Paula Deen admits to using the n-word, but only for "bad" black people

I've always loathed her. Now you can too, based on what the press has dug up in a court deposition just now made public.

I grew up in the South, and I know all about "not racist" white people who use that racist slur against black people, but "only the bad ones." Guess what. Those white people are racists.

Some pretty great Twitter jokes coming out of this one, though. And American shitrag National Enquirer says they have video.

Here's the court transcript. And HuffPo picked out the awful bits and served them up on top of an SEO-optimized plate of warm grits and butter. Enjoy, y'all!

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          1. Another frightening clip, this time of Paula and Oprah: http://youtu.be/zb4vhJaX1hw

    1. Easy, I had the benefit of not knowing who the fuck Paula Deen was until I read this. I could have died happy having never learned this individual existed.

      1. I don’t believe you. Even of you don’t have a TV. Her creepy plastic face is plastered on half the magazines at the check out rack of the grocery store as well zillions of food and kitchen products. 

        1. Haven’t had a TV since 2001. Successfully ignore pictures of people in checkout lines and other memetic pollution (but will happily droll over the food porn). Somewhat avid amateur chef myself, but I haven’t noticed that many kitchen utensils or appliances have people on them. Get most of my non-original recipes online, where there are usually ad banners I ignore. All of which is to say that there are many many pieces of spam that intersect my vision without notice or memory. Perceptual filtering FTW!

        2. I’m from Georgia, and I didn’t really know who she was until I took a trip to Savannah a couple of years ago with a choral group, and half of the people I was there with wanted to go to her restaurant for dinner.

          1. I don’t know. There is not 1% of me that is at all interested in any sport but I have a working knowledge of most sports and could probably list the names of a bunch of famous atheletes. Somehow, useless information just gets in there. Maybe I am wired differently. I would have thought that Paula Dean was famous enough to be a household name whether people were interested in what she does or not.

          2. I never heard of her until the ‘ludes meme. But I don’t watch television and try to stare straight ahead when I’m in the check-out line at the grocery store.

        3. I nvr heard of her b4 her previous appearance on either BB or kottke or something like that a year ago or something. She’s pretty Wal-Mart, and despite what many think it is possible to get outside that headspace completely, deliberately.

  1. She said that the man she referred to was holding a gun to her hear during a bank robbery. Coincidentally, that was the only black man she’s ever met.

  2. My email to the Food Network …

    “Cancel any and all programming featuring Paula Deen as host, co-host,
    guest or other appearance. Having a racist as part of your network is
    extremely offensive and enough to keep me and my family from watching
    any of your shows. I will be urging my friends, neighbours and
    co-workers to do the same.”

    1. Hear hear!  Thank you for doing that-these kinds of emails really make a difference- a couple hundred and she’s gone I’d wager.  

      1. LOL, a couple of hundred.  She control an empire that makes millions for Food Network. The delusional powers of the slacktivist. 

  3. I’m guilty.  I use the phrase “white trash”.  But only for people like Paula Deen. 

  4. Wow. I B4 some one says “saying that Southerners are racist is racist” here.

    The more she says about it the worse it becomes. And also… Xeni, I had no idea you grew up in the South!

    1. It’s only racist if you assume all or only southern whites are racist. Saying that saying Southern whites can be racist is racist would be racist, because it posits that Southern whites can’t be racist, when in fact being Southerner or white have nothing to do with whether or not someone can be racist.

      1. It’s only racist if you assume all or only southern whites are racist.

        Even that wouldn’t be racist. Prejudiced yes, but racist, no.

        1. I was under the impression that racism is prejudice based on race. Whites are socially classified* as a race, no?

          Logically, if one assumes only Southern whites can be racist, then the corollary follows that anyone who is not a Southern white cannot be racist. So even if racism is more narrowly defined as prejudice based on race other than white, it’s still prejudice towards non-whites to assume only Southern whites to be capable of racism, as it assumes that what makes non-whites incapable of being racist is not being white. Essentialism by any other name would smell as foul.

