Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Yes, Paula Deen Loves Black People the Way an Owner Loves a Pet.

June 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Paula Deen was, up until about 10 minutes ago, a complete enigma to me.  I couldn’t quite figure out if she was a bigot, or simply a misunderstood woman.  I can’t pretend that I know what lies in her heart and soul, but I am now forming  an image inside my brain of who this woman really is.

To gain wisdom on the matter, I did what most of us should do:  I turned to my elders.

My first conversation was with my grandmother.  At the age of 42, I have full understanding of just how blessed I am to have two grandmothers and two grandfathers (apparently, my family makes our babies young).  I listen to them, even when I don’t agree, because it is only through their eyes that I am able to see and hear the 1960s, 50s and those other time periods that presented nothing short of horrific realities for most of the black population.

When speaking to my grandmother, I proposed the idea that Paula Deen waspaula-deen-2013 simply an old-fashioned Southern woman who doesn’t know the value of political corectness.  I wondered if, perhaps, she was being punished for making a mistake that anyone could have made.  If a judge or jury were able to peer deeply into any of our personal lives, it would unleash a series of embarrassments that would make Satan blush, so why be so hard on poor Paula?

But my grandmother cleared things up for me right away, and in her mind, there was absolutely no room for ambiguity:  She can’t stand Paula Deen.  While I must respect my grandmother by not revealing the details of our conversation (she stills scares me just a little bit), I can say that I saw and heard something in my grandmother’s voice when I mentioned Paula Deen.  There was an odd and uncomfortable familiarity that she has with women like Deen, as if she’d been putting up with their nonsense for decades.  She had little patience for the tears, the excuses or anything else that might allow Deen to walk out of this situation unscathed.  It was as if an old score had been settled, and the help was watching Miss Sally finally get what she had coming to her.

In keeping with my goal of hearing from my elders, I chose to have another conversation.  Paula Deen mentioned that she called Rev. Jesse Jackson this week, and I decided to speak to Rev. Jackson too.  For the good and bad of it, most of us must admit that Rev. Jackson has seen, done and confronted more on the civil rights front than nearly any of us.  You can’t discount 40 years of experience dealing with an extraordinarily broad variety of experiences that pertain to race.

So, without agreeing to agree with him, I wanted to hear Rev. Jackson’s take.

Again, I am forced to respect the privacy of both conversations, but I can openly share my perceptions of Paula Deen, which were influenced by speaking with two people I respect who are in Paula’s peer group.  My conclusion is that Paula Deen doesn’t dislike black people, at least not all of us.  In fact, there are some that she loves like members of her own family.

But what Paula seems to forget is that there is a big difference between LOVING someone and RESPECTING them.  When I hear Paula’s reactions to her black employees (like the man she referred to as being “black as this board”), I envision a southern belle who tries to have a good heart, but is simply oblivious to the depths at which she might be overtly condescending toward people of color.  She’s like the little girl down the street who used to play house with me, and also told me that I was “cute for a black guy.”

Being comfortable with someone doesn’t mean you consider them to be your equal.  I know people who would die and kill to protect their dogs, but that doesn’t mean they want Fluffy sitting at the dinner table.  Paula Deen appears to be, unfortunately, addicted to a racial hierarchy, where black people are loved and appreciated, as long as they know their place.  In fact, this attitude has long been common in the south, a place that never really learned that peace can sometimes come with the sacrifice of disrespectful subjugation.

Call me stupid, but I don’t believe Paula Deen to be a bad person.  But I do consider racism to be a mental illness (quite a few mental illnesses are created by our environment, like an abuse victim who develops split personalities as a coping mechanism), and Paula has spent her life with an undiagnosed and very serious infection.   This illness has caused women like Paula to torture people like my grandmother for centuries, and this behavior cannot be tolerated in a society which at least claims that it’s trying to find its way toward equity.  Paula Deen’s children inherit their parents’ wealth and privilege, and are convinced that they got it because their parents worked harder, when the truth is that their forefathers got rich by terrorizing black people for long periods of time.

How this situation pans out for Paula Deen is really up to Paula.  Rather than speaking to Matt Lauer and apologizing to white people, she should be speaking to Tom Joyner and apologizing to black people.  She should be willing to grow, learn and teach and allow us to sit with her as equals.   She must be willing to confront structural heirarchies in corporate America that continue to leave black people oppressed and subservient.  She should redeem herself through actions, not just words and tears, for my grandmother ran out of tears back in 1955.

There you have it, Paula Deen has been effectively diagnosed by all of us.  At this point, the question is whether or not she’s going to actively embrace her treatment or continue to live in denial.  That’s where  her true integrity should be measured.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.



7 Responses to “Yes, Paula Deen Loves Black People the Way an Owner Loves a Pet.”
  1. J says:

    I can’t stand guy fieri. Boo hoo hoo.

  2. Ulo says:

    Leave Paula Deen alone. Black folks got more problems than th damn N-word – geez.

  3. toomanygrandkids says:

    The kinda of voice you hear when an elderly person invites you over for a meal, and when you step up to the door, the aroma of food welcomes you before you walk into the house. Like that.

    I believe it was the author who said that her grandmother feels as though all white ppl are racist. Many folks feel that way today. Just like her, they have the right. Back then, older folks were young adults, and I was a child. I had no inkling as to the personal experiences of racism they went through during that time period. But I’ve experienced some type of drama w/ black and white. Would I call it racism or reverse racism? Maybe, maybe not. I just don’t dwell on much drama b/c it’ll stress me out.

