Monday, July 1, 2013
Paula Deen and the N-Word
The part that really seems to have people enraged is that Paula had also said that she wanted to throw a Plantation-style themed wedding for her brother with middle-aged Black men dressed in bow-ties, black trousers, and white dinner jackets. The only reason she didn't follow through with it was that she figured people would misread her intent behind it as a negative one.
At her deposition Paula did admit to using the N-word over 20 years ago when she was working as a bank teller and an African-American man had robbed the bank and put a gun to her head. She said she used the word to refer to the man when she got home and was telling her husband what happened. She also said that she had used it a few times after that incident in conversation when telling jokes. As for the wedding, she said she was inspired to throw the Plantation-style themed wedding because of a Southern restaurant she had gone to with her husband; all the wait-staff were middle-aged African-American men dressed in white dinner jackets with black bow-ties. She thought they looked very impressive and wanted to recreate the look.
Like the next person, I was disappointed to hear that Paula Deen had used the N-word whether in seriousness or in joke. It isn't acceptable to me and shouldn't be encouraged. I also felt it would have been inappropriate had she thrown such a themed-wedding because whether maliciously intended or not, it would have stirred up old pain and anger from people of African-American descent because it would be a reminder of the days of slavery when plantations were owned by White families with Black slaves.
Now I expected there to be repercussions for her behavior but I must tell you, I did not expect her to be burned at the stake for it. It seems that overnight everyone has turned their backs on her. Her contract at the Food Network TV station was not renewed; mind you she had been with them for several years. She lost her sponsorship with several companies including Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Sears, Smithfield Foods, Novo Nordisk, and more. My goodness! The top news reporters are calling her a "racist" and a "bigot", and she is being painted as some modern day devil. Some may say it's deserved punishment but I honestly think they've gone overboard with it.
Paula Deen was irresponsible and inconsiderate with her words but I believe that she has learned her lesson; she has publicly apologized several times and we should be big enough people to forgive her. Also, I believe that the debate of who gets to say the N-word or not is old and should be done away with. In my book, NO ONE should say the word. Black, White, Asian, Latino, it doesn't matter. The word has a derogatory attachment to it and is still very hurtful to people in the Black community. The word was used to demean and destroy the spirit of innocent people that were forced into an unfair life of slavery by wicked individuals. Why would any of us want to fight for exclusive rights to such a word? We should all despise it because as you can see in the case of Paula Deen, it is nothing positive to identify ourselves by. It is one of the ugliest words in existence and we should not give anyone of any race the comfort of uttering it.
There are many views on the matter and I can't wait to see your thoughts on this. Whether you agree or completely disagree, I welcome your viewpoint. Please feel free to drop a comment below so we can discuss!