Guess who has been playing on the internet again? That’s right, racists, people who think it’s cool to be racist, and people who think that overly sensitive people of color are to blame. They’ve got lots to say and they are pretty pissed at The Food Network for not getting Paula Deen’s back. What are they most angry about? It seems the the whole wide world is being mean to Ms. Paula Deen and they won’t accept her heartfelt apologies (video 2 or 3 because she erased 1). Well, I got news for, we don’t have to. So, I give you, the top 4 reasons that I am not accepting Paula Deen’s apology …
1. People say she is being punished for her honesty, which should be commended, however …
It’s the law to be honest during a deposition. You don’t score brownie points. (Also, I’m betting we’re running fast a loose with the word honest)
2. People say, haven’t you ever made a mistake?
Called someone a Nigger? Nope. Thought about having Black people dress as slaves for my amusement? Nope.
3. People say, it happened so long ago.
It was happening during the interview.
Responding “of course” to the question “have you used the N-word” is a problem. She didn’t say, when I was young and I didn’t know the difference. She didn’t say regretfully. She said “of course”. As in, don’t we all. No, we don’t all.
She says she and her husband taught their children not to use the N-word “in a mean way.” Is there a nice way for a White person to use this word? (I don’t like the word at all, but that is another discussion)
When questioned further …
Okay. Would you consider those to be using the N word in a mean way?
That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the joke, 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 just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.
Okay, well —
I can feel out that person pretty good on what would offend them, but I’m not sure…what — what the question even means.
Well, if you were sitting around at home just with you and your family, would you feel any hesitation in telling a joke that you thought was funny if it had the N-word in it?
I don’t tell jokes, not at my house. That’s —
Do the other members of your family tell jokes at home?
And they told jokes using the N-word?
I’m sure they have. My husband is constantly telling me jokes.
Okay. And have — are you offended at all by those jokes?
No, because it’s my husband.
Okay. What about your brother, does he tell those jokes?
I’m sure he has. Bubba’s not good at joke telling, but I’m sure he’s tried to repeat some.
I’ll give you highlight reel of what is wrong with the above.
-Her list of what most jokes are about
-Deflecting all responsibility by saying she can’t determine what offends another person. (perhaps she has a clearer sense of that now)
-Being cool with people you love telling racist jokes.
Then of course there is the moment when she says she couldn’t dress black people up as slaves because other people would misinterpret it …
Yes, they might actually think that you are into slavery, because, you know, it makes it look like you are into slavery.
4. That was not an apology.
A few years ago Jason Alexander told a totally insensitive joke on late night. It was bogus, but a lot of people forgave him. You know why? He actively tried to figure out what he did wrong. He listened. He owned it. He actually had a discovery about his own bias (and we all have bias so if you think this doesn’t apply to you you’re wrong) and he wrote an awesome apology.
So, Ms. Deen and her twitter happy crew, if you really want Americans to forgive these discretions you have to actually own what you did, who you are, and how you have been effected by your own privilege. Be thoughtful about why throwing around the N-Word in a knock-knock joke is all fun and games for you and a reminder for us that you will always think of us as the less thans.