Posts Tagged paula deen

An Observation About Paula Deen

paula deen racist

Paula Deen stepped out yesterday by making this following statement  “I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying. I’m fighting to get my name back.”

Note to Paula Deen: You were rightfully vilified for being a racist piece of shit who discriminates against people based on their race. That is not the same thing as a gay man not wanting his sexual orientation to overshadow his identity in a sport mostly hostile to that identity.

Moreover, if you want to make the point that you are not, indeed, a racist asshole,  then maybe you care to refer to said man by his name, Michael Sam, as opposed to just calling him “that black man.

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On Prejudice, Vigilante Justice and the Frightened Search For A Scapegoat That Has a Fall Out All Of Its Own

Zimmerman Trial Enters Jury Dissertation Phase

1) Consequences: When you equip people with guns and instill fear and paranoia in them and encourage them to go out there and take “justice” into their own hands and “stand their ground“, someone’s gonna get hurt. This shit doesn’t happen in a void. “Stand your ground” laws have very real life and death consequences and one of its unfortunate victims today, among many others, is a 17 year old black boy named Trayvon Martin who is buried six feet deep in dirt and who will never live his life – all because he was black and some racist, unevolved swine in the form of George Zimmerman thought he was guilty of something, being black and all.

2)  This verdict makes a mockery of the justice system and justice itself, because this it not only sets a legal precedent but also tells us that Martin was, rightly, executed for “walking while black”, even though he did no wrong and that it was ok for George Zimmerman to racially profile, stalk and execute an unarmed teenager. 

3) “They always get away.” These were the words George Zimmerman uttered as he followed and later shot Trayvon Martin.

Ask yourself this question: If Zimmerman had seen a white youth walking in the rain that evening, would he have seen him as one of ‘them,’ someone about to get away with something?

Racial bias reverberates in our society like the primordial Big Bang. Some years ago, Rev. Jesse Jackson made the point in a dramatic way when he acknowledged that he feels a sense of relief when the footsteps he hears behind him in the dead of night turn out to belong to white feet. Social scientists who study our hidden biases make the same point in a more sober way with statistics that demonstrate that we are more likely to associate black people with negative words and imagery than we are white people. It’s an association that devalues the humanity of black people — particularly black youth like Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman probably saw race the night of February 26, 2012, like too many others would have. Had he not, Trayvon probably would be alive today.

Now I am not saying we should incarcerate people for hidden biases and prejudices. However, the point is that race played a role in this. A lot of people say it is not about race, but about a child dying, and that is not true. It is precisely and only about race.

George Zimmerman was out to get someone, “them”, who always get away with it. And he did. The police told him to stay put and he did not listen, he got out to get “them”. The difference between Jesse Jackson and Zimmerman is that Jackson didn’t murder anyone based on that prejudice. Thinking something and acting on it are two different things and motivation in a court of law only matters with respect to the outcome. If Martin was alive, no one would have dragged Zimmerman in front of a court of law for having prejudiced thoughts. He was dragged there because his prejudice ultimately prompted him to go after Trayvon Martin and murder him.

For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. And the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fall out all of its own. 

Martin was a brown man and that is why he is dead today. If he was white, he would be alive. That is all we need to know and care about, everything else is just semantics. Not to mention that if people had followed the trial, they would know that Martin was the one on trial all along. Even the defense used race as a defense: “he was black”, “he smoked pot”, he did all these black things ipso facto he deserved to die somehow. That’s been the gist of the defense’s argument.

4) George Zimmerman murdered a child in cold blood and he wasn’t even found guilty of manslaughter. That is not justice. Getting out of your car, armed with a gun, to follow a teenager for no reason is reprehensible.

According to Wendy Dorival of the Sanford Police Department, the protocols under which  neighborhood watch groups operate specifically instruct volunteers not to follow  suspicious persons since that’s the job of trained law enforcement personnel. On the night Trayvon Martin was killed, the police even advised him that it was not necessary to get out of his car to pursue the suspect, yet Zimmerman ignored them and still pursued and stalked a black teenager.

This shows premeditation and racially informed pursuit which ultimately lead to Trayvon’s death. Zimmerman had a choice,  which is to not get out of the car to get “them“, but he chose to grab his gun and get out to pursue a kid for the sole reason that the child was black and thus clearly suspicious in Zimmerman’s eyes.  Had Zimmerman stayed in the car and waited, Trayvon Martin would be alive.

5) The trashing of Trayvon Martin’s character who had just been walking home and minding his own business is disgraceful and repugnant. He died not knowing who Zimmerman was and why he targeted him and jumped out of his truck in the dark of night to follow him. How was he supposed to know Zimmerman was neighborhood watch, as far as Martin was concerned Zimmerman was just criminal trying to mug and/or hurt him. 

6) The fact that people had to march and protest and bring immense media attention to the issue just to get him charged and subsequently prosecuted  is, by itself, evidence enough to the extent to which race played a role. As Michael Moore putHad a gun-toting Trayvon Martin stalked an unarmed George Zimmerman, and then shot him to death… DO I EVEN NEED TO COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE?

