Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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

June 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

(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 timespaula-deen-losing-qvc-gig-over-n-word 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.



13 Responses to “Paula Deen Using the N-word: Should Blacks Truly be Upset?”
  1. BTG says:

    I like thi article. This is all so silly. Political correctness has gone haywire. In my country, Brazil, the word Black is offensive and the word Negro is the politically correct. go figure.

  2. @ Jamie

    To answer your question, in my opinion white people don’t say anything because of two reasons. One, they have no history of those words harming them, meaning they didn’t go through 300 years of physical and mental slavery, which my people are still dealing with today, and another 100 years of Jim crow. Two, they feel guilty of the past and know it would be an argument they couldn’t win, considering their past history against Black people in this country. Why do you think it’s still a big issue when situations like this happen? The scars of slavery, Jim Crow, and racism still haunt us.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  3. Tina says:

    I watched Paula’s Interview on The Today Show and I really liked her comment about if there is one person out there that hasn’t said something they regret stone her. Every single one of us weather we are White ,Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern. Asian etc we have all used words that are hurtful, derogatory or considered racist. You can’t tell me that African Americans don’t call white people whitey peckerwood ect just like they cqall Hispanics spics, greasers beaners. we are all guilty of this she made a mistake along time ago and has apologized her world shouldn’t be torn apart

  4. jamie says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article as well,and I agree with you! but, I also want to know why it is that when black people call white people words like “cracker”, or “whitey”, or “the man”, that white people don’t appear to be all up in arms and want to sue blacks for their racial comments? it goes both ways people! why does it seem to be “ok” for blacks to sue or cause a commotion when they feel offended or violated by words coming out of whites mouths, verses any other nationality? we all should respect each other as human beings and children of God!

  5. scallywag says:

    In her defense Paula Deen doesn’t have to like African American people (I’m betting that there are a lot of people who don’t like them and vice versa) but that’s besides the point. If you’re going to use your position of advantage and wide mobility to earn a dollar and to affect social attitudes and judgments you’re going to have to accept responsibility for your belief system, especially if you unabashedly put it out there.

    Perhaps Paula Deen may have been better to just have simply kept her disarming points of views to herself, not that she and many like her it seems are too capable…


  6. JJ says:

    …..but it’s ok for black people to use slurs against other races, right? What a bunch of hypocrites!

  7. Papacool says:

    Where is the love? Since we seem to make a holiday for everything, why not a day of atonement of the subject of racism and bigotry? I mean a real come to Jesus day where we all acknowledge our short comings on this issue. Any one with compassion, common sense, and honesty could see the suffering this woman was going through. Whether it was seeing her empire crumble before her eyes, or whether she was truly sorry for the entire incident, lawsuit included, this was one of the most real behind the scene glimpse of a celebrity mess up. We could name other incidents involving other folks that did not result in them coming forward and making any kind of apologetic effort at their exposures of weakness. Since I personally feel that no one is perfect, I do not find myself tripping off of other peoples failures to live up to what society defines as proper. When I have gone off the deep end in being wrong I have simply asked for God’s forgiveness, as people seem to hold grudges and take things too personal. Once I feel that my prayer is complete I do not dwell on what happened in the past. I am just peeved that it takes lawsuit action or media exposure to get people to do what is right. To have our own people put the word in usage on albums, comedy skits, and day to day conversation and then act like it is so sacred that if used by another ethicity a wrong has been committed is absolutely off the chain CRAZY. I recall Richard Pryor explaining his experience of going to Africa as the turning point for him. Whether it was true or false, I was touched by his words of contrition. Maybe it took getting burnt while smoking crack to get him there, but the point is that he made to the Promised Land in that respect. Bottom line is that as long as we live we have the potential to mess up somewhere down the line. Mrs. Deen is just one small part of the racism puzzle that has had her personal come to JESUS moment. It was not easy to look at, but I give the old girl credit for putting herself out there. She inspired me to take a look at myself and realize that without the GRACE of GOD, it could have been me as well. All I can do is pray for her and myself as well and hope that tomorrow will be a better and brighter day. Peace out, Papacool.

  8. Tom Massey says:

    Also, your article is wonderful. I thank you for it.

  9. Tom Massey says:

    If I am angry at my wife, I might call her a freckled four-eyes. That’s because, in my anger, I want to hurt her feelings. I like people who have freckles and wear glasses, even though I don’t really know what it’s like to have freckles and wear glasses. Everyone who slurs a black person is not a racist. They may be angry and trying to cause hurt feelings, like maybe their feelings were hurt. The incident with idiots heckling Michael Richards comes to mind. He may be a racist, but using the N-word in anger doesn’t mean anything. Is there anyone out there wise enough to understand this? I certainly am wise enough to understand the counterpoint of all the history that makes some black people so very sensitive to it.

  10. Chris Wyman says:

    wow lmao everyone in my generation is dumber than sht

  11. Tony says:

    We already know we black folks will continue to throw the word around like it’s nothing… It’s hard enough to stop each other from using it…We’re working on that… What we don’t need is for other groups to think that everyone should be able to use it towards blacks in order for things to be fair. That’s not fair to the black people who really are deeply hurt by the word…

  12. ROBERT says:

    BEAUTIFULLY written article.I hate to find myself defending white people but;I actually felt sorry for PAULA DEEN.LIL wayne recently gave a interview in which he said [them nigga’s and us nigga’s ] so many time’s it would have put PAULA DEEN to shame.UNTIL we stop allowing this type of filth from falling out of our mouth’s let’s not worry about what other people say about us.IT’S CALLED HYPOCRISY!


Check out what others are saying about this post...

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!