For those of you who are smugly satisfied at Food Network Star, Paula Deen’s fall from grace after admitting she has used the “N”word in the past; fill in the blank of this little poem:
“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a ………….. ”
When I was a kid, we all used this counting rhyme every time we chose up sides for a ballgame. I even remember saying it when picking playing partners during Vacation Bible School recess at First Lutheran Church.
During the innocence of our youth, most of us said the forbidden “N” word on occasion; like when dad opened the big can of mixed nuts at Christmas time and we’d all pick out our favorite. I’m not sure I knew the real name for Brazil nuts until high school.
I remember laughing hysterically at Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” movie..especially how the old lady first greeted the new black sheriff or when the church bell rang covering up the “N” word as Gabby Johnson announced the sheriff’s arrival.
These admissions, I suppose, could get me fired but I, like most of my peers, grew up and realized the insensitivity of certain words and became naturally more sensitive to the feelings of others.
Before having anything to say here about this subject, I wanted to be dang sure of what Deen actually said and what her termination was based upon so I read the entire 140 page transcript of her court deposition in which she and her brother, Bubba, are being sued by a former manager at his restaurant ..Lisa Jackson…for a million and a half dollars claiming she was harassed and worked in an environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs. I would encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself too before coming to any conclusions based on hyped-up tabloid TV or internet headlines. What I took from her interrogation was that if anybody should be charged with harassment it would be Jackson’s lawyer for the way he treated Deen in the witness chair.
The deposition transcript HERE.
The bottom line is that Deen grew up in the deep south during the 50’s and 60’s in the days of state mandated segregation. Changing old habits and attitudes probably came a lot harder for her than for somebody like me up north whose cultural diversity was limited to Norwegians and Dutch. I don’t know Paula Deen but have appreciated her story of building a business with nothing more than a dream, hard work and determination which eventually resulted in the phenominal success she’s enjoyed. A Facebook friend of mine who works in network TV recounted a recent backstage meeting with Deen who was about to appear on a talk show. He said he was surprised that she still enjoyed her cigarettes but was as sweet as sassafras tea on camera and off. And, from watching her cooking show over the years, that’s been my impression of the lady too; a genuine, fun loving, caring mom of two fine sons who, yes, might even laugh at an occasional naughty joke. She certainly doesn’t deserve to be railroaded out of a career for admitting that she has used the “N” word in her past but not for a long long time.
It’s just a puzzle to me how most Americans dream of achieving personal and financial success and yet, when somebody else actually does it, we can’t wait to see them crumble like a dried up cookie.
On its web and Facebook sites, The Food Network is getting blasted by viewers for the hasty decision to dump Paula Deen. Good.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s not more to it than what we’re hearing. At 66, could it be that the network feels Paula is becoming too old to attract the dream viewer demographic? Maybe she should get together with Emeril Lagasse on a discrimination lawsuit of their own. You remember that Emeril was cruising along with his popular nightly live cooking show when “Bam” he was cancelled. Two people who played a major role in building The Food Network suddenly out on their ear..along with their high salaries.
I’ve watched Paula Deen since her first appearance on TV when she was taking part in a program called “Door Knock Dinners.” I marveled at how she gently and respectfully visited with folks who were sometimes reluctant to allow a TV crew into their home to make a gourmet meal from what was in the cupboards and fridge. As outgoing as Paula Deen has been on her many television and personal appearances over the last dozen years, I don’t believe she’s a good enough actress to be concealing a true personality filled with bigotry and hate.
If you’re not convinced, there’s the rock pile..start casting.