Oh, wow. I gotta say that I honestly thought that Paula Deen was just an old southern woman who grew up in a time when that was acceptable but has since joined the rest of us in the current era. I tend to give old people a pass on a lot of things because of the era they grew up on. I think many of us feel that way. But, wow. Just wow. After watching these clips, it’s rather easy to imagine that the allegations against her are most likely true. And, if she were just Jill Smith, restaurant owner from Atlanta, we probably would not have all the hubbub, but she’s Paula freakin’ Deen. She’s always been so daggone likable – nearly to the point of annoyance, if we’re being honest, that it’s hard to think such things could be true.
In my life experience, it seems there are different schools of racists. You have the mean, hateful/hate-filled kind who waste no opportunity to make a hateful remark – or, in extreme cases, act violently. Most of these will flat out admit to being racist, usually proudly so. Some might classify these as “evil”.
Then, you have the completely clueless kind who don’t even realize they’re being racist. These are always older folks – you can’t really claim ignorance about races when it comes to the younger generations – who, as they were growing up, that was just the way it was. However, they truly do not mean any harm. Not saying they cannot and are not hurtful, but the intent is not there.
I put Deen in the latter camp. I think she’s so incredibly clueless to her racism that she really doesn’t get it. I’m not sure she ever will, to be honest, largely because she is so isolated due to her money and status. I truly doubt that anyone close to her will ever be completely honest about the hurt that she causes them. Assuming, of course, that she truly does have friends of other ethnicities. We only know what she tells us about them.
I hope that I’m wrong about her being insulated and never getting it. I hope that she has a non-white friend that is frank with her. I honestly don’t think she means harm, and just removing all of her TV and cookware deals will not teach the lesson that really needs taught here, which is consideration for others.