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What Do Southerners Think of Paula Deen?

Her fans throughout Georgia largely support her, even though she has disappointed them. Related: #WarOnWomen: NY Times Shreds Paula Deen’s ‘Today’ Show Appearance

by
Chris Queen

Bio

June 25, 2013 - 6:22 pm
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Paula Deen has become the talk of the country, just not for a reason she would ever want. I’ve written twice about her in the past few days, first about her deposition and the surrounding media coverage and then once the Food Network refused to renew her contract. Since then, Smithfield has severed ties with the celebrity chef, and QVC is evaluating its relationship with Deen.

But what do Deen’s fellow Southerners think of her? The question provoked a few discussions, and the verdict is decidedly mixed. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Gregory asked Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed about the controversy. (I can only imagine the discussion in the meeting. Let’s ask Kasim Reed. He’s from Georgia. And he’s black!) Reid said,

“I think it is very unfortunate. What she has basically said is she used language from her childhood growing up in the past, but we all have to change,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told “Meet the Press,” according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

“So I think folks are going to be hearing what she has to say over the next few weeks. I think she has apologized once, and she is going to continue to do that. It is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable,”  Reed said.

The feeling couldn’t have been more different outside The Lady and Sons, Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, GA, where supporters (and regular patrons) lined up Saturday well in advance of opening.

Most of the diners in line on Saturday morning were white and more than ready to defend one of their favorite cooking stars. But at the very front was Nicole T. Green, 36, an African-American who said she had made a detour from a vacation in New Orleans specifically to show up in support of Ms. Deen.

“I get it, believe me,” Ms. Green said. “But what’s hard for people to understand is that she didn’t mean it as racist. It sounds bad, but that’s not what’s in her heart. She’s just from another time.”

[...]

In the line Saturday, some pointed out that some African-Americans regularly used the word Ms. Deen had admitted to saying.

“I don’t understand why some people can use it and others can’t,” said Rebecca Beckerwerth, 55, a North Carolina native who lives in Arizona and had made reservations at the restaurant Friday.

[...]

“You still hear people talk that way if people think they are in a group of like-minded people,” said Richard Hattaway, 56, who lives just outside Savannah.

He said his grandfather used the word often and without rancor in referring to African-Americans. But Mr. Hattaway’s own parents forbade its use. It is an evolution common to many white families in the South, he said.

“She obviously didn’t get it but I think they are kind of blowing this up,” Mr. Hattaway said.

He was particularly bothered by a commentator on a national news program who suggested that Ms. Deen should have atoned for the pain of slavery, given credit to African-Americans who helped influence some of the country food that made her famous and offered a stronger statement against racism.

“She’s a cook,” Mr. Hattaway said. “She’s not a Harvard graduate.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I'm a southern boy transplanted to the North 55 years ago. I've seen more real racial bigotry here than I ever did in the homes of my devout Southern Baptist grandparents. Destroying someone for something they said years ago is beyond the pale.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does this mean the food network is going to start asking Black hosts if they ever used the words "cracker" or "honky?" I feel bad for Paula. Not that I ever saw her show. I'm a little too busy with work and fixing cars and upgrading my house, etc. But she got hung out to dry for using words 30 years ago that were part of ordinary vocabulary at the time.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a missed opportunity here, which is to use this unfortunate incident to point out the utter uselessness of policing language to correct prejudice. The pain of racism isn't in the words, it's in the hearts and heads of the racists and those against whom they harbor prejudice. Castigating Paula Deen for words said so long ago does absolutely nothing to end racism and, in fact, can make it more entrenched. I think this ridiculous and stupid fixation on language is an easy way for the left to feel superior - not that they need help in that department.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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I would like to see those people who condemn Paula Deen asked if they have ever cursed using the Lord's name. If the answer is 'yes' then ask them how their lives would be if God was as petty as they are.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't particularly admire Ms Deen, however I believe that destroying someone for something said 30 plus years ago goes way beyond the pale - especially in Obama's "post racial society."
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to reliable reports, the Department of Justice has determined that celebrity chef Paula Deen will be subject to a trial by submersion in the Savannah River. The event is scheduled to take place by the end of July. Under the terms of the agreement between the Justice Department and its national public relations arm, the National News Media, the event will be broadcast live, with minute-to-minute coverage made possible by generous corporate sponsorship. Ms. Deen, who has admitted to the use of a very bad word more than a generation ago, will be bound, her hands and feet tied with heavy rocks, and thrown into the Savannah River at its deepest point. If Ms. Deen sinks and drowns, her innocence will be proclaimed. If Ms. Deen floats, her guilt will be self-evident, and she will be executed.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why the heck is this a story worthy of PJ Media? Who cares?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have any of the execs at Food Network, Target and all the other places who have kicked her to the curb ever uttered a disparaging word or comment about a person's color of skin, nationality, gender, etc. in their lives, today or 30 years ago when they were kids or adults? If they are as clean of mind and mouth as they want us to believe, they are a bunch of liars. Look in a mirror, you corporate execs: you are disingenuous and sanctimonious. You cannot tell me with a straight face that you've never spoken bad words about a person's background, race, religion, etc.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The article mentioned at least one person who said they "forgave" her, yet they still intended to behave towards her with the intent to punish her. This attitude is common throughout the grievance community. Large formal occasions of forgiveness begged and granted may be held, but no one in the aggrieved population ever forgives or forgets. It isn't about offence, it's about obtaining additional power thru offence acclaimed, and power grabs never end.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I was a boy, the n-word was the norm used by all races to refer to African-Americans. Now the only people I hear say it are transplanted Yankees and African-Americans.

As for Deen, I didn't have a clue who she was before this.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Y'all are missing the bigger point here.

What person, in their right mind, who has heard this story will admit to having used a word - A WORD - not a knife, stick, gun or stone but a freaking word, 30 years in their past if the consequences are what Paula is now encountering?

If I was being interviewed by anyone for anything and they asked me if I ever said the WORD, I would look them straight in the face and lie my ass off!

No, I have never used that WORD! No really, not once and how dare you assume that I have with that mendacious follow-up question!

Of course, everyone who was party to the interview or who saw it or read it would rightly assume that I lied, but what can they do? I took the power away from them by refusing to play their game.

What a bunch of lunatic nonsense!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

Having grown up in an oppressive maternally-mandated matriarchy that repeatedly insisted not only that "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me." but also that "They're not 'colored', they're born that way.", I believe that I have a somewhat different perspective.

Face it, the "n-word" fetish, although a cornerstone of the Negro rights industry, is nothing more than so much balderdash. I mean, really, to put it the current jargon, am I to believe that the 'n-word' is worse than the "m-f words"? Really??? As a philosophical certitude???

The "n-word" fetish is a tool of reverse racial oppression. It's the way the Negro rights industry not only protects its sources of income and power through various extortionate means but also reminds improperly re-educated Caucasians of their perpetual racial guilt. Similarly, there is that inner joy when the reprehensible for white to use "n-word" is so easily bandied about within "the community.

As for Paula Deen's current travails, what I would ask and insist on being answered is "Who was harmed and to what degree?" and "Who is now benefitting?". I am expecting much silence to ensue in that regard.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a southern boy transplanted to the North 55 years ago. I've seen more real racial bigotry here than I ever did in the homes of my devout Southern Baptist grandparents. Destroying someone for something they said years ago is beyond the pale.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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