PAULA DEEN AND THE WORD NIGGER 101

The Lady and Sons Restaurant - Savannah, Georgia
The Lady and Sons Restaurant – Savannah, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was surfing the news this morning I ran across Russ Bynum’s, Associated Press article about Paula Deen‘s fans venting their outrage at Food Network, for canning Paula Deen’s cooking show, just because she admitted to using the word “NIGGER.”

And of course, the fact that her N-word usage is allegedly a thing of the past is suspect, especially to Black folk. There’s no doubt in my mind using the word “nigger” is common practice for Ms.Deen. You don’t start incorporating words like nigger” into your vocabulary this late in the game; likewise racist people don’t stop using words that degrade others, when those words make them feel superior.

Now the thing about this situation is that we know Paula Deen is not the only southern belle spitting the word “nigger,” Additionally, we also know she’s not sorry about using the word; just sorry somebody had the audacity to file a lawsuit. I’m looking at Paula Deen’s situation from a different perspective though. Basically I’m taking a trip back into her past, down memory lane to when she was probably considered less than the niggers she’s calling “nigger” today.

Here is a woman, who by her own admission, before God blessed her with this fortune and fame, was about a step above what her own people call “trailer trash.” Taking just a brief excerpt from Wikipedia’s site on Paula’s biography, it would seem that she would have found it unbecoming of her, to allow words like “nigger” to even rest upon her tongue, never mind allow them to leave it. You see I couldn’t help but notice this sentence in Wikipedia‘s biography on her;

    She grew up Baptist, and is still deeply devoted to her faith…

“I can’t help but wonder; what kind of religion or faith do people like this have, that makes them so shallow and phony!”

But then I’m reminded that most Klug Klux Klan attended church every Sunday with their wife and children and had no problem engaging in lynchings afterwards.

Wikipedia: Deen was born Paula Ann Hiers in Albany, Georgia,[4] the daughter of Corrie A. (née Paul) and Earl Wayne Hiers, Sr.[5][6] She grew up Baptist, and is still deeply devoted to her faith.[7] Her parents died before she was 23, and an early marriage ended in divorce. In her 20s, Deen suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. She then focused on cooking for her family as something she could do without leaving her house.[8] Her grandmother Irene Paul had taught her the hand-me-down art of Southern cooking; one of the only places she felt safe was at her own stove, making thousands of pots of chicken and dumplings.[9] She later moved to Savannah, Georgia, with her sons. In 1989, she divorced her husband, Jimmy Deen, to whom she had been married since 1965.[2] She was left with only $200[4] and money was tight raising both her kids and her younger brother, Earl (“Bubba”). She tried hanging wallpaper, working as a bank teller, selling real estate and insurance.[9] She then started a catering service,[10] making sandwiches and meals, which her sons Jamie and Bobby delivered.

So Savannah is livid about Food Network cutting ties with somebody, whose reputation is not what they want representing their network, which attracts people from all races and walks of life. Apparently her fans feel Paula’s such a superior human being that she has the right to use the word “nigger’ when ever she pleases. Actually she does, but that said; Food Network also has the right to be selective in who they choose to make money on or represent their station. After all, Savannah residents are not the only people in the world who watch Food Network.

But I must say; Savannah’s views are not surprising at all, seeing that the institution of black slavery began in Savannah with the establishment of the Colony of Georgia in 1733. Even though slavery was banned for fifteen years during the earliest period of the Colony, it soon took hold in Georgia, as it had in the other English colonies, and was perpetuated by the laws of the Royal government. By the time the City of Savannah was incorporated in 1789, the institution of slavery permeated the community. The municipal government supported the system through the passage of laws strengthening it and their own use of slaves for public works.  Facts; courtesy of;  Exhibit prepared by the City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives. © Copyright 2007 by the City of Savannah, Georgia. All rights reserved.

I wonder if Paula Deen had a black person assisting her in her kitchen on Food Network, would she use the word “nigger” while on air? I mean really, if it’s no harm no foul when she says the word, then why only do it off camera?

