Paula Deen: Designated RacistPosted: June 23, 2013
Paula Deen, once the object of criticism and ridicule for her unhealthy food choices, is now being denounced and repudiated for her unhealthy ideas. Ms. Deen is now the US media’s Designated Racist, whose function is to demonstrate that racism still exists in this country, but it’s not us and we won’t tolerate it.
To be completely honest, I have no interest in Paula Deen. I don’t watch the Food Network. I don’t read her magazine or follow her on the internet. If she maintained a hostile work environment, as a former restaurant employee is charging in a lawsuit, she’ll pay a hefty penalty. If she has lost fans, as has been reported, she’ll get more. (Remember the people who rushed to the defense of Dr. Laura Schlesinger when she lost her radio show for using the “N-word” on air several time in a row, supposedly to make a point.) If she lost her show on the Food Network, as was reported this weekend, it’s no big deal. People have their shows cancelled all the time. If she indeed used (and uses) the N-word (that’s “nigger” for the uninformed), she’s not alone. It’s said everywhere. If you want to hear it, put on a rap album with explicit lyrics and count the times a Black role model lets the word – in its various intonations – gleefully trip off his tongue. If she enjoys creating anti-bellum settings for events, complete with happy Black men in livery, she might find a spot as one of the History Channel’s history misrepresenters.
When I say that Paula Dean is the media’s Designated Racist, I mean that she has been called out, shamed, and demonized as the public face of racism in the US. We can return to the delusion that the US media are strongly opposed to racism in all of its forms and are constantly vigilant lest it be expressed anywhere with their domain.
Never mind that Donald Trump conducted a long-running racist campaign of slander against the first Black president of the US. His “Apprentice” show went ahead as planned, with Black celebrity has-beens and never-weres climbing over each other to kiss his gold-plated behind while he sent investigators to Hawaii to prove that President Obama wasn’t born in the USA. Never mind that the networks have continued the nonstop replacement of one White male former comic with another as hosts of the late night celebrity PR tour. Never mind that there never has been, and probably never will be, a Black “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette,” and it is most unlikely that any token Black contestant will ever make it far enough to be considered a possible “winner” of the degradation derby. Never mind that “Psych” completed a 7th successful season (and will no doubt go on to an 8th) as a modern “Charlie Chan” mystery with Dulé Hill cast in the role of Mantan Moreland’s “Birmingham Brown.” Never mind that there are no Black actors in significant roles on the new network shows, except as the eponymous disabled lawyer in the remake of “Ironside,” another try for Andre Braugher – this time as a NY police officer in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – and a new series from Tyler Perry. (I guess the burden of our race’s success in mainstream media rests on Kerry Washington’s slender shoulders.)
Never mind the subtle yet persistent expressions in the media of White superiority and Black irrelevance. Paula Deen has been declared this summer’s Designated Racist. She has been driven from the popular culture village with a scarlet “R” pinned to her apron and taken with her the sins of all of us who accept the status quo without complaint. We are now free to resume our normal hypocrisy.