Biscuits and Bigotry

pauladeenfoodOkay, so I’ve been away for awhile friends(life called) but figured this is a great time to dive back into my writing. There’s been an awful lot of racially oriented politics going on in the good ole U.S.A. recently. This should not be a surprise to anyone as race was and still is the elephant in the room. The great taboo that we dare not have open and honest discussions about. And at the center of recent hullabaloo is no other than our favorite butter using, batter dipping, gravy smothering, southern culinary queen Paula Deen. I must admit my household has more than one of her cookbooks and have made many a joyful excursion through her recipes. It doesn’t surprise me though that an elderly white woman from Georgia has used the “N” word. After all, anyone that is from or has spent time in the south understands that sort of derogatory language is commonplace. What I think folks fail to comprehend is her underlying admiration and pining for the Antebellum South. The good ole days. When plantation owning whites sipped sweet tea brewed by happy darkies who understood that despite their legal lack of humanity they were truly part of the “family”. Deen described in an interview how her ancestors were devastated(to the point of suicide) at how the 30 “workers” on the plantation left after the Civil War. Now I certainly feel for anyone whose family has suffered through suicide(I personally can relate). However, the fact that she referred to the SLAVES as “WORKERS” is offensive and short-sighted. Workers get paid. Trust me when I tell you they did not volunteer for that job nor did they have the option of leaving(without grave consequences). After all, workers sounds so much better. Workers implies that the employer is gracious enough to provide you with work. This sort of mentality is pervasive in American history. As if slavery was a moral benefit for Africans. However, it should also be stated that no person is beyond redemption if they truly seek it. I don’t know whether Paula Deen is a racist or not. What I do know is she has a fondness for a culture that was nothing short of genocidal for people of African descent. That culture wasn’t detrimental to her ancestors so I can understand her affinity for it. However, she should have been aware of the total scope of that culture and how it truly impacted everyone. Her supporters have made arguments ranging from “well blacks use it” to ” it was a long time ago get over it”. The “N” word is historically steeped in bigotry and hatred. A term used to strip Africans of their identity and humanity. At some point blacks re-appropriated that word and altered its meaning by eliminating the racism that was inherent in it its usage. For example, black person #1 says to black person #2 “Hey my nigga what’s going on?” Is #1 purposefully trying to racially demean #2? Of course not. They may be guilty of piss poor word choice but not bigotry. Paula Deen got robbed by a black man and recounted the incident to her husband by referring to the man as a “nigger”. Now I personally would have said asshole, criminal, some guy, some black guy, dumbass, or something along those lines. However, she racialized the incident by using the term. She didn’t have to do that and the robber’s race was inconsequential to the actual crime committed.  Many people black and white believe that word shouldn’t be used by anyone. Well I’m not sure that will ever happen but it is a noble goal. She should be forgiven for her past transgressions as we all should when we are truly repentant. However, shedding crocodile tears and claiming there’s an evil out to destroy you and what you’ve worked for does not help her cause. We all reap what we sow. People will often forgive but they will not forget.



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