• Wed, Jun 26 2013

Paula Deen Used Her ‘Today’ Show Appearance To Blame Black Youth For Her Use Of The N-Word

Paula Deen Racist QuoteJust when you think that this wholePaula Deen is a racist d-bag” debacle couldn’t get any weirder — BAM, our buttery, blue- eyed friend manages to stick her foot even deeper into her pie hole. Deen appeared on this morning’s “Today” show with Matt Lauer (after cancelling once before) to speak publicly about her recent law suit shenanigans, and not surprisingly, things got strange.

Deen appeared defensive and overly suspicious, claiming that she has only ever used the n-word once, after being held at gun point by an African-American man 30 years ago. Which is so funny, because during her court testimony she admitted to using the word numerous times. But why let a little thing like a potential perjury charge stop her from trying to save face on national TV. It’s not like judges watch these shows or anything.

This would be bad enough, but alas, it get worse. She goes on to blame young black people for making it difficult for her tiny, close-minded, fried food obsessed brain to comprehend which words are offensive (especially when they come from a privileged white lady):

“It’s very distressing for me to go into my kitchen and hear what these young people are calling each other…. For this problem to be worked on, those young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other and stop throwing that word at each other.”

I’m sure by now your head is spinning from all the douchebaggery…but wait, there’s more!

By the end of the interview Deen was downright paranoid, claiming that “someone evil” is out there trying to get her. By evil I guess she means “not a douche rocket.” This is where shit gets real:

“If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me…”

So far, there has been a smattering of support for Deen. Anne Rice referred to a “lynch mob” culture. Oh, you mean the same culture that LITERALLY lynched and murdered black people during the Jim Crow days, Anne?

Jim McWhorter, an African American associate professor at Columbia University, recently made a case for Deen getting her job back, saying “How could she have a perfectly egalitarian take on race growing up when and where she did?” What?

Oh, Paula, honey. It’s time for real talk. We have ALL said things we regret. One time, when I was very drunk, I said I actually enjoyed the band Nickleback. It still gives me nightmares. But hun, there is a HUGE difference between the everyday regrets that one may have, and telling someone you would really like “a bunch of little n**gers to wear white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties” like in “Shirley Temple days” for a “real southern wedding.”

You don’t come back from that (and rightfully so).

(Photo: Memegenerator.net)

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  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    It was a moment filled with shame and self-loathing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

      I don’t think we can be friends any more, Frances.

      I’m gonna need the bracelet back. Lol

  • Rachel Sea

    I have a lot of unintentionally racist relatives, so I get where Deen is coming from, and I understand how she could genuinely fail to understand that she is a huge racist, but there is no excuse, now that these accusations have been leveled, for her to continue her ignorant and bigoted ways.

    If she wants to make things right, she needs to sit down with a bunch of diversity educators, and have her little ol’ paradigm shifted.

  • AmazingAsh

    She’s got a point- it’s not fair for anyone to use the word (and I’ve seen black friends on Facebook point this out multiple times). What’s worse than her using the word is the accusation that she made black employees use the back enterance, separate restrooms, etc.

    • crankylex

      You really don’t see the difference between a members of a marginalized group using a slur amongst themselves and a member of a majority group using the slur *against* members of the marginalized group?

    • Michelle Pittman

      I’m not defending her (and i had no idea she made the comment about N’s in little ties and white shirts – i thought the only instance was when she was held at gunpoint 30 years ago)

      that being said, in answer to your reply – honestly, no…i don’t like the c word for women…i find it disgusting and i would have a very hard time if women went around saying “what’s up c’s?” and consistently referring to one another as C’s in music…it’s either a slur word for everyone or no one…and if a word has that much negative connotations — DON’T USE IT AT ALL…gay people generally seem to hate being called fags — you don’t (or at least i haven’t) see gay people walking around calling one another fags or using that word in music…

    • Blueathena623

      I see what you’re saying, but its a little different. You, as a woman, don’t like the c word. As a fellow woman, I respect that. If you want to start a crusade against it, that’s your right (and I don’t mean that in a snarky manner). BUT I would have problems with a man telling women they aren’t allowed to use the word. Or a straight person telling a gay person not to use the word fag. Its up to the marginalized group to decide (and no, they will probably never reach a consensus) about what words are ok. A white person doesn’t get to decide for black people.

    • AmazingAsh

      I went to college in Tennessee and still keep in touch with many black students I took courses with. The majority of “them” don’t think there’s any difference in rappers or Paula Deen using it. It’s either wrong or it’s not (and I’m sure we could all agree its wrong). The majority of black people I know can’t trace their roots back to pre-Civil War times and at this point, we’re all so far removed from that era that no one should be using the word in any capacity.