          *Using this construction because race is an (absurd) social contrivance for which I know of no scientific basis.

          1. So if I’m reading you right, now you’ve switched to saying we should all be colorblind?

            No, absolutely incontrovertibly no. I’m saying we should recognize that the effects are not actually the result of people having different skin tones (or any of the other totally arbitrary criteria that get used to categorize race), but rather the result of unquestioned cultural and institutional biases. Ignoring the existence of those biases is the last thing we should do. Ascribing them to innate characteristics is what needs to stop, both because its irrational and because it’s the very sustenance on which bigotry thrives, IMHO.

            Funny how often even articulate and apparently intelligent white people insist that everyone should ignore the social realities of race just because it doesn’t scientifically, technically exist.

            Not so articulate that I didn’t clearly convey what I meant to say. But the backhanded compliment is sincerely appreciated, especially since, going by what you thought I was advocating, it was generous, and I take responsibility for the clarity, or lack thereof, in my writing.

        2. @boingboing-f1143e86b0f718851b742e7b0a1c5fe5:disqus Racism is prejudice + power. That’s incredibly simplified, of course. There is a lot of information you can find online about this. I’d be happy to help, just ask, but you can probably google just as easy as I can. :)

          But, seriously, calling a white person “cracker” is not racist. That’s just absurd. It could be considered prejudiced, sure, but racist? No.

          1. Thank you for your answer. I’m under no illusions that it’s your job, or anyone else’s, to explain what people mean, and any willingness to do so is duly appreciated.

            FWIW, I’ve researched various types of bigotry, including racism. While these researches are often informative, there seem to be in circulation many definitions of the various salient -isms, making it confusing precisely what is meant when there is any ambiguity.

            Here’s how I think of it. There’s individual-level -ism, which anyone can do to anyone, and then there’s institutional-level -ism, which has an institutional bias. One is internal to the person doing it, and the other is embedded in the social landscape. Calling someone a “cracker” would be an example of the former, but lacks the cultural cachet of the latter, and thus, while still racist, isn’t institutionally racist, and thus isn’t amplified by the downhill potential energy that accrues to using the N-word. That is, it’s still prejudice based on race, but isn’t privileged by the inegalitarian terrain.

            It seems to me – and this is only my opinion which, like assholes, everyone has and some (possibly mine included) are full of shit – that, while one is more harmful than the other, both are bad because they both reinforce the essentialist biases that promulgate institutional-level -ism. And, if we are ever to be rid of the institutional-level -isms, it seems, to me at least, that we must stop believing that race delimits individual thoughts. To be clear, as a white male, I don’t personally care if people call me cracker. I do hope people recognize that the artificial categorization of race doesn’t determine what anyone can think or believe.

          2. lacks the cultural cachet of the latter

            Is “cultural cachet” a euphemism for a history of lynching, police brutality and murder, and systematic oppression, discrimination and degradation?

          3. So if I’m reading you right, now you’ve switched to saying we should all be colorblind?

            Yes, race is a fiction. But its effects — racism, that is, de facto white supremacy — are real. So to call for colorblindness is to call for active ignorance of race’s ongoing, abusive, and wide-scale effects. Funny how often even articulate and apparently intelligent white people insist that everyone should ignore the social realities of race just because it doesn’t scientifically, technically exist.

          4. Saying that racism is “prejudice + power” isn’t simplifying anything. It’s making it more complicated.

            Racism is the formation of a belief based upon race. You can expound upon that forever but that’s exactly what the word means: race + ism. If you judge a person based solely on their race, you are a racist, no matter what your arbitrarily determined amount of power might be, or whatever scheme you come up with to quantify that abstract concept.

            And racism is a type of prejudice. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

        3. So if I’m reading you right, now you’ve switched to saying we should all be colorblind?

          No, absolutely incontrovertibly no. I’m saying we should recognize that the effects are not actually the result of people having different skin tones (or any of the other totally arbitrary criteria that get used to categorize race), but rather the result of unquestioned cultural and institutional biases. Ignoring the existence of those biases is the last thing we should do. Ascribing them to innate characteristics is what needs to stop, both because it’s irrational and because it’s the very sustenance on which bigotry thrives, IMHO.

