*A federal judge dismissed the racial discrimination lawsuit filed against her, but Paula Deen has not been exonerated. The suit was tossed on a technicality, leaving the stain of the Southern cooking queen’s racially offensive remarks unwashed.
Paula Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, were sued by their former restaurant manager, Lisa Jackson, who accused the pair of sexual harassment and discrimination against African-American employees. But because Jackson is white she lost her legal bid. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore ruled, quote: “There are no allegations that defendant Hiers’s racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her.” Judge Moore concluded that Lisa Jackson was, at best, “an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination.”
So, the judge did not rule that there was no racial discrimination at Paula Deen’s restaurant; he simply said that Lisa Jackson was not the target. The court ruling in no way invalidates Lisa Jackson’s claim that Deen and Hiers made racist remarks, including Deen’s alleged use of the n-word while talking about a Antebellum plantation themed party.
Of course Paula Deen claims that she only said that wretched n-word once, and that it was years and years ago when she was agitated after being threatened during an armed robbery. Personally, I don’t believe her. Deen’s explanations and tearful apologies had the look, sound and feel of a carefully orchestrated, self-serving PR maneuver that was less about contrition than it was about damage control and portraying Deen as a victim.
But her utterance of the foulest of anti-black slurs is actually not the most offending thing that Paula Deen has done. Even worse than her calling us by the n-word was Deen’s claim last October (during a videotaped New York Times Q&A) that Southern whites treated black people “like family” during slavery and Jim Crow.
I find it impossible to attribute such an outrageous statement to simple ignorance. It reflects a deliberate insensitivity to the horrific reality of a racist system that kept human beings in bondage and denied them all human rights and human dignity on the basis of their being black.
By claiming that our ancestors were treated like family by their white overlords, Paula Deen defiled the graves of our forebears who suffered unspeakable horrors under a sinful system of white supremacy. When she opened her mouth to make that horrendous claim, Deen made herself part of a disgraceful (and perhaps conspiratorial) effort to hide the cruelty of slavery and racial discrimination, replacing the grim, undisputable facts with rosy falsehoods and wicked lies about white benevolence.
That was even worse than when she called us niggers.
Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.