Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Paula's Past

Paula Deen has been a well-known cook for a long time and has had different cooking shows on TV for years. But Paula Deen has recently been in the news for a different reason. Paula has been fired from Food Network for using the N-word and other racial slurs. Using racial slurs wasn't something she did recently, though... it was [allegedly] something she did more like 30 years ago. That's what she claims, anyway. I suppose she may have used racial slurs and derogatory comments more recently than that, but is denying it in order to save face since pretty much everyone knows that using the N-word/racial slurs is wrong.

I definitely don't feel like we know with certainty what really happened and what the entire story is. I can honestly see it going either way either that Paula used racial slurs in the past and has since changed her ways, or that she is a racist and has a problem with discrimination against African Americans and people of other minorities. I can see it going either way, or it being some variation that falls somewhere between the two extremes.

Paula said that when/where she was raised (in the South in the 60's) that's how people talked. While I agree with that to a certain extent, I don't think that circumstance gives anyone a free pass, or an excuse to use unkind language. Even if you are raised in a time/place where that sort of language was considered acceptable, there comes a point where you have to make a change because as Maya Angelou has said, "when you know better, you do better."

There's been major fallout over this whole Paula Deen thing. She was fired from Food Network channel, and many stores/brands have pulled out of carrying her products, including JCPenney, QVC, Sears, Kmart, Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Smithfield, Caesar's Palace and more. I also heard that Ballantine Books announced that it has canceled publication of her new book, Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up. The book was scheduled to be released in October, and in recent days pre-orders have raised the book to number one on online bookseller's sales charts. So, Paula is definitely paying the price financially for her remarks, not to mentions being raked through the coals and publicly censured in interviews on different TV programs. Here's a tearful picture of Paul during her emotional interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show.
I definitely agree that racial slurs and other derogatory language should never be used under any circumstance, but I feel really badly for Paula. I know that I've said and done things in my life that I'm not especially proud of and I would hate to be judged for things I've done in my past. Even if Paula IS truly guilty of being a racist and discriminating people of other minorities, I don't want this to ruin her for the rest of her life. I hope she looks at this as a learning experience, and makes positive changes in the areas where she needs to improve.

I saw this picture on Facebook the other day and I think it's really true... there are issues far more important that people should be worried about, rather than focusing on what Paula Deen said 30 years ago. Enough is enough, as far as I'm concerned. Let it rest!


Betty Taylor said...

I like your take on the Paula Dean story! I agree that if she said something that long ago it should not be held against her. People change. The Paula Dean of 20 years ago, may not be the Paula Dean of today.


Stephanie said...

Hey Heather -- I think that you hit the nail on the head when you said: "I suppose she may have used racial slurs and derogatory comments more recently than that, but is denying it in order to save face since pretty much everyone knows that using the N-word/racial slurs is wrong." Although the focus has been on her use of the N-word, there is a lot of evidence that she has used slurs/prejudice/preference in her businesses for many years, even up to the most recent. I wonder if her PR team is focusing SO much on the "N-word" stuff so they can convince people, like those folks on FB posting the graphics that you posted, that this was an issue "20 or more years ago." It wasn't. I feel bad for her. I feel sad that she seems to harbor many racist behaviors.

Heather (Paralyzed with JOY!) said...

I wish we knew the whole story with Paula, and not just the small, incomplete part of it that is floating around the news right now. Paula could be completely lovely and guilty of only using the N-word/racial slurs decades ago, or she could be really racist and have problems with discrimination/prejudice against African-American people and other minorities. I can really see it going the other way, or falling somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I guess the bottom line is that I hope she uses this as a learning experience and changes her ways where she needs to

Clarinda said...

She and her brother are also accused of mistreating black employees. Black employees could only use the back entrances to the restaurant, were not allowed to work the front of the restaurant where they would be seen and the brother used racial slurs all the time. I was shocked to find that it is actually a white women who started the suit. While I feel that she should be forgiven, I also feel that she's reaping what she's sown. I remember watching this detective show called Beretta as a child and I love singing the song it came on to, my favorite line of that song is appropriate I feel for this situation. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, don't do it, no, no, no." Her gig is up and she now has to endure the outcome of something she should not have done or tolerated from others in her business, including family.

Heather (Paralyzed with JOY!) said...

I hadn't heard all this about Paula and her brother and the way they treated the black employees. If it's true (which sounds very plausible), then I agree that she's reaping what she's sown and deserves the fallout of losing book deals and the revenue from companies that are no longer carrying her products. It's unfortunate that there are still racist/bigoted people in this day and age… we should be passed this by now!

Lala H said...

I don't think she should be judged with something she said 20 years ago. People change, in some point in our life we have said something we don't mean now. thanks for creating this awareness
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