Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Opinion~ Paula Deen

I usually stay away from controversial subjects on this blog, but this is one I couldn't let go.

I live just 72 miles south of Paula Deen and her restaurants. I have children who live in Savannah. I have met her on several occasions over the years before and after her Food Network fame. Like her or don't like her is your choice. With her, it's what you see is what you get just like me.

While I might not agree with her on various cooking styles we respect each other.The current hype is her using the N word to describe a black person THIRTY years ago and under duress. All I gotta say is give me a break and cut her some slack.

What southern person over the age of fifty has not used that word once in their life? Even my unracially prejudice mother in law has said it, it is currently used by teens, and even I've said it once or twice in my lifetime. I'm far from prejudice or racially bias being nonwhite myself.

The points...
  • She was traumatized at the time. Having a gun pointed in your face would kinda do that, don't you think?
  • It was THIRTY years ago
  • She could have lied under oath. It wouldn't be the first time someone did it, but she didn't.
  • Does her use of that one word damn her for all time, it shouldn't. We all say things that we don't really believe or mean at times.
I've watched the story progress because it is close to home. Not because it's how the mighty fall from grace. She's lost her job with Food Network because of it. She's lost sponsors because of it (Smithfield, WalMart). Granted, it's a small chink in the armor of her multi million dollar enterprise, but still it's asinine.

The NAACP has a campaign going to bury the N word, but lately I've heard it said by persons of color mostly to describe each other. Isn't that an oxymoron? If it's wrong to say, isn't it wrong for everyone to say it? Where is the prejudice or racial bias now? When you hold one race to a different standard than your own, isn't that what the Civil Rights Amendment was all about? Equality for all not dependent on race, sex, or religion?

I'm not saying her use of the N word was right because wrong is wrong, but to punish her for the slur now after THIRTY years is ridiculous. It has no bearing on her present day status. At the time, she was a single mother of two trying to make ends meet just like the rest of us. Why must we tear down the successful to make us feel better?

I don't hide to fact that I was a drug addict or alcoholic in my twenties. Now looking back as I approach my seventies, do I regret it? Nope, I've used that experience to move on and help others. That is far more damaging for a minister and semi-public figure than using the N word. We all have a history and a past. We've all said and done things in our past that we might not be particularly proud of in our past. Let it go and move on. Even Christ said, "Go and sin no more."

Just my quarter for my thoughts.
(It used to be a penny but with time and inflation it raised in value)

9 comments:

Dana said...

Very well-said, my friend. I completely agree.

Zan Marie said...

I'll just add that I'm tired of people who assume that if you have a Southern accent and are white, you're a racist. I saw several commentators make that assumption this week while discussing Paula Deen and the Voting Right's Act decision. That's racism or at least regionalism, isn't it?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo .. I have to say I can't be doing with it - what's the point ... so unnecessary to bring it up - or worry about it ... etc etc etc ..

I heard a black man describe someone as a black man the other day - seemed perfectly natural to me and to him .. he was asked why and said well it was necessary to describe him .. and it did ..

Crazy .. you're too right .. Hilary

Jeremy [Retro] said...

well said... i feel that many people need to be somewhere on this subject for their own experiences... i am not nor ever will be racially motivated, i think that people are being too tough to her in this situation... we all "all" of us have said something inappropriate in some way and trying to get our demons out on our poster-child for racism... people are to thin skinned on many things, it's to easy to point a finger than deal with this rationally...

i am trying to be very general and not just being one person, but many voices... we need to step up, not out on this... she is not a witch, so stop the witch hunt...

we all make mistakes, we all say things we regret, we all have lives that need hope... and faith.

i think i covered many voices, sorry if i didn't get my point across... there are so many more terrible things in this world, we focus our attentions on less important things... not that this isn't important. we need to pick our battles, this battle should be over..

S.P. Bowers said...

I think she's getting a bum rap. People just like to jump on anything they can skew into some sort of scandal. What if we found out President Obama said something that wasn't politically correct 30 years ago. Would they fire him too?

J.L. Murphey said...

Zan Marie- I agree with you. The N word is not just southern, now the northern states have just as many. Southern is more Hispanic.

Jeremy- yep- you took all sides .

I remember all Japanese and Chinese people described as yellow, Arabs= olive, but could not justify black in my mind for people of African descent. Brown, coffee, or chocolate maybe but not black.

Sara- If Obama did it everyone would suddenly become blind and deaf just like with half the things he actually does. We could only hope he would be fired. Enough about politics!

Vanessa Morgan said...

I live in Belgium and the famous N word in Dutch is used all the time with no negative connotation to it :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very well said!!
And why shouldn't everyone be banned from saying that word?
One of our church's former ministers was a drug addict. Made his testimony all the more powerful and real.

ali cross said...

"Go and sin no more." YES.

I thought you put this all very well. I wholeheartedly agree on all points.