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Thinking About Paula Deen

Over the weekend, I have been thinking about Paula Deen.  She is the Southern cook that is from Savannah, Georgia and has brought Southern food to the forefront in the US in the last few years. She was the object of a controversy during the last week because she was giving a deposition to an attorney for a lawsuit from a former employee of her brother’s seafood restaurant.  The attorney asked her if she had EVER used racial slurs and she gave him an honest answer and told him she had in the past but it had been  a long time ago.  Why didn’t she just settle the lawsuit, pay the disgruntled employee money and it would have never gone to trial?

As I am Southern and she is Southern, my thoughts have been about what she said and did.  First of all, I do not use racial slurs.  I grew up in the 60’s in the South and I heard racial slurs and they were fairly common as there was no such thing as political correctness.  However, somewhere along the way, I decided racial slurs were derogatory comments and the ladies that kept me while my mother and daddy worked were black.  I cared about them and they cared about me and I would never have made negative comments about them or hurt them.  Paula Deen was raised in the South during the same time period.  She was exposed to racial slurs as I was and she honestly said that in the past she had used them. EVER is a very strong word when you are under oath. She had other options and could have even lied but she chose not to.

The Food Network did not renew her contract and I understand that Food Network is a corporation and must do what is best for their company.   Should they have fired Paula?  They chose what they thought was best for their company and that was to let her go. Paula has posted a video on YouTube apologizing and asking for forgiveness.  Do I forgive her?  Yes, because I have made mistakes in my life too.  I have done hurtful things without realizing it and I have appreciated being forgiven.

If you read my about me page, this is what I said about Paula – She pulled herself up by her bootstraps and became tremendously successful and she never quit being herself.  Thank You Paula for making Southern cooking so popular and don’t you just hear her heart sing and see the twinkle in her eye when someone tastes her food?  I still admire her for that and I am sure she is heartbroken and humiliated right now.

As I consider Paula to be a Southern sister, If I would say anything to her right now, I would say,  “Paula, This Too Shall Pass.”

8 responses »

  1. I agree with your posting about Paula Deen. As another southern girl close to her age, I know the time and the environment where this language was common. I was made aware of the terrible way blacks were treated in the south with the desegregation movement in the ’60’s.

    If she treated her employees badly and called them names, I agree she should have pleaded guilty. My understanding does not go to actions beyond using the word!

    Like you, I knew people as people and did not understand the past prejudices. I don’t use the word and all my family values people as people.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and sympathy for a woman who chose to be honest.

    Reply
    • Thank you Barbara for sharing your perspective as one of my Southern sisters. At our age, we have experienced heartbreak and sadness because of our mistakes and it is good to have someone to lift us up when we are hurting. Thanks for being someone that does that for me.

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      Reply
  2. Years and years ago (decades) my partner and I were in Savannah and asked the locals where to eat……they suggested Mother and Her Two Sons (Paula’s restaurant) we found it and went in. There sat Paula and her two sons and her “favorite” cook (a black man). She stood up and said “Oh honey we are closed, but ya’ll are welcome to sit with us and have some lunch”

    What a wonderful, delightful woman she is. Her favorite cook received all sorts of compliments and hugs from Paula, and not one racial slur. Her love and respect for him was quite evident. I do not believe there is one person on the planet of our that has not committed some sort of political incorrectness in our lifetime.

    Believe me, as a gay man, I hear a lot of slurs thrown at me, especially by so called Christians. I have two Master’s degrees and have retired as from being a very powerful administrator to becoming a chef in a grocery store so that I can have some fun in life. Customers treat grocery store workers like a piece of dog poop stuck on their shoe. Yes, I have learned many things about how hateful people are and I do not believe that Paula Deen is one of those people, she invited strangers to sit at her table and dine with her when it was completely unnecessary.

    She will be okay.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for such a heartwarming story and I believe you are right that we have all committed some sort of hurtfulness to others. I have been discriminated against many times just because I am a woman. As a Christian it grieves me to know that fellow Christians throw slurs your way. My Bible says that we are commanded to “love one another and “let the one that is without sin, cast the first stone.” I value and respect you and appreciate your perspective on Paula’s situation. She will be fine and we will too!

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  3. I myself certainly support Paula as she was truthful in the manner…I am southern , have always lived as a southerner..never had maids but have had a lot of true black friends. One of my black friends who was a lawyer once told me, you have black people and then you have “N” word..I could not believe that he said that! But you know down south and in the music industry you hear the “N ” word in it by the black people and I always wondered why. Just saying…

    Reply
    • Thanks you Sharon and I have lots of black friends and in my part time job at a day care center, I take care of black children. I see the pattern as reversed from my childhood but I always want to treat the children with the respect and love that my caretakers showed me.

      Reply
  4. I agree with your thinking. She has lost some of her sponsors but I agree that it will pass. Look at Tiger Woods and how the sponsors have come back.

    Reply

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