I know I’m late for saying my piece on the Paula Deen n-word scandal. And what I will say won’t be as clever as other bloggers. Still, I’ll do my best.But first, let’s get to the basics.
Paula Deen is, or was, Food Network’s popular chef with a wholesome Southern charm to her dishes. However, she’s also a racist, a proud one until recently.
It began with a lawsuit by a former employee to one of her restaurants. Lisa Jackson accused the fallen chef of “creating a hostile working environment which include racist and sexist behavior. The lawsuit was aimed at Paula Deen’s bro Bubba, but it revelations surfaced that she is not exactly a progressive liberal herself.
Paula admits that she used the n-word, but to her defense, she uses it to describe black criminals like the one that tried to rob her at gunpoint once, or so she claims. And that’s not all. She wants middle-aged black men to pretend to be “slaves” at an old-school Southern wedding. “Old-school” in this case refers to the days of slavery where white supremacy was overtly brazen.
As a result for her speaking her raised-on-racism mind, Food Network fires Paula Deen. She releases a couple of videos giving faux-pologies to everyone except the very people she offended, us negroes. Twitter blows up with witty tweets mocking her. And – of course – people are up in arms defending her, including – you guessed it – a black guy who’s friends with her.
It’s easy as pie to demonize Paula Deen for her racism. And she deserves it. No amount of her Southern fried charm can dismiss her white supremacy and her apparent dreams for the days where blacks served whites with a smile – or else.
Paula isn’t alone.
Some, if not most, white people in the South (particularly) have these idyllic fantasies about how things used to be. They see the old Hollywood-induced images of refinement and elegant decor. They see polite gentlemen and dainty ladies wearing 19th Century fashion living in huge alluring mansions on beauteous plantations, most which still exist to this day.
White people see movies, TV shows, stories – from word of mouth or books, go on historic tours and see live-action Civil War shows which illustrate romanticism to the Old South from the point of view of whites. Any degree of the violent environment of slavery is either minimized or left out completely so as to not disturb the nice white folks with a possible guilt trip. So, there’s no surprise why many whites today yearn for those days just to see how exciting those times presumably were, and have fun.
And don’t think for one minute that it is just isolated in the deep South. It is everywhere. There are white people who miss the days where they are on top of the world, free to do and say whatever they want without consequences. They miss their God-like status and some are frantic that it’s being withered away.
The historic truths behind slavery and Jim Crow can not be suppressed, and it shouldn’t be. Both are part of American history, the kind of history many will immediately cop-out with the old “Africans sold slaves too” argument.
As for the n-word rationalizations that include that black people use it all the time in their rap songs, white people lost that privilege. It’s not up to you on what words we say or should say to each other. So, they need to – as they always tell us to do when it comes to that particular time period that they can’t stand to hear about – get over it.
So, is this the end Paula Deen’s empire? No. Her white privilege will save her no matter how wrong she is.