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Paula Deen Using the N-word: Should Blacks Truly be Upset?


(ThyBlackMan.com) Prominent chef Paula Deen got herself into some trouble recently. Well, you can replace the some with a whole bunch because now the Food Network has cancelled her show. Here’s the skinny:

A former manager at Paula’s Savannah restaurants is suing the famous chef and her brother for alleged sexual and racial harassment. Her deposition from the lawsuit was recently made public, and in it Paula admits to having used the “N-word.”

I don’t want to get into the debate of whether or not Paula Deen is racist, if she really made racist jokes and all that. Many news outlets that have covered the story have pieced together bits and parts of Mrs. Deen’s responses, at times misconstruing what she actually said and in what context. You can read the full deposition here and decided for yourself.

What interests me is the backlash from using the N-word.  First, let me say that discrimination, bigotry and sexual harassment are things no one should be subjected to, especially from those you work for. If the former manager actually experienced those things, that is awful and I sympathize with her and understand and support her lawsuit.

But I’m concerned about Paula Deen receiving such a huge backlash from admitting she has used the N-word. Is this the same N-word you can hear repeated throughout most rap songs? The “greeting” that so easily falls off of black people’s lips when talking to one another? Is this the same exact word many people of color will so proudly bestow upon a friend or loved one saying “That’s my n—a”?

Some people would say:

No, nigger is bad, nigga is good.

Nigga is a term of endearment; we as blacks have reappropriated this stereotype to “make it our own” and something to be proud of rather than ashamed.

What Paula Deen most likely said was nigger and, therefore, negative. Also, the context in which she used it was “racist” unlike the way most blacks use it today.

(And my favorite) Black people can use the N-word, whites can’t. Paula is white + she used the term = RACIST.

I would say: Please. If that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black.

The N-word should not be used, period. I don’t care if you drop the “er” and add an “a.” Think about black history in America. Do you think it made Rosa Parks feel good to be called a nigger when she wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus? Or help Martin Luther King to feel like more of a man as whites called him nigger and boy? Were black people proud as the Klu Klux Klan burned crosses in their yards yelling for those niggers to die?

And as that word was constantly spit at them, constantly associated with inferiority and animalistic tendencies and rights, do you for a moment think any of the people who had to experience racism at that degree thought, “You know what, we should change the spelling of nigger just a bit and start calling each other that! That’ll show the white man!”

Get a grip people! How can black folks get so riled up when someone from “the outside” uses the same word that we happily call ourselves and each other every day? Paula Deen was saying she used it “a very long time ago” but I’m talking about any non-black person who uses this word today. They hear it in our music; we’re niggas in Paris, remember? They see us smiling and joking around with it like it’s an okay word; why would anyone have reason to think it’s a negative term? Oh no, we didn’t like it then, but we love and accept it now.

The word is ugly, negative and makes black people look and sound ridiculous as we proudly refer to ourselves in this manner. If this weren’t so, it wouldn’t sting so much when we hear others use it.

Take a look at a few “jokes” I found on this trash of a site http://niggermania.com:

What does a nigger and sperm have in common? Only about 1 out of two million actually work.

What did God say when he made the first niggers? Oops! Burnt another one!

How do you get a nigger out of a tree? Cut the rope.

How do you know Adam and Eve were not black? You ever try to take a rib from a nigger?

Now replace every N-word above with our endearing term; disrespectful just the, same isn’t it?

Let’s stop getting so up in arms and calling “them” racist when they decide to use a term we boast ourselves. Sure, words have different negative connotations with them, but it’s time to analyze whose holds more significance.

Does the 13 percent of blacks who see the N-word as now affectionate outweigh the 80+ percent of the rest of our nation who still associate it with inferiority, ignorance and..well…black? And if you don’t believe it’s the latter, no one should have an issue with Paula Deen or any other non-black person who says it, regardless of context.

Sometimes we as blacks are the first to call something racist or discriminating and demand justice, but we overlook a significant part of the ongoing problem: ourselves.

Staff Writer; Shala Marks

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/shala.marks

Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from ArizonaStateUniversity. Connect with her at http://www.sisterscanwespeak.tumblr.com.


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