“If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” Paula Deen’s kitchen is pretty hot these days and some of her business partners are getting out. They’re dropping her like a hot sweet potato covered in melted marshmallows – Ok, enough of the corny metaphors. The situation with Paula Deen, along with the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case in Sanford, Florida and the Supreme Court’s action on “Affirmative Action” and the Voting Rights Act this week, and the protest of a Cheerios commercial showing a bi-racial couple, show that race is still an issue in 2013.
In a teary interview on The Today Show, Paula said, “I am here today because I want people to know who I am and people that have worked beside me, have walked beside me, know what kind of person I am…People that I have never heard of are now experts of who I am.”
When Matt flat-out asked if Paula was a racist, she answered definitively, “No. No I’m not, no.” I believe her, in that in her own mind, she doesn’t believe she is a racist. In her eyes, she is not. Honestly, I don’t think Paula hates black people. But her testimony in the deposition and other comments recorded on video indicates at least an insensitivity.
Admitting that she had used “the N word” with an “of course,” as if “everybody does it.”
Defending telling racial and ethnic jokes, “…Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target – I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know. I can’t – I don’t know…They usually target though a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
And wishing she could plan a “southern plantation wedding” for her brother, with African American servers in the part of slaves.
My point of this post is not to “pile on” Paula Deen.
I have some experience with people talking about me in ways that misrepresent me and my views so I am sensitive to that issue with others.
I respect her request of America to “not throw stones.” While it’s easy to point a finger, I realize that there are three fingers pointed back at me.
I wonder if we like Paul Deen type episodes. They allow us to focus our attention on the splinter in the eye of someone else while ignoring the log in our own eye.
My point is to ask the Lord if I am blind to any behaviors or attitudes that are insensitive and/or offensive to people.
I just fixed some hot tea. Love it. The tea in the bag was diffused in the water – effortlessly, completely. I think that’s what happens with prejudice. It seems to infiltrate our hearts and culture – sometimes silently. Psychologists talk about “symbolic racism” – instances of individuals using code words that tend to indicate racial prejudice without being overtly racist themselves. For example: If you’re complaining that you aren’t allowed to use the N-word while other people get to, you just might be a symbolic racist.
I’m not a Paula Deen food fan. I don’t put mayo on my corn on the cob. We have none of her cookbooks in our home. We don’t use her recipes. I think she’s a nice person and I believe her when she says “I have never intentionally hurt anybody on purpose, and I never would.” She is learning, and I hope I will as well, to know and avoid what hurts people.