The *N* Word And The Paula Deen Distraction.

Jemima
I’m writing this article in response to the Paula Deen n*gger incident. First of all, let me start by saying that I am not the least bit surprised that a sixty-something year old Southern white woman is admitting to using the word n*gger. I’d be more surprised if she claimed that she’d never used the word in her life. I’d be even more surprised if this was never brought to light at some point in her career and I’d be extra surprised if it wasn’t causing a boisterous buzz within the Black community.

Yet, I simply don’t understand the public outrage in response to this incident when we are facing real issues and are at near calamity level in terms of useful education, viable employment, economic conditions and visibility within the political machine. At least in Canada this is the reality. I’m perplexed at the amount of people who are willing to raise their voices in protest to the bigotry coming from a food network employee yet can’t get their mouths open when it happens systematically within our classrooms, boardrooms and in our very own communities.
Now, this is not a pass and I’m not inferring that she should get away with what she did because our expectations of her should have been lower in the first place. What I am saying is that we must tire of these distractions and focus on the things which will inevitably propel us forward. Yes, I do believe this is a distraction. If this woman and her family are the biggest bigots in America; So. That’s their prerogative. As long as she isn’t cooking up and serving Black folks with some cheese grits and steamed collard greens, I couldn’t care less. She’s a branded millionaire. She can retire into obscurity and disappear from the public eye forever and my heart will never miss a beat. It effects me in no way and it effects you in no way either however; what it does do is spark useful dialogue to enhance the pixels of the bigger picture.

Get this angry when you spot structural racism within your respective cities, suburbs and communities. Cry foul when your local school district is still teaching Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is just as beautiful a love story and with just as challenging language vernacular to boot. Cry foul when your local business solicit our patronage yet they have nobody which looks like us working within their establishments. Which is why I prefer to support Black business but as usual, I digress.
You want to see change? Stop your own Black children and your friends from using this word. Stop giving our own people a pass! Black people have fought and struggled for freedom and to be physically free from bondage yet mentally enslaved with the verbal remnants of degradation is pathetic. I hate the word n*gger. I grew up in a black community where it wasn’t just taboo, it was unfathomable to utter such filth.
How degrading and I truly believe that when Black people say it, they are out of touch with their pride, identity and personal integrity. Further proof that re-education ought to be at the top our our collective priority list.

All in all, I’m upset that I can no longer cook along with Ms. Deen because I can’t in good conscious support an admitted bigot and I hear they fired her anyway. But, one monkey don’t stop the show and I refuse to allow this distraction to get in between me and my good priorities and those are to do my part in shaping a positive future for myself and the loves of my life; My People.

Oh and one more thing, the media is calling for her to donate millions to the NAACP and other “ethnic” institutions in retribution for her actions. I say BS; If money is accepted from the same hand that was only yesterday trying to dress Black folks up like a scene out of “The Help”, then we should stay on mute an sit idly by while the Paula Deens and the Ms. Hilly’s of the world say it like they mean it while we eat their sh*t.

Always remember, Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
~Rachelle

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16 Comments

Filed under African Canadian, Black Canadian, Black Educators, Black Literature, Black Youth, Brampton, Brampton Ontario, Education, Literacy, Musings, Ontario, Ontario Curiculum, Ontario Curriculum, Parents, Uncategorized, Women

16 responses to “The *N* Word And The Paula Deen Distraction.

  1. Galen Faulkes

    While I agree with your point on Romeo & Juliet, when a person calls it out, they should be careful to whom they call it out. My district, predominantly black, teaches Romeo & Juliet and not only is it required by the curriculum, there are several county tests over the year designed to make sure teachers are teaching the mandated curriculum (aside from a few other stated goals) and not getting their own bright ideas.

    • First, good points addressed in this article.

      I understand the underlying call for action, however I can’t agree with everything said here. For example, I understand the issues in our districts being able to identify more with our Black students, but in my prodominently White district we did read books such as “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in addition to reading Romeo and Juliet. As a matter of fact, TEWWG was considered an AP book because of the vernacular, the complexity of the motifs/themes and the overall message of the book. The real question is how can we outfit our kids to get in such classes to read this literature? When afforded the opportunities to have “small victories” such as having an African American Literature class, our students won’t even take advantage of it. I’ll digress, though…

      I do agree with you about the use of the N word being laid to rest! It’s become so acceptable nowadays that it seems as if no one is really hesistant to utter the word!