      Side note, how hypocritical is it to say that we’re all equal, but in the same breath say that only people of a certain race, religion, etc. can use certain words or terms?!

    • Blueathena623

      But we aren’t all equal. We should be, but society hasn’t reached that point. What slur is there for white people that has near the historical weight as the n-word? What slur is there for straight people that has the historical weight as fag? What slur for men has the historical weight as bitch and the c-word?
      And no, unless you are also black, pulling the “I have black friends” card doesn’t impress me.

    • AmazingAsh

      I’m sorry, let me rephrase it… all of the educated black people I know think it’s in poor taste for anyone to use the word, regardless of skin color.
      I have no desire to impress you, I just think that your egregious view that we’re not all equal is part of the reason people continue to use this word.

    • Blueathena623

      I’m sorry, but what country do you live in where people are treated equally?

    • crankylex

      This is the United States, we’re not all equal. If you don’t get that, you haven’t been paying attention.

      Let’s just look at this week in politics as an example: the Voting Rights Act was gutted (fuck you, poor people and/or people of of color), SB5 in Texas was held off by the slimmest of margins and Rick Perry is going to take another shot at it (fuck you, women), they narrowed the reach of the Indian Child Welfare Act (fuck you, Native people) and even the victory over DOMA was only federal, states can still fuck over gay people at will (fuck you, gay people).

      So, in conclusion, non-black people are still not allowed to use the n-word while black people get to decide for themselves. In similar news, non-LGB people are not allowed to use the f-word and non-trans folk are not allowed to use the t-word.

    • LET

      While I do totally get what you’re saying, I still thinks it’s unhelpful to the overall ’cause’ of bringing about to equality to have a minority group allowed to use a foul word against one another & chastising the majority for using the same word. I feel the same way about the word slut- how can we, as women, expect respect as equals if it seems to others that we don’t even respect ourselves? In addition to that, calling each other names at will then clutching our pearls when others do the same makes us look petty & breeds resentment. I get it…it’s NOT fair, people have been marginalized & unfairly treated, but let’s not dig in our heels and stifle progress. If we want equality, that means equality. Surely you can see that the ability to use a taboo word doesn’t make up for former mistreatment & isn’t worth the delay of actual equality.

    • Blueathena623

      If you are black, then none of the following applies.
      If you are white, then read on.
      I get what you’re saying, but you’re still crossing groups. As a woman, you have a total say in how the word slut is used. Some women want to reclaim it (I.e. slut walk) and some women hate it. I don’t know what the right answer is, but if a magical huge world-wide group of all the people in the world met to decide if we should use the word slut, women should have the final say. Because its a negative word toward us.
      However, white people do not, or should not, get to choose for black people. Its not our word, period. And I’m trying to think of the best way to phrase this, because I’m trying not to be mean, but insinuating that black people are delaying their own actual equality because some choose to use the word is not cool.

      In general (so this is not directed just at you) I don’t understand white people’s hang up about this word. We shouldn’t use it. Black people can use it or not. Given the massive, massive, massive societal benefits that come from being white, I think its ok to have a word we aren’t allowed to say. Its like these people are kids surrounded by a mountain of toys, but then see another kid who has a Lego, and then throws a fit because they want a Lego too.

    • allisonjayne

      For the record, I’m a queer woman and totally use the word dyke in casual conversation (usually followed by ‘drama’, because seriously, we dykes can bring the DRAMA).
      It bothers me NOT AT ALL when my queer friends use it. It bothers me A LOT when straight people use it.

      And at least in the queer community in Toronto, we use the word fag too. Actually, there’s a feminist (lesbian-run) art gallery called – wait for it – FAG.
      Context and history MATTER.

    • allisonjayne

      She has no points.
      So, you are equal parts offended when you hear women joke about ‘slutting it up this weekend’ as you do when you hear men brag about ‘banging some sluts’?

    • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

      Actually, I am.

      I think that the term “Slut” and “Whore” should not exist in polite society.
      All they do is degrade the person using the term and try to libel the person they are directing the term to.
      The only time I ever say the word “Slut” is when I’m talking about Slut-shaming.

      It’s a gross word and all it is is referring to the woman (Or man)’s sex life, which is none of our God Damn business.

    • allisonjayne

      So you don’t see any difference between the two examples at all? That’s….weird. Do you not understand how privilege works?

    • LET

      Never mind, I misread & can admit when I’m wrong ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/RetiredSceneQueen Emmali Lucia

      I do know that there are more women (of all racial ethnicities) in sex trafficking or presumed to be in sex trafficking right now than there ever were black slaves in America. I know that African Americans could vote long before women could. And I know that more women are murdered and beaten than African Americans, granted when we try to do a per-capita the results would be different for that. But also, did you know that there are no 100% Native Americans left in America? The awful opressive “White folk” have killed off an entire RACE. No one talks about that.