          Funny how often even articulate and apparently intelligent white people insist that everyone should ignore the social realities of race just because it doesn’t scientifically, technically exist.

          Not so articulate that I didn’t fail to clearly convey what I meant to say. But the backhanded compliment is sincerely appreciated, especially since, going by what you thought I was advocating, it was generous, and I take responsibility for the clarity, or lack thereof, in my writing.

  5. At least now I don’t have to feel bad that I never went to her restaurant when I was living in Savannah.

    1. Did you feel bad before? Why?

      I don’t think any locals go there. It always sounded extremely naff to me. One trip to Mrs Wilkes’ was enough of that sort of restaurant for me.

      1. I always knew it was mostly a tourist thing, but there’s nothing wrong with doing touristy stuff once in a while even if you’re a local. To use Antinous’ example: I don’t go to Fisherman’s Wharf very often but as a San Francisco resident I’d feel kind of silly if I’d never been there, if only to see what the hubub was about.

        1. Watching tourists is, of course, a legitimate form of entertainment on its own merits. The Palm Springs Air Museum here is a particularly great venue for seeing demographics that you never knew existed, like Air Museum Fanatics and Bob Hope Groupies.

        2. Oh, I get that. I just wondered why you’d feel guilty about not going to her restaurant. Besides, in Savannah it’s pretty hard not to do touristy things; there isn’t a lot else to do.

      1. Sort of of, but with a much longer wait. I can’t tell you how the food compares since I never braved the crowd. Truth be told I hadn’t even heard of Deen when I first moved there.

    1. I just have to take the opportunity here to point out the Trinity of southern cuisine’: The Lard, Cheez-Its, and the Awly Spirit.

      1. The scrambled eggs seem a bit redundant considering you already have a protein, but I’d eat that (and have.)

        1.  Oh, that’s two separate dishes there. The chicken-fried steak in white
          gravy would most likely be served with lima beans, butter beans, or
          green beans (of course, with bacon bits). Don’t forget the biscuits!

  6. >I know all about “not racist” white people who use that racist slur against black people, but “only the bad ones.”
    As opposed to the north, where white people can pretend to not be racist since they’ve mostly confined black people to ghettos. If you look at the list of the most segregated cities in the US, the majority of them are in the north. (Plus Miami and LA, which are culturally north.) 

    1. Point granted.

      So how do Southern whites pretend that they’re not racist? Or do they instead just admit it among friends, family and close associates?

      1. I wouldn’t really say we pretend all that much.  I’ve never heard a white person call a black person the N word, reference them as it yes, but actually say it to them, no.  There is still plenty of racial tension in many/most parts of the South.

        1. In Waco someone started a conversation with me with the line “Do you have black people in England?”, then asked me if they were lazy over there too, finishing with “I fucking hate n*****s”. Real charmer.

          1. I was in North Dakota this past summer, antique store owner came up and said “do you want to hear my n*****r story? It’s not racist, it’s a good n*****r story”. Ain’t a south thing only, people suck all over.

          2. I never have found racist jokes funny.  Not because they are offensive, but because they just don’t seem funny.

            I’ve got a great one about Amish Rednecks though.

          3.  @boingboing-0a55a97c5572926f31625e8d55da52e9:disqus
            Because they aren’t “jokes” really, just mean-spirited, cheap attacks. Comedy doesn’t really work when you’re attacking the marginalized, or the “little guy” or somebody less privileged than you. Of course that doesn’t stop a lot of “comedians” from trying, and a lot of teens and angry white grown up men from liking them.

          4. The only rules that I ever had for evaluating a joke was A) is it funny and B) does it incite hatred or violence. Once upon a time, comedians would walk out on stage and just flip a limp wrist and invoke the name Bruce. It wasn’t funny; it was just homophobic. Men On Films, on the other hand, was hugely popular in the gay community because it was hilarious, even though it used every imaginable gay stereotype.

