Watching the Paula Deen controversy in the news the last few days has been a painful experience. There she is begging for forgiveness on You Tube. There is Matt Lauer asking her if she is a racist, and asking if her apology is all about damage control for her business interests. And then there are those business interests, hemorrhaging from the loss of endorsements, retail distribution through Wal-Mart, and at least one television contract.

paula deenSo what caused all this? It appears that the only thing that is clearly verifiable is Deen’s admission to using the “N-word” after being threatened by a black man in an attempted bank robbery some thirty years ago. She is currently being sued, along with her brother, for alleged racial and sexual discrimination against a former employee.

I don’t know whether Paula Deen is a racist or not. There is a sense in which it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s been accused of being a racist, and that she has admitted to committing what has become the new unforgivable sin: She used the “N-word”.

The charge of racism is an easy one to make and, once it’s made, nearly impossible to disprove. It’s a little like the charge of being a witch in Salem in 1692. If you admitted to witchcraft, you might be executed. If you denied you were a witch, once accused, you’d likely get executed anyway. And if you refused to make a plea, as did the unfortunate Giles Corey, you were punished with “an archaic form of punishment called peine forte et dure…” which resulted in Corey’s death after two days.

In addition to being extremely difficult to disprove, the charge of racism is one of the worst possible accusations that can be made against someone nowadays. Many would probably rather be called a liar or a thief than be called a racist. This is why we are seeing such a grave reaction from companies associated with Paula Deen’s brand. It isn’t that these companies are more morally pristine than the rest of us with regard to race. It’s because they are absolutely petrified by the prospect that a brand they promote may get permanently tagged with racism.

There is much more to be said about all of this, but suffice it to say that we should be alarmed at how little it takes for someone’s person and livelihood to be trashed so quickly. And there is no statute of limitations on the new unforgivable sin.

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  1. I posted a comment here yesterday–it had to go through moderation for some reason, but hasn’t shown up. Hopefully it’s not lost in cyberspace. 🙂 I basically mentioned that Deen is about as vulgar as Rosie O’Donnell and has no one but herself to blame, and provided some details.

      1. It must have gotten eaten by the moderation machine. 🙂 I just submitted another reply to you here (which I saved a copy of at least), and again got the message that it had to go through moderation. Why do so many of my comments get tagged for moderation?

      2. Thanx. Whenever I submit comments from now on, I’ll make sure to save them first just to be safe. 🙂 Actually, that’s always a good idea with any Web site, because I’ve lost comments other places too.

      3. So I guess it did get lost in cyberspace then. 🙂 Anyway, my point was that saying the N-word in the past is the tip of the iceberg for Deen. She also allowed her brother to look at porn when working at their restaurant, etc. If she had more discretion and common sense, perhaps she would’ve never been sued, and no one would have ever found out about her using the N-word. Even if she’s not being fired for all the right reasons, her language/behavior in some of her videos is so foul-mouthed and pornographic that she should’ve gotten fired years ago. Yes, PC has gotten out of control, and I despise that. But I don’t feel the least bit sorry for Deen, who seems to be merely reaping what she’s sown.

        Let’s look at it this way: If Obama or Hillary Clinton got axed for having used the N-word in the past, how many of us would really care??? LOL.

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