Okay, I am not a Paula Dean fan, but I am truly enjoying the fallout from her desire to have a plantation style wedding full of negro servants like the good ‘ole days. Anyone who is surprised that a Southern Belle like Paula Dean might be a little bit racist is fooling themselves.
Now what I really find amusing about this whole thing is not the fact that Paula Dean is racist. What amuses me are the comments by her fans and their outrage over the Food Network firing her. Paula Dean looks like a civil rights activist compared to some of the racist idiots speaking out to defend her. It is a true testament to the fact that racism is alive and well in our country; if you happen to be one of the people who has convinced themselves that racism isn’t as bad as it once was, these people will prove once and for all that those in the south really still have a hard time letting go of the fact that we freed the slaves and black people today have rights and stuff.
From complaining about Black History Month to asking the Food Network to fire President Obama (yeah really), to being just a little jealous that “those n***ers have BET” her fans have shown just how many people people in our country are perfectly content in their ignorance and hate. Aside from Paula using the “N” word, I think the Food Network was looking to ax her since she came out and admitted that she has diabetes – I mean how can you have this brand that touts the glorious joys of pounds and pounds of butter and be on a diabetic diet? It’s like the saying, “Never trust a skinny chef” – how can you chow down on her recipes when she is living proof that her style of cooking will probably kill you? It would have been discrimination to cancel her for that – so they just waited until she said or did something/anything that could excuse getting rid if her. The fact that she went all nostalgic on slavery was just a bonus. That’s my theory anyway.
Some people are trying to excuse her behavior by saying that she is an “old” white southern lady and sometimes stuff like that just slips out. She is only 66, so I am not giving her a pass on being old and out of touch. My Grandma is a good example of old, out of touch type racism. When I moved into my first apartment and I took my Grandma to see it, my neighbors across the way were outside (they were black). I introduced them to my Grandma, and she was nice to them but then when we got into my apartment she said, “This is a really nice apartment, but it’s a damn shame you have to live so close to those coloreds.” She really thought that segregation was still happening and I just happened to live on the ‘border’ between the white people and the black people. This was about 1992 and she was 80ish. She also flipped out about the price of thread at Michael’s because the last time she bought thread it was like 5 cents. THAT is old and out of touch. Paula Dean doesn’t get that pass.
I honestly don’t think she should have been fired though for her dream of a slave served wedding. I understand that celebrities have a certain responsibility to not be complete assholes and we hold them to a higher standard – but we don’t really. I mean if Paula Dean can get fired for saying the “N” word, shouldn’t we be able to fire every Republican in office right now? I mean really, if we are going to start holding people accountable from all walks of life when they make ignorant racist remarks (intentional or otherwise) then there are going to be a TON of job openings and there will be no one to fill them.
I have used the “N” word many times – I’ll even admit that I have used it in a derogatory manner. I don’t consider myself racist, but I have said and done things that I am not always proud of. I am sure that many people are like me. I am sure that anyone of any race has used a derogatory term to refer to someone of another race. I am not excusing it, I am just pointing out that people from all walks of life and all races have probably said something derogatory in their lifetime. Mel Gibson still has a job and he went on a Jew rant that would burn the devils ears. Pretty much any comedian alive should be fired too. I don’t know – it is the devils advocate in me that is trying to look at the realistic side of the words we use and how we use them. I mean white people get all nostalgic about the 50’s and the whole “Leave it to Beaver” type scenario and part of that nostalgia of the “good ‘ole days” includes things like segregation and women knowing their place. How is that any different from Paula Dean reminiscing about the days when we could dress the black people up for a party?
I know there is a difference – I am done playing devils advocate. You see, the difference between Paula Dean and I is this: I don’t think slavery is a good idea. While I have made racist remarks in my lifetime, I have never believed that I was better than anyone else (especially because of my skin color), nor have I ever been proud of the oppression and degradation that my ancestors practiced. I have never lamented the fact that I never got to own people, nor have I never thought that black people or any other race was lesser than me. Now I am not trying to excuse my own behavior, but I am at least willing to own up to the fact that I have said derogatory things. I think there is a difference between being derogatory and flat out racist. It’s like saying, “Asians can’t drive” to me that is stereotyping, but I don’t think it is racist. Calling a woman a bitch is derogatory, but that doesn’t mean you hate women. What Paula Dean said was racist because she believes that owning people was a good idea and she misses that ideal. No matter what words she used to describe her dream wedding, her intent behind it even if she said “African Americans” instead of “n***ers” her comment would STILL be racist and THAT is why she got fired. It wasn’t the one word she used – it was the entire scenario she described.
Now I don’t know if Paula Dean really is that out of touch where she thought she could say something like that and get away with it, or if she just doesn’t give a shit. It may be a little of both. However, no matter what her excuse is, her apologies have proven one thing to me. She isn’t sorry she said she wants n***ers to serve at a nice plantation style wedding, she is sorry that she got caught saying it. It isn’t like she just ‘slipped’ and said something racist, she had an entire conversation about missing slavery. That is pretty intentional if you ask me.
I don’t know about you, but I am really craving some fried chicken right now. What are your thoughts on the Paula Dean fiasco? Do you think she is racist or just out of touch?