Paula Deen and the Dreaded N-word

News: Washington Post reports, “The down-home foodie celeb has been the target of mockery and outrage since the release of a lawsuit deposition in which she acknowledged using racial slurs decades ago. Yet, Deen emphatically denied that she harbors racist thoughts. “I believe every creature on this earth, every one of God’s creatures, was created equal. . . That’s the way I was raised, that’s the way I live my life.” And she painted herself as a victim of “very, very hurtful lies” and judgments passed by “people I have never heard of [who] are all of a sudden experts on who I am.” Without specifically alluding to the former employee whose workplace discrimination suit brought her old rhetoric to light, she seemed to blame a personal vendetta for her current woes. “There’s someone evil out there that saw what I’d worked for and wanted that.”

Opinion: The fallout of Paula Deen has been swift and unfortunate for a woman who worked hard to get where she wanted to be. It took her years to build her food empire but it took merely a few days for it to come tumbling down. Loads of American companies and corporations like Walmart, Target and Home Depot dropped her like a hot potato. Mainstream media as expected was excessively sanctimonious in its condemnation of Paula Deen and would have gone after these big corporations if they didn’t do what they did.

NY Times’ Frank Bruni wrote, “What’s more, the triumphant cynicism of this situation seemed lost on her. She beamed as always. Was saucy as ever. You knew then that she had levitated to some altitude where she felt above reproach; that her investment in the bacon-wrapped burlesque of Paula, Inc., trumped a healthy conscience; and that self-examination was a condiment gone from her larder… it’s this backdrop that’s relevant to Deen’s firing by the Food Network and by Smithfield Foods. In a world of pervasive insult and elusive consensus, she provided a discrete opportunity for a line to be drawn. She served up a teachable moment on a platter.”

Regardless of the blanket condemnation by mainstream media, Paula Deen must be considered within the context of how she grew up and where she grew up. 1960s and before that was not exactly a time for non-white people and minorities were still emerging. Racial slurs and ethnic jokes were and are still prevalent; they are distasteful but not exactly felonies. However, many liberals have managed to survive all kinds of censures quite well; Bill Maher and many black reverends like sharptons, jacksons and farrahkhans have been unnecessarily offensive toward Whites, Asians, and Jews. Another reverend Jeremiah Wright was open about his anti-American rants as well racist comments about many groups as well. No condemnation from the media here!

Paula Deens’s fallout was over a racial slur specifically the n-word for which she apologized profusely. This contentious and hateful word while being such a taboo for people especially the white folks is ironically very popular with the black folks. In fact, for Blacks, it seems to occupy a place of satisfaction, a way to turn things around and claim it especially if it had been so egregious in the past; most Rap music is generously sprinkled with the n-word; black children and adults use it intermittently as a term of endearment or cursing but whatever the case, the n-word is abundant in ebonics. If the n-word is so offensive, it should be taken out completely, should be condemned in the dustbins of history and should never be heard of again. Ethics and morality must not be bargained with.

Paula Deen's Food Empire comes Undone

Paula Deen’s Food Empire comes Undone

About the Author

Politisite Human Interest Editor: Joyce is a graduate in Films and Communications and has found herself gravitating to writing with an increasing fervor. She has made short documentaries for Unicef and Indian TV. Joyce joined Politisite and writes regularly for Yahoo, Allvoices and her Blog on politics, religion, spirituality, family, cultural idiosyncrasies and anything else that catches her fancy. Joyce believes humor to be an essential ingredient of life and loves art, poetry and books. She is also a Homeopath and does Homeopathic consultations (alternative medicine).

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