7) The sad truth is that if Zimmerman had shot a deer without a hunting license he would have received more punishment.

8) Unarmed  teenagers have a right to public space – without  owning armed  citizens any explanation as to their equal right to the sidewalk

9) Racism harms people, even if it is casually muttered by chubby cheeked chefs in the from of Paula Deen. When you casually make racist remarks, you have to remember that such casual statements contribute to the kind of “othering”  and dehumanizing mindset under which George Zimmerman acted. A mindset that prompted him to follow a child, a black child, at night, presume he was guilty of something because he was black and trying to “get away with it” and then subsequently shoot him.  This is why Paula Deen’s remarks and sweet-toothed racism are so dire: they add to culture of hate, paranoia and prejudice with deadly consequences for those who have to endure them, such as Trayvon Martin and his family.

10) To paraphrase Jermaine Paul, how much of a better world would it have been if George Zimmerman had offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night, instead of acting on his suspicions, fear, paranoia and prejudices and shoot him to death. 

11) This was a sad day for justice but a great onr for the gun lobby.  A great day to be a murderer in Florida. A great day for white supremacy.  A great day for vigilante justice.

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fall outs. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices.  To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. And the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fall out all of its own. For the children, and the children yet unborn.”

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An Observation About Paula Deen

The tears of a racist who feels sorry for herself and for being called out on her racism

The tears of a racist who feels sorry for herself and for being called out on her racism

I have been following the Paul Deen controversy and subsequent fall out that started after a discrimination suit was filed by her employees who alleged that they were subject to “violent, sexist, and racist behavior” during five years working for Deen’s various businesses.

During a videotaped deposition as part of that discrimination suit, she discussed her desire to have a “very southern style wedding” for her brother modeled after a restaurant where the “whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men” clad in white jackets and black bow ties. Deen also admitted to having used the N word and discussed the ways the word could be “not said in a mean way.”

As a result of her practiced racism, a bunch of sponsors, including the Food Network, Smithfield Foods and now even the experts in racism itself, Wal mart, have dropped her ass.

Last week she was on The Today Show spewing all sorts of unapologetic, high grade racist garbage Southern style, including how she would not have fired herself for using racial slurs and engaging in employment discrimination (naturally),  and how “every one of God’s creatures was created equal. I believe that everyone should be treated equal, that’s the way I was raised and that’s the way I live my life” blah blah blah yawn, liar, bullshit.

There was a lot of crying and sobbing, undoubtedly because she is losing all these easy millions from lost business opportunities and not because she feels any kind of regret for her behavior as is abundantly clear by her cringe worthy interview with Matt Lauer. 

Her defenders have charged to her rescue thinking everyone is overreacting for going after her for something she said 30 years ago and that poor thing was being held at gun point by a black person after all, and she didn’t say it to him, she said the N word to her husband later, plus she is from the South and this is how she grew up etc etc. All the interesting, colorful and pathetic excuses for racism you have ever heard were employed in Deen’s case trying to apologize and rationalize her behavior – as if racism wasn’t harmful and hurting people, even if such racism is expressed and practiced by pouncy-cheeked, rosy, pastry chefs from the good old South. Here is the thing:

1) If racist slurs come to your mind when you’re angry or pissed off at someone who happens to be a member of a racial or ethnic minority, then that is a fucking problem! And that problem is that somehow you seem to think  – and thus have rationalized in your head  – that using racial slurs is ok as long as those slurs are not said aloud and/or directed at someone to whom they apply. When you rationalize in your head that using racist slurs, especially in private, is ok then you have basically just granted yourself that permission – which makes it a conscious choice on your end. When you have the choice to do one thing, you also have the choice to not do it. I may get pissed at a driver who happens to be black for cutting me off on the freeway, but then I flip him off and call him an asshole, not the N word.

2) Racism harms people. And as we have seen in Deen’s case, her racism was not just confined to her personal, private realm or between her and her husband. The casual racism she practices and which everyone thins is no big deal because she allegedly hasn’t said it to people directly, has obviously translated into discriminatory practices at her businesses. Therefore, this is not just a matter of some old lady having said the wrong thing 30 years ago. This is about a good, old lady having engaged in cold, hard workplace discrimination as a direct result of her racist attitudes and mindsets as well as choices.

3) When you are in the habit of regularly using racial slurs and dream of throwing plantation style weddings with an all black staff whom you pay with beer and, to make matters worse, you go on national TV and keep saying this is who you are and that you won’t change and that you would definitely not have fired yourself for using racial slurs and engaging in employment discrimination, then your behavior harms people on a scale that goes beyond just your immediate circle. That is not ok and we should not condone it or give her a pass because she is old or from the South and set in her ways. I mean, she is not that old. It’s not like slavery ended just 30 years ago.

Racism is a choice, not a compulsion. There is no need to direct ones anger at someone’s individual behavior into an expression of hatred for their race.

This is not about free speech or someone having said something wrong and being punished for it or throwing the first stone if you are the one without sin blah blah blegh. This is about practiced racism by a privileged woman who has been discriminating against her black employees and who thinks it is ok to do so, including romanticizing plantations, because she is from the South and this is just who she is.

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