “if she thinks jokes using the N-word are mean?” She responded that jokes often target minority groups and “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.” For these two statements, Paula has been labelled a racist.
It seems like the left media that is attacking Paula like those in the MSNBC clip below are ignoring a few facts. First, the self-admitted use of the n-word happened twenty years ago. Not yesterday. And when she used the n-word, she had a gun to her head (see Matt Lauer clip below) and was fearing for her life. If she called somebody the n-word yesterday, their argument would have merit. Second, Paula herself admitted to using it. She wasn’t caught on tape dropping the word and then turning around and lying about it. No, unlike President Clinton, she told the truth under oath about, once again, something that happened twenty years ago. Third, in her response to the joke question, she does not admit to telling or laughing at racial jokes. She just says everyone’s perspective is different and their own.
Before you judge Paula Deen, ask yourself two questions:
- Have you in your lifetime out of a moment of weakness or ignorance ever used a racial slur towards any group of people (race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, religion, disability, etc)?
- Have you in your lifetime ever told or laughed at a joke at the expense of any group of people (race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, religion, disability, etc)?
If you answer no to either of those questions, then you are not being honest with yourself or to those around you. We all have. It’s part of human nature. It’s not a proud part, but it is a part nonetheless that we must overcome.
So, why is Paula Deen being targeted? This is a question that I just can’t find an answer to. Even Rev Al Sharpton agrees, “She deserves what’s fair, but that’s based on what she’s engaged in now.” Even Jesse Jackson has come to her rescue. Both of these men of faith understand forgiveness, and an action that happened twenty years ago, of which has not been repeated, should be forgiven.
Maybe it’s because of her bootstraps story? Paula Deen is living the American dream. She began her career after an ugly divorce that left her with only $200 to her name. She then built her cooking empire from a home catering business selling brown bag lunches. Her skills and hard work led her to the Paula Deen cookware, cookbooks, restaurants, and cooking shows we know and love today. She took no handouts. Instead, she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and worked hard. This is a quality that seems to be lost in today’s culture of entitlements. The successful are demonized. I know, I am seeing it in my own workplace where our compensation structure has been re-written to encourage growth. There is outrage amongst the masses. Very few want to work for their money.
Why is racism worse than other crimes? Let us remember, once again, that Paula is being scandalized for actions, for which she regrets, that took place twenty years ago. While racism is hurtful, it does not physically harm others. Yet, our society accepts and forgives violent criminals before those who committed acts of racism. NFL star Plaxico Burress was arrested for carrying a loaded, illegal fire-arm into a club and shooting himself. He was later indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and a single count of reckless endangerment in the second degree. Both crimes are felonies. Plaxico spent two years in jail and was welcomed back into his million dollar NFL career. His actions which could have killed an innocent bystander were immediately forgiven. Michael Vick was responsible for the reckless treatment and killing of dogs. Like Plaxico, he was forgiven and earns millions in the NFL. Let’s also not forget about Ray Lewis’s murder charges. And how many times does Ben Roethlisberger need to be accused of raping a woman before he is fired and loses endorsements?
Beyond the brutal world of sports, let’s focus on Martha Stewart. She runs a business empire similar to that of Paula Deen. She was convicted of insider trading for which she spent time in jail. Many may think, “Big deal! It’s just insider trading!” But it is a big deal. When someone in power uses their insider knowledge to profit, then it negatively affects the stock market in general. Those who invest in the stock market are not just the fat cats on Wall Street. It is also you and I through our 401ks, pension plans, and other retirement funds. All of us are negatively affected by insider trading. Martha Stewart’s actions essentially took money out of our retirement funds. Yet, she was forgiven and her wares can be found in nearly every major department store.
Is Paula being picked on because she is a Southerner? Perhaps it’s just discrimination against the South. Do we not think that folks in the South have changed since the days of the Civil Rights movement? I grew up in the North and currently live in the South. I will tell you that I witnessed more racism in Ohio than I do currently in North Carolina. People in Ohio are still appalled when a black family moves into the neighborhood. My current neighborhood in North Carolina is well integrated and we are all friends. Yet, there is much outcry over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Are we seriously fearful that the racist Southerns will return and not allow minorities to vote? Give me a break! With today’s widespread media and social media, that’s not going to happen. It would draw immediate attention. After 40 years and a generation, can’t the South be trusted again? We have forgiven Germany and the killing of millions of Jews after all.
In my support of Paula Deen, I am protesting FoodNetwork, both the network and their web site. Why FoodNetwork over the other entities? It’s because I don’t purchase the products or patron the stores of the other business. And because FoodNetwork led the way as the first to sever Paula’s contract. FoodNetwork needs to feel the financial pinch they have placed on Paula Deen’s business and employees. I want my viewership and dollars to go to businesses that are opened minded and believe in the good nature of people. That are of moral character and can forgive actions from twenty years ago. Not just to businesses that align with the liberal media. I’m not the only American that feels this way. After the scandal, Paula’s new cookbook shot from 16 to 6 on the Amazon best sellers list and her Deen family cruise is selling tickets faster than ever.
I welcome comments to this post from either side of the argument without immediate moderation. However, if comments are slanderous towards others stating that the other side’s opinion is wrong without supporting facts, then I reserve the right to delete your comment. I want a debate and not a mudslinging.