      I’m not on Paula Deen’s side, I don’t believe that racial slurs are ever “Okay.” But I also don’t believe that sexist slurs (either way) should ever be “Okay,” either.

      I would love to live in a world where we actually insulted people who are truly bad people for the things they do.

      For example: “I hate that Hitler, he was a mass murderer and an awful person!” (Notice how I focuses solely on the bad he fid, I didn’t mention make any remarks on his age, where he lived (who else has heard the “All germans are nazis” bit?) or gender/gender expression.

    • allisonjayne

      Playing oppression Olympics is really tired and doesn’t get any of us anywhere.
      Also….pretty sure people DO talk about the genocide of First Nations people. At least, they do in Canada.

  • missiemeghan

    I am getting so sick of hearing about this.

  • Beth

    If a black celebrity was caught on a hidden camera throwing around “honky” and “cracker”, it would make its rounds through the late night talk shows and be out of public consciousness by the end of the next news cycle. Funny how only racist WHITE people spark the public outrage.

    • Abby

      It’s not funny, it’s the way things are since we don’t have a recent history, nor a current society of complete equity between races.

      If we lived in a colorblind vacuum, then I’d be willing to truck with the whole “everyone should be allowed to say the same words without offending anyone!” It’d be a whole lot easier to believe that those words weren’t rooted in hundreds (thousands) of years of active violence and cruelty based on the belief that those who are different from whatever’s normative have some essential defect.

      In that world, it wouldn’t be fair that Paula Deen can’t say shit that black people can. But in *our* world, as a privileged white woman, this is the first time she’s ever had to out-and-out confront racism, whereas so many of us have had it as a fact of our whole lives, and our families’ histories. I’ve said this before, but it’s an incredible privilege to not have to think about your race every day, to not have it thrown in your face or used as a justification for your actions, and to not have it automatically lump you in a group with a large number of others with whom you may have no shared experiences.

      I’m pretty sure that not enduring a lifetime of discrimination outweighs the fact that she is verboten from using certain words.

    • Sara610

      I was going to say something similar, but you put it so much better than I would have.

    • Abby

      Thanks! And yeah, I just get so tired of it. The only people obsessed with FAIRNESS about who gets to use certain words are the people who’ve never realized there’s not fairness between races and ethnicities in, like, MOST other things. Yes, our society is trying to work on achieving equity, but only the oblivious privileged masses deign to even think that we’re already there.

    • allisonjayne

      Your white privilege is showing.

    • LET

      I am asking this in earnest, not for a lecture because I am pretty well informed, but I’m generally curious when people bring up the topic of privilege…I want us, as a society, to strive for equality (obviously). Obviously, we have a ways to go. Obviously, people have been treated poorly in the past & many still are in the present. I acknowledge my privilege in many areas of my life. So, where do we go from here? What is the line between acknowledging privilege & realizing that some things won’t seem “fair”, but really are trying to level the playing field (say, some grants for AA students or equal opportunity hiring laws) and incessantly promoting white guilt or giving a free pass for everything just because someone has been wronged? I’m genuinely curious & I honestly don’t have an answer myself because it’s so complex.

    • allisonjayne

      Have you ever read this Peggy McIntosh piece? http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf It’s a really good primer on privilege.

      White guilt isn’t helpful; I don’t think many anti-racist activists/allies promote white guilt…white guilt seems to be what white people feel when people call them out on their privilege, when what is actually be promoted is an acknowledgement of privilege.

      This is good – http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/17004629556/white-privilege-now-what-other-such-fallacies:

      “Examples of what white privilege deniers THINK it means to be told to “Check Your Privilege.”
      -Apologize for being white
      -Believe white is bad or wrong
      -Be ashamed of being white
      -Feel guilty for being white

      Examples of what people ACTUALLY mean when they say “Check Your Privilege.”

      -You are inserting yourself into a conversation where you shouldn’t be. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
      -You are making my pain about you. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
      -You are belittling my pain. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
      -You are making my fears concerns and troubles less important than your annoyance about me talking about my experience. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.”

    • jill_sandwich

      This. Exactly this.

