Well now ole Paula has got some problems it appears. Target and Wal-Mart and the Food Network are dropping her like a hot buttered potato. Home Depot and Ceaser’s Entertainment are on the list as well.
The ultimate sin these days is to be a racist or a bigot (or a fat person – the most vilified of all people in America). I will happily go on the record and say that to prejudge a person based upon their skin color or economic level or religion or sex is just wrong. And the word that Paula admits to saying was considered a curse word in my South Louisiana upbringing – though that wasn’t true for a lot of people, I admit. I recall moving to Mississippi in my late teens and hearing elderly people use the term ‘nigra’ … which I gathered was acceptable because it was close enough to the other word but not quite there. It is a poor way to address someone, and more than that, it is a sin. I certainly do not object to Paula being called out on this issue.
Paula’s troubles are multi-layered. For one thing, the only reason we are hearing confessions and testimonials is because of the lawsuit against her (being sorry for the action and being sorry you got caught are two different things!). In addition, this is not about a word she used once 30 years ago. There are plenty of words and they are much more recent. That seems to have escaped a lot of people. As a white American I probably cannot understand how it feels to have that word said toward me with contempt.
But I still WANT to forgive Paula. I like to hear her talk and watch her cook, though I seldom do. I’ve tried my hand at a few of her recipes but I bet they didn’t come out as good as when she makes them. I admire her story, how she came from nothing and persevered until she got to the place where we all see her now. If you watch her you feel like you know her family … and even a little bit like you’d be welcomed to be a part of her family. That’s a rare quality. But those are not the real reasons I want to forgive Paula.
I want to forgive Paula because of the innate hypocrisy of those who are giving her the boot. Why don’t we waltz down to the CD bin and listen to some of the rappers use not only Paula’s dreadful word, but describe how to kill policemen, rape women, beat girlfriends and much more. Target? Wal-Mart? You’re still selling it. To young people, no less. And these outlets claim that when they sell out of her cookware, they will not re-order. So much for a stand on principle. You’re going to eek out every last penny from her name that you can while you stand on your holy hill acting like you’re offended. I’m more offended at the way you work the majority of your workers with just enough hours that you are not legally required to offer them health insurance and benefits. But Paula Dean bothers you. Baloney. Ceasar’s Entertainment doesn’t want to have Paula Dean’s buffet in their gambling casinos … in which they regularly rob people of their money every single day? And many of them have their workers spending 8 hrs + a day walking around in putrid smoke-fogged casinos breathing in everyone’s second hand smoke? Thanks for truly caring about us all. Pure hypocrisy. The list of chefs on the food network who have legal infractions is a long one … but they’re still there. But that’s not the main reason I want to forgive Paula.
I want to forgive Paula, mostly, because I’ve been forgiven of so much. Not just words but actions .. and inactions when there should have been actions. I have no doubt that legions of her fans, of every hue, will forgive her and love her. But I really want my reason to love her and forgive her to be because Jesus has forgiven me over and over. He paid a terrible price to redeem me because I couldn’t control my tongue, or my thoughts. Jesus’ blood brought about the forgiveness I needed because I refused to control myself and because the list of my sins and shortcomings is so long that I could never fix it myself.
Corporations and the media do not care about the forgiveness that comes from Christ. Consequences abound, and that is not all bad.
I guess the world will prattle on about this for a few months until another celebrity does something outrageous. As I look at the injustices and crimes against humans in all parts of the world, the words and actions of one woman do not seem very important. The Supreme Court continues to allow millions of babies to be killed as a matter of convenience. There are hoards of refugees in various quarters of the world who have been run out of their homes. Militant Islamists threaten to blow up the world.
I guess compared with the hypocrisy of big corporations / media and the global threats we are facing, this does not seem big to me. I will say, though, that if the woman bringing the lawsuit has a legitimate grievance, I hope she gets justice. I do not belittle the raw hurt that can come with careless (or hate-filled) words.
But this whole thing has blown up into one politically correct self-righteous hypocritical trainwreck.
Thanks for reading,