Weekly Sabbath Survey
Crucifying Paula Deen — 7-6-13
For many days now, popular chef and best-selling author Paula Deen has been in the news. She has sort of been the Julia Child of the 21st Century. Her traditional recipes are very Southern: lots of hams, sugar, butter, etc. When she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes awhile ago, many detractors spoke up making fun of the horrible diet she promoted, wondering what she was going to do now. She pressed on, adjusting her own diet and her recipes. Recently in a deposition for a court trial (she is being sued) she was asked if she had ever used the “n” word. She answered truthfully. “Yes” and gave an explanation.
The result has been a media frenzy, many people weighing in with their opinions, Paula’s publisher canceling book deals, her cooking shows canceled, department stores dropping Paula Deen merchandise and books. It has been a systematic effort to stamp Paula’s name out of existence. Being a racist (whether Paula is or not, I don’t know) is ugly and unacceptable, but it is NOT punishable by DEATH. Paula issued several apologies, went on TV shows to talk about this continuing blown-all-out-of-proportion thing. She was brought up in the Baptist church, is from Savannah, and her apologies seem sincere. She is a sad and broken little woman. I pray for her and her family. I can’t imagine being in this kind of a spotlight.
For those readers who may not understand the situation in the Deep South, I would guess as high as 90% of the poeple south of the Mason-Dixon line have used the “n” word. Especially people in Paula’s age bracket. In fact this word is still used with a degree of frequency among red necks and black faces alike. I have no percentage for the rest of us up North or out West, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t more than we might think. It was just the way people talked back when, and old habits die hard. Most of us avoid the ‘n’ word now, since Martin and our mothers, made us realize it wasn’t very nice and certainly not very Christian to use a hurtful tag name when referring to other people. In my neck of the woods there was more of a problem with slurs toward Texans of Mexican ethnicity. They got us back by making fun of us in Spanish so we didn’t know what they were saying, but we noticed the snarky laughter at the joke that must have been on us.
I am reminded of a Star Trek TV show in which two men who were the last survivors of their respective races were chasing each other all over the universe. Each one was hoping to kill the other to exterminate his enemy. Each one of them was made up with one side of their face painted white and the other black. Captain Kirk and the crew were puzzled at all this, and inquired as to what it was that they hated about each other so much, since they both looked the same. One answered, “We are not the same at all! I am white on the right and black on the left, and he is white on the left and black on the right.” Stupid, huh?
As I see what’s happening with Paula, I thought of Martha Stewart and what happened to her. Her misdeeds got her time in the pen. I don’t know if she was innocent or guilty, but I believe with all my heart she was gone after with the fervor of hyenas on a fresh kill, just like with Paula. Could it be the most enthusiastic people who scream for vengeance are ones with the most crimes and sins to cover up themselves. They are self righteous, and bringing down someone else makes them feel good about themselves. Somebody said, “Why can’t we all just get along?” It bears repeating.
What is that phenomenon that makes human beings want to go after one another like this? At least Martha was accused of a CRIME. But Paula’s situation is just plain unimaginable. She is being accused, tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. It’s the financial equivalent of an Amish shunning.
Here’s my bottom line for this: Anyone, North, South, East, or West, who has never said the “n” word, never told or laughed at a racist joke, never felt prejudice in their heart, by all means speak up and denounce those of us who have. Otherwise, give people the break we all need from time to time over an ‘open mouth insert foot’ situation. We are simply imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Most of us realize there are changes in the heart of America since the 1950’s, and we all need to get on board with it. We have made good progress, but we must keep going for a better tomorrow with this ‘race’ thing.
Jesus said, He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her. John 8:7