    • LET

      Thanks for your response. I hadn’t read that article but I’ve read several similar ones. Unfortunately, her conclusion is similar to mine- I acknowledge I have power, now what do I do with it? The whole thing makes me feel powerless & guilty (and I’m not using guilt to close my eyes to reality, it’s honestly how I feel).
      To elaborate on my question, let me ask you your opinion on a more specific situation, if you’d be so kind. I am a white female. I grew up middle class, and, although I’ve had struggles (single mom very young, have had times when I sold everything I owned to pay bills, my husband and I lived in a house with no running water for a bit because it was cheap…mostly temporary struggles), I consider myself pretty lucky. After college, I did HR work in what was essentially the inner city. I was one of the only white people in the office often, and it was my job to interview, fill positions & do payroll. Right now, I can acknowledge that my experience is not the same as a lifetime of discrimination…there’s no way for me to ever know what that’s like & I’m not comparing my experience to that because its not the same, so bear with me. I was called the foulest names at that job, told repeatedly by people I couldn’t hire (for objective reasons, say the job required a certain license & the applicant didn’t have it) that I was racist, screamed at on the phone for untrue things. Some people refused to interview with me & insisted my black coworker interview them. I never once treated someone poorly (and ftr, I don’t think all minorities treat white people like this, I’m just sharing experiences I had with some people). I have a really hard time reconciling these attitudes. If I ever complain to anyone about these experiences, I’m told I don’t understand because of white privilege. I don’t think this is the right attitude to have, though I’m still trying to have compassion.

    • LET

      Cont: this experience is why I was asking where to draw lines. I don’t feel like this kind of attitude is productive (I shouldn’t be upset about being treated that way because I’m privileged- it seems like telling a homeless person in NYC not to complain because children in Africa have it worse).
      I’m happy to be corrected intelligently, but I usually get “shut up, you’re privileged” with no elaboration.

    • Blueathena623

      Your analogy is off kilter. Of you are talking about your story, and someone tells you not to complain, the person is either equal privilege than you or lesser privilege (because I’m just talking race). So, to use your scenario, either a homeless person has to be telling an other homeless person not to complain (equal) or that kid in Africa is telling the homeless person not to complain (lesser privilege).

    • Blueathena623

      Two things
      You say you have acknowledged your privilege, now what? Allison gave several good points, but the one I’ve found most important is to just listen and to stop talking if someone from a less privilege situation tells you too. Listen, I’m whitey mcwhitepants myself, so we can debate the use of the n word all day long, and neither of us has the upper hand. However, if a black person enters the conversation, we listen. If she agrees with you, I shut the hell up and don’t try to argue my point. If she agrees with me, you shut up. If she agrees with neither of us, we both shut the hell up.
      As for your life situation, you say if you complain people tell you you don’t understand. Who is telling you this? If its a white person, then listen, because she might have some good points, but its ok to keep talking. If its a black person, shut up. Also, in regards to your life situation, you say you know its not the same as a lifetime of discrimination. So what sort of feedback are you hoping for? You’re right, its not the same as a lifetime of discrimination. Listen, I’ve been in bad situations too, and it hurts, but at the end of the day, we get to walk away and be white. And white people have it pretty damn good in society.

    • LET

      I think you may have hit the nail on the head as to what may be going on when I talk to people…NO these are not African Americans I’m talking to. These are white people. I would never dream of complaining to an AA about my struggles, that would be heartless. I didn’t even complain to those being jerks to me, but I didn’t expect the response I got from other privileged citizens, I was only looking to complain that it’s a hurtful attitude & I think unnecessary. I wouldn’t even try to give a black person my opinionon the use of the n word amongst blacks, I just don’t see the harm in discussing the hypothetical with my peers (especially since I belong to a different minority group & I can compare that to my own experience). I hope that clears up where I’m coming from a bit more! I do appreciate the civilized conversation & insight.

    • Beth

      So is your ignorance and liberal arts community college education.

    • Tusconian

      I keep seeing this, but I haven’t seen anyone actually trot out any concrete examples of these apparent millions of black rappers and actors openly saying “honky” and “cracker” and “getting away with it.” In fact, I can think of a lot more instances of black celebrities having their careers damaged because of completely made up rumors of them doing these things, despite evidence that they DIDN’T. Honestly, this Paula Deen thing has women me up. I always knew a lot of people were racist, but it always seemed to be in a really passive way. I now know that a LOT of white people legitimately hate and fear black people, and will completely fabricate stories to justify someone else’s racism, and just absolutely claw and grasp at any straw to make a discussion on one person being racist towards blacks into this giant conspiracy by “rappers” all hating, openly deriding, and conspiring against whites.

      Also, this case isn’t about Paula Deen and her personal opinions. She can sit in her home and scream racial slurs and talk racist things all the live long day and no one would care. She and her brother are in the media for racial and sexual harassment in the workplace. The fact that she’s said racial slurs before only came up after the case was underway.

  • Fabel

    I wish everyone in the media would separate her “fried butter food diabetes donut wrapped in bacon under a double layer cake deep friend in oil” persona with her RACISM? Like, mentioning both in one piece makes it seem like they’re equally terrible? And I hope nobody needs to be reminded that racism is fucking WORSE. worse. than cooking fatty foods??

    Seriously, sorry, I am sick of the side joke being “hurrr she likes butter!” Not relevant!

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