Thursday, June 27, 2013

Y'all Got me Fired!

Cooking sensation and TV personality, Paula Deen is in hot water (pun intended).  While being deposed in a video, she acknowledged using the "n" word (n*gger) to describe an African American robber who put a gun to her head at a bank.  On the Today show, she told reporter Matt Lauer:

“It was 30 years ago. I had had a gun put to my head, a shaking gun, because the man that had the gun to my head was unbeknown to me a customer at my main office. . . That man was so frightened the day he put the gun to my head. He was a customer. I had gone out on a limb for him and gotten him a loan, and he was frightened I was going to recognize him.”

This revelation has caused an uproar against Paula Deen.  The Food Network decided not to renew her contract, Walmart and a food company have dropped her as well.  QVC and other companies are weighing in the matter and waiting to see how things go before making a decision.  Last week, Deen was scheduled to appear in the Today Show but cancelled due to exhaustion.  However, she posted a video on youtube.  She rescheduled her Today Show appearance and gave an emotional explanation of what happened and asked for the forgiveness of all.

The situation is indeed grave.  She used a word that has a lot of bad history.  Black slaves were abused with that word.  Even after the Emancipation Proclamation and civil rights achievements, African Americans were still called by that racial epithet.  The word has a lot of evil behind it and I understand why some are upset and calling for her head.  However, a word is a word.  It is how we live our lives that define us, not what people call us.

I applaud Paula Deen for apologizing and being truthful to begin with; however, this scandal will be very hard to come back from. What is troubling is that Hip Hop artists make money by using that word and variations of it, yet their sponsors do not drop them nor is a big fuss made. I think the word's consequences should be equally applicable to all who use it regardless of race or gender.

It is not fair that African Americans can use it with each other, but if a Caucasian or member of another race uses it, they are seen as racist.  African Americans must stop using the word if they are to have credibility in their insistence that the word is racist and offensive.  Hip Hop artists and others must be held accountable for using the word.  Its use must not be tolerated by any race.

I personally have never used the word despite growing up in New York City where the word is used constantly in urban areas where minorities are the majority.  To this day, I admonish friends and young people on the streets when I hear that word.  I understand the whole "free speech" thing, but why would you use that great gift to offend others?  Why not use "free speech" to do positive things in society?  Free speech does not have to be negative.

In any event, Paula Deen should be forgiven.  Her fans will support her regardless of what happens.  We have to remember that she said this years ago and was honest about it.  We all one time or another have said something we want to take back.  Jesus is all about forgiveness.  Deen has already shown remorse and her business is taking a hit.  She has to take time out to reflect on this and move on the best she can.  Americans will eventually forgive and forget.  


***UPDATE*** June 27, 2013
Target and drugmaker Novo Nordisk have just dropped Paula Deen from their business.


***UPDATE***  June 28, 2013

Sears, Ballantine Books, and JC Penney have joined other companies in dropping Paula Deen.


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