      And I can’t get down with how the NAACP is trying to capitalize on the downfall of a woman who, just like many of us, have fallen short and done and said some things in which she may regret. Her money will not make everything all right; her actions can, though.

      I’m not holier than thou and I can’t justify the media crucifying her as they are, but I do believe in consequences, good or bad, that follow actions we choose to make. I also believe in forgiveness, getting on with our lives and making the necessary changes to be better people – period.

      • Well said! My Blacklit101 seminars are private and “extra curricular literacy” program which introduce students who want to be there to Black literature. It’s not mandatory and is non-credited. Helps weed out the takingeducationforgrantedness.
        ~Rachelle

      • See some of my other articles geared toward re-education. I’d like your thoughts on that.
        ~R

    • I believe it, which is why I believe in building programs to support our students beyond the realm of the traditional school systems. This is why I don’t teach in the public system!!
      ~R

  2. Wonderful post and I agree that we need to focus on the bigger problem in our community than this.

  3. I actually wasn’t mad at her. Paula is who she is, I can’t be mad at her for being who she is. I was more surprised that peope were surprised that she said it. I’m not sayin that she is a card carrying member of the KKK but like you said she is a southern white woman. Who has probably said the N word and probaby worse. Just because she is on TV doesn’t mean she is above reproach. I was actually mad that she thought saying thos things were ok or accectable.

    • I am honestly not mad at all. I’m not surprised by it either and although I don’t believe she’s above reproach. The Food Network deciding not to renew her contract indicates that they are conscious of the impact the court of public opinion has in terms of racism which is a step in the right direction. What should we do? Lynch her? This issue is still what it is, a big fat distraction. She’s not the first and she certainly won’t be the last. I know that she’s waxed poetic about her nostalgic linkages to her slave owning Southern past and now some Black folks are even stepping up in her defense. For what I can’t seem to figure out… The word n*gger is POISON. I don’t care who says it, but, we still can’t take our eyes off the prize for this. She’s just a drop in the bigger bucket of racial BS.
      ~R

  4. Excellent commentary. This is indeed a distraction. While African Americans are all up in arms about this story, Ms. Deen will serve a year in the media/sponsors penalty box, she will then have a heart felt interview with her bff Oprah, they both will get great ratings, which will springboard her back onto the Food Network with a show and sponsors, old and new will line up to capitalize on her infamy. The whole issue surrounding the N-word is a distraction too. Until we stop using it ourselves, within our community… as well as take it’s power away from white people by not having knee jerk reactions to it all the time it’s used by them, we’ll forever be enslaved by it. Re-education is the key!

    • IMO, I believe it’s important that our children understand the history of this word, the derogatory nature of it and truly comprehend why it is never acceptable socially or otherwise to utter it. Not in jest, Not in hiphop and certainly not in mainstream media. Every time the word is used, we continue to speak life into it! To me, the word n*gger is an iron shackle of antiquity and since Iron doesn’t biodegrade; the only way to get rid of is to bury it. Even then it still exists beyond the surface, never entirely being “gone” or completely removed from existence.
      I’d say it’s a good place to start though 🙂
      ~R

  5. Juanisa

    Great article. I personally will continue to use Paula Deans recipes with they fit the meal that I am making. We as a people are desensitizing ourselves to the impact that the word n*gger posses. Yes it was wrong it came from a White woman in the south but why are we not just as outraged at hip hop, our youth on the street, people we know who also overuse or even use the word. It goes back to what Rachelle said reeducation. It is not a term of endearment. It represents our darkest time as a people yet we won’t let it go?

    • Amen! I’m far more outraged when I hear Black people using that filthy word. In terms of white people saying it, as a good friend of mine, iZReal said, “That’s just basic.” Makes no wonder these kids use the word, many are in self-denial that they are Black themselves! They too busy being “Trinni & Jamaican & Chinese” 5 generations removed and visibly AFRO-whatever.

      You keep making her deep-fried butter, it’s YOUR preogative, but, I implore you to try not to dress up some Black folks as slaves to serve it.
      Too soon? Touché
      ~Rachelle

  6. This site can be a walk-through for all of the info a person wanted relating to this and failed to know whom to ask. Glimpse the following, and you will definitely find out it.

  7. Love this article. White people don’t worry about as often as we would like to believe, why? Because we are self destructive.

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