The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for June 2013

Now Paula Deen? Here We Go Again…

Paula DeenJust when I’m ready to move on to another topic, here we go again: new headlines on racist language and behavior. If you haven’t heard, Paula Deen, celebrity chef and beloved Food Network star, admitted in a deposition to using racial slurs (specifically the N word) and cannot tell what might be offensive to others… REALLY???

I mean, I get that some jokes are a little off and you’re not sure whether to laugh or be offended. Typically, for the sake of comedy, I’m on the side of letting a lot of jokes slide, be easy, laugh it off… but (and this is a big BUT) everyone knows you can’t just throw out the N word and think that you aren’t going to offend. Everyone knows this, right?!

Well, this sounds like a teachable moment if ever there was one.

Here’s what I think (in case you were dying to know, I mean you are reading my blog, ha!):

  • I appreciate the Food Network for setting an example, acting swiftly and decisively not to renew Paula Deen’s contract. While many of her fans are quick to come to her defense, the Food Network realizes the impact of  resigning her contract so soon into this debacle. They have to think of their brand, their viewers, and the far-reaching consequences of seemingly “co-signing” this behavior.
  • However, if Paula Deen moves away from the public eye completely, then we lose the opportunity to teach through her growth. If indeed her apologies were sincere and she wants to learn and grow from this experience, then the opportunity to document just how she does this growth could be very powerful. Not just for the healing that hurt fans and employees might need, but  healing that the nation needs. We need public examples of how someone learns to grow beyond tolerance to appreciation and respect for others differences. We need this story to continue in a public forum, in a very public way.

Maybe instead of a cooking show, she can do a reality show to document her journey back, since I’m sure she’ll be back.

What say you? Should Paula’s contract be renewed? Do you think she simply made a mistake a long time ago and forgiveness should abound? Is forgiveness enough?

 

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Written by Shara

June 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Cheerios Commercial – Let the Comments Stand

Cheerios put together a beautiful and heart-warming commercial featuring a biracial family and the country is in a spin. The brand decided to remove negative comments from YouTube, but I say let the comments stand. YouTube should publish real first and last names next to each one.

Many are surprised that in 2013 there would still be so much racism. It happens to me– insulated in my culturally-diverse community– where I forget that this kind of hatred and vitriol can still be formulated as a thought, let alone a word spoken or put to print. But, as I mentioned in a previous post, just when I’m ready to relocate my mind to that precious utopia, something happens to snap me back to reality.

Reality is … that hate is taught and people are still teaching it and passing it along from one generation to the next. Reality is … that while we have come a long way, there’s still a significant part of the population who have yet to make that journey as well. Reality is … you can’t confront what is often shared in whispers or spoken in the comfort of home among equally ignorant and unevolved minds.

So, I say let the comments stand. Put the hatemongers on the map and stop hiding what is a very real part of our society … TODAY.

It’s hard to read, even harder to hear as I found out for the first time the year I graduated from high school. A week at the beach among “friends” would offer one of the most important lessons I would ever learn in life. “Hey, look at me, I’m walking like a n*gger,” she said and the words pierced through me like knife. A wound that would never fully heal, as it was re-opened time and again.

Ignorance and fear create this kind of hate. Hiding it pushes it away for the moment from our minds and from our eyes, but never completely from our lives.

Let the comments stand and let those who uttered the words stand by them, publicly, so we all know… and learn… and teach.