When the Food Network celebrity chef thought it was no problem in making racist n-word fueled comments about every black person from kids to President Obama, she reportedly knew there was a risk, saying that if the media caught her, she’d be in trouble. Well, that’s what happened this week, when the same Food Network that played host to her show, cut ties with her and it, dropping it to avoid a massive PR problem.
In a last-ditch effort to save her bacon, Paula Deen made a video apology, part to TODAY Show Host Matt Lauer, and part to those she’s offended. Do I feel sorry for her?
And I do because, even though I don’t know Ms. Deen, she strikes me as someone who means well-enough to make a mid-course correction. But then I’ve not looked at this in detail, and Miss Dean has come up against a social fabric that’s far less tolerant of what others would call benign racism. Especially in the media business.
Ok What Happened.
What happened was that Lisa Jackson sued Paula Deen for verbal and emotional abuse from 2005 to 2010, and said that Deen used the n-word in a number of instances that came out in court. When Deen was asked by the prosecuting lawyer if she actually used the N-word, her answer did her in: “Yes, of course.”
In other words, she said it like it was no problem at all for her, or for anyone. But even with that, my friend Davey D wrote something on Facebook today that was too true. He said that if Paula Deen was a police officer, she’d still be employed.
Think about that one.
Instead, we have this seemingly kindly woman who became an accidental celebrity in a place where she’s got to worry about her loss of media income and how she’s going to put it all back together.
I certainly don’t like what she said, but on the other hand, I’ve got a thicker skin than Lisa Jackson. I’d have addressed the issue in another way, but that’s me. As I think about this, it happened for a larger reason and in the context of the Steve Gleason incident that cost Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro, and Chris Dimino their Mayhem In The AM Radio 790 Morning Show last Monday, a basic way of life in the South – classic white Southern views on race and in particular of blacks – is coming under sharp attack, and from American business.
And this is at a deep, detailed level. The bottom line is, you can’t defend what Paula Deen has done with how she’s “helped minorities,” because if there weren’t racism, there would not be “minorities” to help.
Moreover, the idea smacks of a view that whites are above blacks, and thus, blacks should be grateful to know whites.
That will cause someone to be bounced from their media-related position in a second. Shock jock radio DJs, television personalities, everyone’s on notice.
Racism is not wanted – even a little bit.
Racism is not popular or desired, and the effort to stamp it out has come from those who are in the communications business and need to earn a living in a diverse society. This is far deeper in its reach than the passage of legislation. It is being done by anyone who has to worry about making money – and thus it’s more permanent.
To that, I say “hooray.” It’s sad that Paula Deen has to be used as the blunt force instrument for change, but it’s hard to say that she was totally innocent either.
A lot more on this.