Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stick A Fork In Paula Deen


More Butter, Ms. Deen?

Let's stick a fork into the Butter Queen's reign and call it done. Not because she sells you diabetes and diabetic medication. That has been a good reason for some time but many don't seem to care.

No, not because she said "nigger", (not "N Word", we're supposed to be grown-ups here), after being held at gun point during a bank robbery. That's just an excuse meant to rally her fellow bigots and racists, (there is a difference, and she meets the criteria for both), to her side. "Of course," as she said in the transcript, she used the word after being victimized by a Violent Black or "whatever they are calling theirselves". It was a tactic meant to sway a jury. In the public forum it has worked, on some.

I'm also not talking about forking her career because of the allegations of having certain employees work for beer or putting light-skinned employees in the front of the house in her restaurants and dark-skinned employees in the back. Those are only allegations until proven true.

If, however, you've read the leaked transcript, in her own words, it should be obvious to anyone that Paula Deen is both a racist and a bigot. One example of her mindset is making a distinction between the professionalism of black servants in white jackets and bow ties and niggers. She says, quite clearly, that there are niggers and that professional servants are not niggers. "Is she or isn't she" shouldn't be a question if you've read the transcript, unless, like Deen herself, you're a product of The American South and can't see beyond your own bias.

I've spent a great deal of time in The American South. My family is from there, and we had spent our summers there visiting relatives throughout my childhood. I lived there for a time. As late as the 1980s I saw the many faces of racism from the casual, "bless their little hearts", to the oppressive, "better get back to your side of town before sundown or you'll be swimming with chain, boy". To be clear: There was a color line in town and folks better have known their place or they might not make it back. In employment situations where a Caucasian and a non-Caucasian worked together the non-Caucasian was referred to by attaching the word nigger to the front of his name as if he had no last name to use. When I would point out the problems with these situations I was laughed at and dismissed as a Yankee.

I have not returned to The American South since. I'm told that things have changed, and to some small extent that may be, but we all know that change is slow. Read the comment thread on any Paula Deen news story and you'll see that racism and bigotry are still alive in the South, the North, the East and West too. They might be hiding behind "guest" and "anonymous", but they are out there hating. Just read a few of the examples below after Smithfield dropped their buttery sweetheart.

Racism and bigotry established, do we stick a fork in Paula Deen's career because of a culture she was marinated in, or do we give her a pass, as broken clock douchebag comic pundit Bill Maher suggests? Neither, really. She must go, but she should be neither forgiven nor forgotten.

She must go because, like Edward Snowden's whereabouts, Paula Deen's problems are a distraction. "Look over there" is constantly pulling national focus away from real matters like inequality, the erosion of the Constitution and Bill of Rights through secret courts, data mining and indefinite detention. It steals time from real threats like corporate control of our government, and the deterioration of an education system that might have prevented the next generation of racists and bigots.

Let's stick a fork in the Paula Deen story. Let's not "give her a pass", or forget her words. Let's get back to addressing why it's a story at all, and how it can help us learn about ourselves going forward, but let's get the problems of millionaire cooks off of our already too-full plates.

In closing, if you're still on the fence, you can tell a lot by someone's supporters. I leave you with their milder comments.

Yeah, that might not mean what you think it means.

If you don't see this as a problem, you're part of the problem.


Yeah ... next?


Anyone who hasn't shopped at Walmart start casting stones now.