June 22, 2013

Over the top

The Food Network decided not to renew Paul Deen's contract because sometime in her life she used a racial slur.  Something that is heard about every 2.7 seconds in current rap music.

I haven't read the entire transcript from the deposition that got her into this hot water, but by all accounts, it appears that what she fessed up to was using racial slurs sometime in her life.  And laughing at what some people might consider to be inappropriate racial jokes.  Here is one of the key bits:
Q. Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
A. Yes, of course. ... But that's just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the '60s in the South.

Hell, I am much younger than that, born in the midwest, but still have to stop myself from saying the wrong phrase when my kids do 'Eenie, meenie, miney, mo...", because it wasn't tigers we caught when saying that rhyme.  A rhyme, incidentally, that was routinely employed among the kids in my childhood neighborhood, that included my best friend, Marlon.  He was black, but didn't find it offensive - because it was just a word, a common word at the time, a synonym for "black person", and held no deeper meaning.  Tone, inflection, context - they certainly change meaning, and just as Paula indicated, when the black community decided that they were offended by white people using the word, it fell out of common usage.

I have no pre-formed opinion of Paula Deen, I don't spend much time watching TV cooks.  I do not have any particular love or hate of the Food Network.  I do think that this decision is ridiculous.  They seek to punish someone but have, instead, reinforced a double standard through their actions.  Hold every person of color to the same standard for their speech, actions, comedy routines, scripts, songs, and Twitter rants, and most of them would be unemployed.

1 comment:

Titan Mk6B said...

I spent a lot of time in Lousiana in my oil patch days. I heard that word a lot and nobody, I mean nobody, took any offense. Not trying to defend anything here but apparently in different parts of the country that word can have a totally different meaning. Of course, in Chicago, everything has a different meaning.