    And one way I deal with any type of stress is cooking. If Paula was on BET, I’d watch her show. Hell, if BET televised any cookig shows w/ a black chef/cook/host, I’d watch for sure. Ccoking and learning how to cook, IMHO, has nothing to do w/ the race or color of a person. I’m just determined to knock their socks off!

  4. toomanygrandkids says:

    Being a racist isn’t ALL that bad. Really. What is a racist? A person or a group of ppl who feel as though their race is superior. Do black ppl feel that they are superior than whites? Can they feel superior? Will they at least try? It’s not a racist or racism that bothers me. What irks me is the wicked hatred the one race has for another race b/c of, let’s see: skin color and nationality. It’s a darn good thing there are different races of ppl who socialize w/ one another. B/C you can’t hate someone b/c of their eye color, hair texture and length, and style of dress to the point where you wanna beat them up. Or, can you hate ’em that much? What’s the point?

    When I became grown and on my own, the one thing that really bothered me was not knowing how to cook. Made me feel inadequate. My cooking was a hot mess b/c nobody took the time to teach me. This was during the times when females were still running the streets at night and sleeping all day. So I began purchasing cookbooks–the cheap ones. The recipes were okay, but they didn’t have that uumph! I wanted to prepare food that knocked ppl’s socks off, ya know? Enter the cooking shows. Emeril, the BAM guy is awesome. There were other cooks, but when Paula’s show hit the screen, I was hooked. She had the recipes for the kind of food I wanted to cook. Fried chicken, of course. And her recipe is simply wonderful. Now, I prepare roast and oxtails that are moist and tender, homemade biscuits and pound cake that knocks ppl’s socks off. I’ll except the compliments, but I gotta give Paula the credit. Definitely. I’m the type of woman who really likes preparing food from scratch or homemade. I found out the hard way that its extremely intimidating, especially when you have no advice/tips or guidance b/c then you have no confidence. Paula gave me confidence b/c she’s a woma and she has a welcoming voice. It’s kinda high-pitched, but she its a down-home, southern hospitality type voice.

  5. toomanygrandkids says:

    Personally, I like Paula Deen. If it wasn’t for her, Emeril, Sylvia, Patti LaBelle, and of course the internet, I wouldn’t know a thing about cooking except burning down the kitchen(lol)! I’ll get to more of that later.

    From my unerstanding, Paula said the word ni**er back in ’86. While working at a bank, a black male(surprise) walked in attempted to rob the bank. During the robbery, he placed a gun to her head. Without a doubt, this scared Paula. I’d been scared too. It wasn’t until she got home and told her husband the ordeal that she said ni**er. What, a woman can’t talk to her own husband about a horrific situation? Paula and the other ppl present are blessed to be alive. And she’s blessed to have someone to talk to about it. People don’t need permission to conversate in the privacy of their homes and they can talk about whatever they want. She didn’t have to mention that she said it. But then again, lying and covering up stuff does have the tendency to come back and haunt you, so I can understand why she confessed. Anyway, a white, female manager is suing Paula for racial discrimination among other things. When asked if she ever used any racial slurs, Paula stated that she had said ni**er back in ’86 during a conversation with her husband. After leaving the bank that day, she was very shook up, and yes, Paula went home and talked with her husband about the ordeal. Most likely, I would’ve done the same thing. At least she didn’t say it to the robber’s face nor did she say at the crime scene. I don’t think she should be punished for this. She’s lost big money. Walmart, Sears, Walgreens, QVC, and other corporations have severed ties wit her. Her cookbook is #1 in the US right now and she was dropped by her publisher. Oh, and Food Network refused to renew her contract. Bummer. Lots of ppl(mostly fans) feel like Paula put Food Network on the map.

  6. Ford says:

    ….Not being from the south but now living here things seem pretty much ok with blacks and whites. Dig a little deeper it could be the unfriendly black or white people would still be unfriendly no matter what. What currently bothers Paula Deen, so she says, is young blacks in her employee calling each other nigger. She thinks its a problem and I do too if the word is to someday go away. She said she said nigger after she had a gun put to her head. Don’t blaim her. I think I would too. For instance. Sweet retired black lady working as a greeter at walmart. Nice to talk with. Contrast that with a car with blacks in it pulling up to the gas pumps at walmart. Sound turned up seemingly all the way and every other word is fuck or nigger. Little kids around….fuck those people. And yeah…..I’m thinking it. Or a few blocks away at a little store a black man uses the back wall as a urinal and survailance catches it and he is kicked out. As he leaves in a huff he says something about the counter ladys pink ass. Yup. I’m thinking it again. I taught my kids to not use it growing up. I was right in doing that as I thought it was the right thing. Still do. Both kids today years later use it but it is directed toward those who try to hurt them. Neither see black people in general as that. I know black people who in casual conversation with me use it. So….looks like its to be around for a good while.

  7. ROBERT says:

    PAULA DEEN is a 66 year old white southern woman;what else should we expect out of her.THIS is what I told my children as I raised them [ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST IT’S JUST A MATTER OF DEGREE].OPRAH made a statement some year’s ago she said ;she didn’t see how white people couldn’t be racist;given the world that they come from.AS you do DR WATKIN’S I like to confer with our ancestor’s.BRO MALCOLM X is my favorite because he was the most practical and he did something that most black people don’t do and that is he studied white people.MALCOLM said as long as we are unable to employ ourselves ;educate our children and compete in society as a independent people;he said white’s will never respect us as a equal.IF we wish to change what other people think of us then we have to change our presentation to the world.P.S JESSE JACKSON is the last person you should seek to find wisdom.

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