The word nigger, while controversal when used has very clear intentions and for that reason should never be used out of context or to demean, unless you’re a racist. As for black people this rule is a given, yet it is often mis-understood in this black and white world.  White men created the word nigger. However,  Black men never accepted or embraced it like they expected. Black folk decided to flip the script on the meaning of the word “nigger.” when used within their own race. Here is where the confusion lies. White people who use the word “nigger” use it to insult, belittle, degrade, while Black people who use it or similar derivatives like; negro or nigga, as pure slang. Usually using the word “nigger” in slang is non-threatening, non-evasive and almost always innocent. even if to some modern-day blacks, it comes off as a little ignorant. But that’s neither here or there.

When I hear White people say: why would they get mad when we call them niggers, when they call each other niggers, I have to wonder what makes them think the two scenarios are the same. But the more thought about it, the more determined I was to take a closer look, because it’s clear White people just don’t understand. Here is what I see; in our struggle over the decades to rise above oppressive treatment, labels and language; we as in African-Americans made a conscious decision to take a word meant for bad and make it good, when it passed from our lips to each other. You see, when Black men call each other “niggers”, they aren’t seeing each other as slave-niggers, or coons. Instead, Black people who do use the word “nigger’ use it as a slang or handle if you will. We can do that, because we never meant it for bad. This was our way of taking away some of the power White men had when they religiously used the word “nigger.” Essentially the White man’s meaning of the word “nigger” is not our own. Our perception of “nigger” makes something out of nothing, like sifting the Kool out of Kool-aid. Our great-grandmothers turned pig intestines into delicacies, waste into wonder so to speak. African-Americans are the original southern cooks. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paula Deen’s handed down southern recipes originated in the heads of “niggers.”

Bottom line; Paula Deen is not authorized to use the word “nigger” unless she’s using it in a derogatory way, which she was, hence the lawsuit. Furthermore, she says she use to use the word, I say; why stop now Baptist woman?

Denise

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “PAULA DEEN AND THE WORD NIGGER 101

  1. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog!
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  2. You have a lot of verses on forgiveness. Judging by your article, it doesn’t seem like you have forgiven Paula Deen. If someone ask for forgiveness, like she has, then as Christians we are to forgive her. Read the main verse you have posted in “forgiveness scripture”.

    1. Deen’s fall from public grace stems less from a lack of charitableness, than the widespread perception that she has been insincere (aka, shedding crocodile tears). And even scripture points out that true “forgiveness” has its “requirements” (including confession, sincerity, and repentance… among other qualities she has failed to demonstrate).

      1. We should be sincere when we confess our sins to Jesus Christ and then repent from those sins but those are not the conditions for forgiving other people. I would like for you to read an article that sums it up perfectly. Go to christianity.about.com type in the word “forgiveness” in the search and then scroll down to the first article link titled
        “What the Bible says about forgiveness”. We don’t have to condone what the person has done in order to forgive them but we need to let God handle the injustice and he will hence “you reap what you sew”. I’m am reading a book right now called “Jesus Freaks”. Talk about the ultimate forgiveness, these martyrs pray for and forgive the very people who torture them and or execute them. They don’t wait for the ones who persecute them to confess and repent first. I’m guilty of not always showing the type of forgiveness that I should but it’s something I need to work on as a Christian.

        1. Thank you. I will go to that site. And I do struggle sometimes with true forgiveness I guess. I’m a work in progress. Thanks for redirecting me.

    2. I guess I’m an odd Christian because I don’t just select scripture that appeases or releases one from intentionally hurting others. Also, I forgave Paula Deen and all the other racists a long time ago, but that does not mean I’ve forgotten the atrocities my people endured and are still enduring as a result of it. The bible is around today because knowing history is important. You can forgive someone and face facts at the same time. For black people this issue is bigger than forgiving Paula Deen for supposedly saying the word nigger a long time ago. Like you’re pointing out the main verse I posted in forgiveness scripture, please take a moment and read scriptures in your bible which address; reaping what you sew.

  3. Thanks for what seems to be a fair and even-handed black perspective on the issue (or at least so it seems to this geezer white guy… lol)! Though I live in NorCal now, I still have a lot of relatives in the South. And while I don’t think all, or even most Southerners are of the ‘racist’ persuasion these days, I do get the idea that so much of the problem still openly persists down there because of the sort of ‘cavalier’ and casually insensitive attitudes represented by folks like the Deens.

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