Paula Deen is not only being fired from the Food Network, but also having her products “phased out” by Sears, Home Depot, QVC, Kmart and Walgreens for admitting that she has used the N-word in the past has me thinking about related celebrity scandals.
For instance, how bad is this when compared to comedians like Michael Richards using the N-word multiple times in a recorded stand-up show or Daniel Tosh making rape jokes at a heckler’s expense?
Then there’s Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington, perhaps the most similar to Paula Deen because the questionable word he was said to have uttered wasn’t caught on camera until he stupidly told a Golden Globes press room “No, I did not call T.R. [Knight, his Grey’s co-star] a f*ggot.”
I’m not saying it’s in any way “okay” for white or straight people to use such words…
The varying degrees of crackers who use the N-word and other F-word range from full on racist and homophobic to ignorant to simply old and Southern, like Paula. (Raise your hand if you have a beloved grandparent who hushes their voice when speaking about “the blacks.”)
John McWhorter’s op-ed article on Time Magazine’s website put it best:
People of Deen’s generation can neither change the past nor completely escape their roots in it, any more than the rest of us. They can apologize and mean it, as Deen seems to. They also deserve credit for owning up to past sins, as Deen did candidly when she could easily have, shall we say, whitewashed the matter.
The taboo on the N word, and associated attitudes, is appropriate. It’s certainly smarter than the goofiness of the 1800s when the terms white and dark meat emerged to avoid the possible sexual connotations of referring to breasts and thighs. However, we’re less smart when we turn taboo enforcement into implacable witch hunting, which is not thought but sport.
Deen is old and she’s sorry. She should get her job back.
There is no recording of Paula Deen saying the N-word, just a deposition where she admits to having used it in the past. Surely if she had just lied she wouldn’t be in this deep-fried pickle. Seeing it happen would have provided context and basis for the Food Network to ax her. Especially if it was aimed at an employee.
Yeah, we have botched apology videos, and an old one of her calling her security manager Hollis Johnson “black as a board.” Oh, and one more of Deen looking directly in Today Show cameras and saying “I is who I is and I’m not changing.” Cringeworthy PR: yes. Worthy of forgiveness: absolutely.
And then there’s Mel Gibson, Michael Vick and Chris Brown who are not currently blackballed from Hollywood/the NFL/music despite domestic violence charges, dog killing and other offenses.
You cannot possibly argue that Paula Deen is as generally awful as the aforementioned douches, who seem to have been forgiven by most. (Also, the allegations against her and her brother are last year’s news.)
She made a big mistake and she’s sorry. Honestly, give the woman a break already.
- Would You Work With Paula Deen? (theresaarnold.wordpress.com)
- Paula Deen vs. Alec Baldwin vs. Isaiah Washington (andrewdod.wordpress.com)
- My thoughts on Paula Deen (winecountrymom.com)
- Bitch Got Fried: The Food Network Is Not Renewing Paula Deen’s Contract (dlisted.com)