Paula Deen’s, “Yes, of course,” to the question, “Have you ever used the N word yourself?” exhibits the crudeness and cockiness of Paula Deen’s racism. Because of her words, the Food Network, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, and Caesars Entertainment have dumped Ms. Deen, as her many followers extol her virtues and forgive her improprieties, and her many detractors abhor her remarks.
Her apologists do not blame Ms. Deen. Rather, they blame history. Apparently, Ms. Deen’s racism is understandable in light of her Southern upbringing. We are to believe the hackneyed stereotypes that Southerners are too ignorant, stupid or racist to appreciate or care about the use of the N word and other slurs, racist and anti-Semitic jokes and a life time of inappropriate and hateful language.
Southerners, as a whole, are not stupid, ignorant nor racist. Many cringe at Ms. Deen’s words and attitude. They understand the brutal legacy of dehumanizing a race of people for financial gain. They know that slavery and treason to uphold slavery was not the South’s finest hour, and they take no pride in that chapter of American history.
Ms. Deen tearfully denies her racism. However, her offered explanations do not provide the exoneration she seeks.
- It does not matter that Ms. Deen may love like a “son by another father”, Hollis Johnson, a man “black as that board”. Her words remain racist and intolerant.
- It does not matter that Ms. Deen’s great-grandfather committed suicide at the end of the Civil War when he lost his son and slaves and had to work his plantation himself. History cannot alter today’s intolerance.
- It does not matter that Ms. Deen transfers the blame for her situation to unidentified people who envy what she has accomplished. Her infantile attempt to shirk responsibility does not absolve her of culpability.
- It does not matter that Ms. Deen is part of that enormous group of people who have said something for which they are sorry. Her sins are not justified by the sins of others.
The fashioning of Ms. Deen as an American cliché does not help her cause. She is of an age and worldly enough to know the hurt of racial slurs and intolerant language heightened by a callous attitude. She knows or should know better. Ms. Deen will now face the consequences of her folksy self-judgment – “I is what I is, and I’m not changing.”
See, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PL02LMD8Gw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKWCJUxXJ6E, http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/06/video-of-paula-deen-making-insensitive-racial-comments-surfaces/ and http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/06/paula-deen-racial.php.