On the Paula Deen scandal

1: She is annoying as hell to listen to. I get addicted to cooking shows but cannot stand to watch her.

2: I don’t confuse annoying with evil.

3: What she did was wrong. It isn’t her past use of the ‘N-word’ in the past that bothers me. In the South this is normal speak and it is a slow-going affair to change people’s language. I know I’ve tried with my own family in Arkansas and progress is still slow. Even so, among various people that I’ve noticed have stopped using the ‘N-word’ they still use other names (‘Gum’ for one). Names are indicators of deeper beliefs and we sometimes get to caught up on the use of words that may be purposefully hurtful or a matter of convention. What really bothers me is this part where she is unaware of her own racism when she expressed a desire to have black servers at a plantation style wedding.

4: It is the Cooking Networks right to fire someone for the reason they did. Its a better reason than a lot of the other practices by companies out there.

5: Some of the anti-Paula debate seems incredibly vindictive and a lynch mob mentality. We are quick to demonize and destroy her for past use of the N-Word while some of the same attackers for Deen will give a pass to Rachel Jeantel’s witness testimony using the word ‘cracker’ as a part of her culture (I liked her testimony by the way). In other words, our treatment of groups is not completely fair whereas some groups get a pass and some groups don’t.

6: A lot of the needed discussion about race in this country is being overshadowed by the punditry on both sides that are demonizing the other side.

7: I liked her video apology. No excuses were made, just an “I was wrong”. However, I would like to hear how she will be proactive in supporting anti-racist bullshit that is out there.

8: Racism is still a big issue and is not so simple a thing as a ‘white people problem’. There are racism all the way around. And if you just thought ‘but white people are guilty of oppression…” I ask that you again look up the term ‘racism’ in the dictionary.

9: As many bigoted, closed-minded people there are on one side… there are equally bigoted, closed-minded people on the ‘progressive side’. Many times I’ve heard some foul and venomous hate from peaceful progressives. Take a transcript from a speech or class and take out the words ‘white person’ or ‘male’ or whatnot and substitute it with your own group. This goes in gender politics, race politics, ethnic politics.. etc.

10: Saying the things above does not dissolve the very real imbalance of power, particularly by white males in the world, nor the very real need for increased sovereignty of different groups and peoples over their own interests.

There IS a lot of abuse of power and control by the ‘developed world’ over the ‘undeveloped world’ (notice language here) or ‘male’ over ‘female’ or ‘believer’ over ‘heathen’ or ‘white’ over ‘non-white’ and so on. Very real, very pervasive, and very entrenched. Yet one will not understand the solutions to these abuses and the categorical problems in language and belief and structure by perpetuating the very same abuses clothed in different language. Abuse is abuse, no matter who perpetuates it. Saying that a membership in a group affords one the right to do so is victim mentality.

Now… let the windbags of hate (hate against black people and white people, who are vociferous on both sides of this whole thing) be ignored. Let those who truly want to bridge understanding, when we can have a community of differing races and the identity of which is no more important in judging a person’s merit than their favorite flavor of gum is, have an earnest discussion and continue to change the watershed from which will flow our waters of shared belief. Put down the reactionary and listen.

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