Twice I've eaten at Paula Deen's restaurant at the Harrah's Casino in Joliet, its nice, a little overpriced, not healthy but tastes good. I don't own any of her cooking utensils but do have a sauce of hers, I'm not really a fan of her's and honestly at times had trouble taken her seriously before all this came out about her use of racial slurs.
I'm not sure if she will end up going down the road of Jimmy The Greek, Fuzzy Zoeller and others who have crossed the racial line and paid for it with their careers but with Food Network not renewing her contract at months' end (and in fairness Food Network often drops older, less popular personalities for newer and younger cooks), it appears her less than professionalism with have a price.
But the things Paula Deen has admitted to saying are not cool, but I think the bigger issue is how nonchalant she was about the things she has said (in her court testimony vs a former employee), and in 2013 that's just not acceptable. As someone who has pulled herself up from her bootstraps from Savannah, GA, she comes from a different world than my native south side of Chicago. But she still needs to recognize as my mother said "we have to be citizens of the world". That means respecting others and getting past whatever parochial place we came from.
Look I'm African American and from West Pullman, I've been called every name in the book (at least twice), I've heard racist jokes, have been in academic and professional situations that were less than racially ideal. She has to understand that sorry doesn't cut it. A lot of us people of color have years and decades of pain from past racial incidents, they just don't go away easily. We look in the mirror and sometimes hear those remarks and jokes over and over again. Being discriminated against doesn't wipe away with a tissue like a tear, and being put down down solely because of our skin color is the deepest hurt there is. Even reading about others going through similar situations now, just reminds us that despite an African American man and his family reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, doesn't mean we live in a "post racial" society.
I have relatives (that are African American), that in private have said less than stellar things about other races, its not cool for anyone to put anyone down. Whether they can hear it or not, whether it is "a joke", or not. I'm holding back tears as I write this, because my mind is racing with some past pain.
I'll go further, I'm a long time hip hop fan, I've listened to some lyrics over the years that have created a double standard for the use of racial epithets and makes it seem that some words (that carry more hurt than a bullet), are nothing more than "terms of endearment" for some yet if someone outside of that group uses them, it's completely socially unacceptable.
Like I said, I'm from West Pullman, you hear the "N word" and other negative racial words a lot in the street and that's to describe ourselves, I'm guilty of it too, its where I'm from, its how we talked. But that does not make it okay.
But the word is bigger than Savannah, GA and West Pullman, we live in a word of billions and most of those people are different than Paula Deen & I, we have to respect them but that starts with respecting ourselves. I hope Paula understands the hurt negative racial terms cause, I know I do.
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