Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Real Beef with Paula Deen

In all the hubub surrounding the Paula Deen racism related scandal, I have to say - that's not why I'm not a a Paula Deen fan.  But it doesn't help.

Before I tell you what my real beef is, let me say - what she said in a court deposition was bad.  There's something clearly wrong about fantasizing about having a plantation-themed restaurant complete with African American waiters that she likened to being slaves.  Bad.  Bad.  Bad.  But are we condemning her for a) being racist, b) for sharing her racist thoughts and dreams in a public forum, or c) for threatening the precious reputations of brands that we know and love?
(a) is the reason people are shocked.
(b) is the reason it's making the news and
(c) is the reason that her career is going down the tubes.
     The fact of the matter, however, is there are plenty of people out there who have racist thoughts of varying degrees (and may not know themselves that they have them, and/or acknowledge that they are racist).  However, most people don't voice them except around people they believe are like-minded.... so definitely not in public.  But there ARE people who have voiced similar sentiments in a public forum -- even elected politicians - who still have jobs and still work in the public eye for many years.
Think Mel Gibson.
Think Strom Thurman.
Think Rush Limbaugh.
    She is being persecuted because she let her freak flag fly.  She put some freaky bad words out there for public consumption.
   But I think we should think carefully before we slam the last nail in the coffin of Paula Deen's career, because we may also be shutting the door on an opportunity to better deal with race issues in this country.  Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of everybody probably have racist thoughts.
    Do we, as a nation, have a conversation around the offender who dares to put words to their thoughts, and consider understanding and forgiveness?  Or do we bare torches, burn the sacrificial lamb, and then pretend that the offender was aberrant, was the only one?  Do we see Paula Deen as "other" or do we see her as one of the group of everybody who at one point or another has unfavorable thoughts about another group of people.

I am not letting Paula Deen off the hook.  She'll have her day in court.

My real beef with Paula Deen is that for 3 years, she pushed severely unhealthy food, perpetuating her own and others' risk for being obese and having diabetes.  All the while, she actually had diabetes.  She deceived millions of people, pushing her 'drug' of Southern Fried food.  Then she came out and admitted her disease, and signed a million-dollar deal with a drug company promoting a diabetes drug.

She's nothing but a drug pusher to me.  She pushed the drug of buttery, sugary, salty, killing foods, and then she pushed the drug to help heal the people whose diseases she helped perpetuate.  She profited dearly off one drug, and then profited off the illness that that drug created.

And I didn't see the Food Network threatening to kick her off the air for being unethical.  Hmmm??

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