If you’re into celebrity chefs—I’m NOT—you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Paula Deen fiasco. She admitted making racially-oriented statements during a deposition relative to a $1.2-million lawsuit filed by a former employee for racial harassment.
You may read more about it—if you so desire—by clicking here. I’m simply going to quote some interesting tidbits directly from that deposition. Among other self-incriminating utterances, here are just a few of them.
“It’s just what they are — they’re jokes … most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks … gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say,” Deen reportedly said in her defense. “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
For me, this isn’t about Paula Deen’s bigoted ramblings; they speak for themselves. But it is about stupidity, incompetence, and—and at the very least—the appearance of insincerity. And I’m not referring to just Paula Deen’s indiscretions, either.
I believe that Paula Deen is in her mid-to-late-60s at the youngest. At any rate, though, I’m not sure whether it’s a case of her being clueless as to WHAT constitutes a racist remark, or whether it’s a matter of her simply not BELIEVING that her statements were racist. While this does not excuse her behavior, it does offer an explanation.
I’ve lost count over my lifetime of the number of times that I’ve heard people say, “I’m not a racist but…” and then follow it with indisputable proof of their racism. Paula Deen, having been born in the 40s and meticulously indoctrinated into the heartland of blatantly unapologetic racial segregation, fits well into this mindset.
And contrary to her lawyer’s public statements on her behalf—attorneys are supposed to do this—I’m assuming that he had advised her to settle the matter out-of-court with an agreement forbidding either side to speak to its details.
But as in all matters involving attorney/client relationships—both criminal and civil—the client is in charge of “policy” decisions. And this includes her deposition statements. If Paula Deen overruled her attorney, she did so at her own peril.
Add to this that her financial success has lacquered her with modest coats of ego and arrogance—both of these are essential to success in the world of TV entertainment. But a serious associated danger is always lurking in the shadows.
It sprung from the shadows and snared Paula Deen big time. She had convinced herself that her cause was a righteous one. From there it was easy to see how certain she was that SHE, alone, could convince both the court and the country of her racial virtue.
I’m convinced that in HER mind, she WAS not, and IS not now, a racist. As well, her decision to “fight” the lawsuit was based entirely on an illusionary self-perception of racial diversity. And by all that’s holy, she was not about to let some “money-grubbing” fortune hunter force her into a passive admission to the contrary.
Racism is not difficult to define; it’s also easy to identify. It’s bigotry aimed at people BECAUSE of their race, and it does not matter whether it comes from the Ku Klux Klan or the NAACP. And as Paula has now learned, it was still racism even if she didn’t believe that it was.
I don’t know if she’ll make a comeback, but if she does, she is going to need an entirely new PR team because the one that advised her regarding this incident screwed her royally.
Personally, I believe she’s NOW sincere in her apologies and that she’s learned a valuable lesion.
When you look at yourself in a mirror, the image staring back at you knows the TRUTH no matter how convincingly you have shielded yourself from it. And sooner or later you have to admit it.
Yes, it may well be painful. But relatively speaking, it will be short-lived and far less painful than what you’ll feel over the long-run by remaining ever loyal to indefensible illusions.