To begin, it’s entirely possible to use an occasional racist term and NOT be a racist. It’s also important for people to understand that CALLING people racists doesn’t always mean that they ARE racists. Although, most of the time it’s more likely than not.
As for all the hullabaloo regarding Paula Deen, I don’t believe that she’s a racist. I’m not excusing what she’s done; I’m just offering an explanation. Other people have their own explanations, and they may well differ from mine.
Simply put, when this whole affair relative to Paula Deen began, I assumed that she had the intellectual wherewithal to seek way smarter counsel to help her deal with it, but it’s become apparent that she didn’t. Nor does she seem to be seeking wiser counsel now.
The fact is that people have not condemned Paula Deen for using the term, “nigger,” over four decades ago when she was a very young bank teller who was giving the police a description of a black armed robber who had held a loaded gun to her head just minutes earlier.
As I wrote in other forums, Paula Deen was born and raised in a virtual county seat of segregation. So for me, the wonder is that no one has been able to show her using the term since that time—she claims that she hasn’t used it, and I’ve seen no evidence that she has.
She believes with every fiber of her being that she’s NOT a racist, and looking at some of the social causes that she’s supported over the years—both locally and nationally—they do not seem like ones that a racist would support.
One of her major problems is that she does not seem to understand that racist behavior is still racist behavior whether she believes it as such or not. She may well describe the videos of her chiding her black employees as good, lovable clean fun that they seemed to enjoy, but the fact is most of those employee reactions were probably rendered under some level of employer/employee duress.
Employers should never assume that their idea of “in-jest chiding” is not always shared by employees, even when the employer really does mean it in an innocent way. Employees need their jobs and will very often go along to get along out of a fear of retaliation.
But this isn’t the worst of her problems. Her sincere belief that she’s NOT a racist has led her to project herself as the VICTIM in all of this.
Going on national TV to read a poorly edited apology and coming back later to redo the apology without the obvious editing does not even approach a sufficient level of Ramadan-like penance and sacrifice.
Taking the opportunity to appear on the Today Show in front of a TV audience counted in MILLIONS was a golden opportunity to let the country know that she was absolutely remorseful and penitent.
She was doing fine until she once again implied that she was a victim by imploring “…anyone who has NOT sinned throw a rock as hard as possible and hit my head…” followed by bemoaning all the terrible things that people are saying about her.
And then came her brilliant coup de grâce in front of that same humongous TV viewing audience, many of whom were likely hoping for a reason to forgive and forget: “I IS what I IS and I’m not changin’.” Good luck, Paula!
Others gave her wise counsel to keep her emotions in check, but she would have none of it. This is what happens to people when they let their emotions trump reason.
In my opinion, she was—and still is—so firmly and sincerely convinced that she’s not a racist that it has blinded her to even a notion that others may view her behavior differently. To her, it was inconceivable—although it’s not the case now—that others would see her actions as having espoused racism.
I’ve been a researcher all of my professional life, and more often than not, research boils down to just plain OBSERVING, because doing so often reveals a reality that sometimes is not verbalized.
Relative to crime, for example, veteran prosecutors and police detectives know that a mere accusation of wrongdoing, let alone a full-blown arrest, results in a reaction that often speaks volumes to truth.
The guilty inevitably attack the EVIDENCE, while the innocent inevitably attack their ACCUSERS… often to a point of outright indignation. And while this isn’t admissible in a courtroom, it provides both prosecutors and the police with a decent directional hunch.
If you’ve watched her videos and/or read her rebuttals throughout all of this, you had to have noticed that she’s not come close to attacking the EVIDENCE. In fact she’s been completely forthcoming with the evidence because she NEVER meant any of this in a racist way!
Mind you; this does not mean that her behavior was NOT racist, only that she didn’t believe that it was.
On the other hand, she’s beside herself whenever it’s come to attacking her ACCUSERS; she seems ready to take indignation to a new level. She simply needs to shut it off, although it may already be too late.
As someone reminded in another forum, she could have settled this out of court. And I’ll add that she could have done so amicably in a way that would have proven beneficial to both sides and simultaneously taken about 95% of the social ammunition out of her accusers’ hands.