Paula, Paula, Paula. What a mess she has gotten herself into! Because of her use of racial slurs, I was so glad to hear that the Food Network has decided not to renew her contract and am hoping that QVC drops her too. I believe that an example should be made of her, especially since she hasn’t denied any of the allegations (I guess it’s not an allegation if it’s true). But it’s not just about her using the n-word it’s the systematic behavior throughout her business operations and the hostile work environment that she has allowed that are morally and financially degrading to African Americans. Paula Deen’s actions go way beyond the use of the n-word. She is a millionaire and has become a culinary celebrity by selling to ALL ethnicities, even though her company failed to pay African American employees the same as White employees.
Paula Deen is from the deep south (Savannah, Georgia to be exact), so can I blame her? She comes from an era where the n-word was used as commonly as the word “the”. Sure this is a new day & time, but if someone is raised a certain way with racist values embedded in them it’s not so easy to shake those ways. Our upbringing shapes who we are even if times have changed. Now this doesn’t excuse her actions it just helps explain why she feels the way she does towards Blacks. The problem I have with Paula is that if she didn’t see the big deal about what she was doing and not ashamed of her true feelings, she would have felt free to discuss this subject matter with Oprah when she came to visit her at her home 1 year ago. I believe that Paula may be upset because she got caught saying the n-word, not because she said actually said it.
It’s comical that the vast majority of the people who support Paula Deen’s return to the Food Network are White. It’s even funnier that more White people are accepting of her behavior and think that her actions deserve nothing less than total forgiveness. After all, she is from one of the most racially charged states in this nation. However, it is one thing for her to have used racial slurs (which I’m sure she still uses) but it’s another thing to treat your staff unfairly in a racially hostile work environment. Paula Deen claims that she is not a racist but if that was the case why did so many of her African American employees feel uncomfortable & discriminated against? When Paula spoke about her desire for the antebellum period (read: Southern plantation style) for her brother’s wedding & having Blacks dress up like slaves, that reeks of good ole fashioned racism.
Now one of the oldest questions that Whites always want to know is why is it okay for Blacks to use the n-word but they can’t. Why do we allow our rappers, like Kanye West, to use that word but are ready to start a riot when White’s admit to saying the n-word? Well, here’s my response: If I were to call your mom fat, you would have a problem with that wouldn’t you? I know for many men, those would be fighting words. Even if you know that’s a sore spot for her and she’s struggling with her weight. But if your mother looks in the mirror and calls herself fat then that would be okay. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with the use of the n-word, but if an African American chooses to use that word then that is their discretion, not yours. But it by no way permits Whites to use that word EVER. So White people please stop asking us this question, it is not your place to question what we call ourselves.
As for Paula Deen, I would say that her apology is too little and way too late. The only thing that racist people like Paula understand is not Black or White but green (money), so I will not be patronizing her businesses now or ever: A bought lesson is a taught lesson.