For the Want of a ‘N’, a Kingdom Was Lost


Food Network’s southern delight, Paula Deen, got the ax and the hatchet hasn’t stopped swinging at this celebrity chef, restaurant owner, author and Emmy award winning celebrity. Endorsements are dropping by the handful after her disgraced admittance to having used the ‘N’ word (for those not familiar with the term I present it for educational purposes; the ‘n’ word refers to the word ‘nigger’). Now that disclosure alone may not have been enough to bring this sweet southern lady down. Perhaps that could be enough, but I tend to feel any PR weasel worth their salt  could have spun the story around and had her back on television in no time. I heard and read the initial stories released, like so many of us that can’t avoid the onslaught of sensationalized news ejaculated in our face daily. My initial response to the story was one of dismay and I expected more detail to the events that took place but what followed was a barrage of buzzwords. Capsulized opinions from newshounds working hard to draw you in for a moment or two to their network coverage. I needed more than that. It was time to light the pipe and dig further.

My initial take on the situation probably ran parallel to quite a few people out there. So the lady said nigger, what’s the big fucking deal? It isn’t like two hundred thousand gangsta rappers don’t use that word every day of their life. I hear it on the bus going to and from work, comedians like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and Kat Williams have made a golden career from uttering the word. I despise the word personally and feel it shouldn’t be used anymore than using the word ‘cunt’ when addressing a woman, but to bring down a beloved lady’s career over a slip of the tongue seemed a bit harsh. This is why I wanted to stop and peer a bit deeper at the story. Too often we are led astray to the facts of a situation that leave us opinionated from an uninformed standpoint. Case in point, the Trayvon Martin case that is just now coming to the courts. The raw initial reports on that event left a divisive anger between people that had most looking no further to hear what really happened, or misled into believing they heard the truth through unreliable sources.

The big whistle blower to the story was the National Enquirer, that infamous tabloid rag which posts fabricated bullshit on a weekly basis. Let’s not forget, however, that they will occasionally uncover a gem amidst their turds-such as the John Edwards love child scandal and the Paula Deen story exposing her having type II diabetes. I wanted to dig further. I couldn’t rely on the fishwrap that brought us encounters with Elvis from beyond the grave. Thankfully I was able to pick up the transcript online (see it here) of the deposition taken from US District Court, Southern District of Georgia that spelled out the dirty details behind the allegations brought before Ms. Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers. Sweet Jesus what a mess that lady is in. Not only were her testified statements regarding the use of the ‘n’ word filled with stammers and ‘I don’t know” responses, but even more clearly defined acts of racism were revealed. She was questioned about her interest in having black men act as servants for a wedding. She replied she got the idea from a restaurant her husband and her had dined at; “The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America…after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War…It was not only black men, it was black women…I would say they were slaves.”

More demeaning connotations were brought out which included her foot in mouth approach to jokes about black people, Jewish people, gay people and more, all ignited from a series of complaints brought against Paula Deen, Paula Deen Industries, Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House and other enterprises related to Deen and her brother. This case of racial and sexual discrimination has been brewing since brought about back in 2009. Another nugget brought out from the deposition is the elusive role played by Deen’s counsel, James P. Gerard, that tried to lead a dual role as both legal representative for the defendant and an acting HR manager for the restaurants owned and run by Deen and Hier. These kind of slimy tactics are typical when companies are trying to railroad someone out of court but Gerard’s participation is currently being questioned and deemed “erroneous”.

I am very much an advocate of keeping that easy to use race card in your pocket and only pointing out acts of inequality where it really exists. Not that I don’t believe racism is good but I feel the overkill response corporations put out there for us to gnaw on tends to get a bit carried away. When anti-gay statements came out from the owners of the Chick Fil A sandwich enterprise, the public responded in numbers with an attitude that said the statements made by Chick Fil A owners is not be right, but it’s not bad enough to eradicate a pretty fucking good chicken sandwich franchise. So once the full story is out, will this be enough to end Deen’s career? Not totally, no, however she probably will never be in the limelight as big as she has been. Her glory days are probably over but hopefully she socked enough away to live comfortably the rest of her life, she still has the restaurants and can enjoy her family without the fear of being scrutinized under the media eye again. Let’s hope she learned something from this. Let’s hope we all learned something from this.


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