          1. It’s long been a popular myth that California is “liberal”. Outside of a few liberal urban areas (enclaves) it’s pretty right wing and redneck.

          2. Or right wing and nearly oblivious to the rest of the world – southern Orange County from around Mission Viejo down to the county line (San Onofre area – waiting for a Boing Boing post about that!).

      1. Perhaps that you can’t get decent sweet tea there?  I know it is true for miami at least.

    2. Savannah, where Paula Deen lives, is extremely segregated. The city tries to pretend that only the Historic District (as seen in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) exists.

      IIRC she lives out on the islands in one of the white flight gated communities.

    3. As a Midwesterner and former resident of Birmingham, Ala., I would like to point out that alexkrupp is sort of right and sort of wrong. 

      Sort of right in the context that it’s stupid and hypocritical for the rest of the country to pretend that racism is only something that happens in the South (and is only something that happens when people are saying the N word or wearing white hoods around or something). There is racism all over this great nation. 

      Sort of wrong in that the cities of the South are INSANELY segregated. And that segregation was made all the more obvious by the fact that there were a lot more black people. It’s one thing to not see many non-white people in a small town in Kansas where there are not many non-white people. It’s another thing entirely to look up one day and realize that you’re in a city with a huge black community and haven’t seen a black person in a week. Birmingham had separate white and black gay pride events, for god’s sake. I ran into blatant, open racism at meetings of the goddam Human Rights Campaign. 

        1. No, it was more like, white gay pride activists made racist jokes and racist allusions and then were all butthurt and confused about why black gay pride activists didn’t want to hang out with them. 

          1. And the Log Cabiners wonder why nobody likes them. Not straight enough for the GOP, too classless to hang around with decent people.

          2. There’s certainly a very unfortunate history of turning away “undesirable elements” within the LGBT community. Historically, pride events were run by volunteer steering committees, who were free to act out their prejudices. It’s not like a segment of the underclass had much legal recourse when they experienced discrimination.

    4.  It was only a matter of time before the Southern apologists showed up. Funny that those ghettos are filled with people that fled The South as well as their descendents.

  7. I cannot stand Paula Deen but every time I see her face I’m reminded of the few times I saw Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner of Big Boys/Cargo Cult/Swine King in full on drag. He was wonderful, she is not… but i’m reminded of wonderful every time i see her.

  8. No link to the video if her getting hit in the face with a ham? I am disappointed

    youtube.com/watch?v=5ljfeinduEs

  9. Fuck tha moderator
    Comin hard to enforce the status quo
    Boingboing whiter than snow geese in snow
    Better stay in line don’t make a joke
    Moderator got authority to shut down a minority

    Fuck that shit cause I ain’t the drudge
    For a punk motherfucker with a mouse and a grudge
    To be deleted and shut down
    We could go on for days, hypersensitive clown.

    1. I would.

      Why not use “asshole” instead, if you must use an anatomical reference to register your disgust?

      1. Well, I wouldn’t actually use it (it really is a harsh word), but if anyone deserves it, it’s her.

        1. Yeah, see, the problem isn’t that it’s harsh. The problem is that it attacks her for being a woman instead of, well, an asshole. It’s not non-sexist to only use the C-word for “bad” women.

          1. Makes sense to me, and of course it wouldn’t make sense if I called her a prick.  ; )  Seriously though, point taken, and I appreciate your non-shrill response.

          2. “I appreciate your non-shrill response”.

            Shrill?  Really?

            Yeah, that’s not sexist at all.
            Wait, am I being shrill? Oh, dear, me!

          3. AAAAHHHHH!!! I honestly wasn’t trying to be indecent. In fact, I hadn’t even looked at your user name, so I had no idea what your gender was. Trust me, men can be shrill too. But honestly, my comment wasn’t meant to be gender-biased. My apologies.

          4. That insult is also typically gender-specific. It’s used a ton by right-wing radio show hosts against Hillary Clinton, for example, along with “naggy”, both of which are not reflected in her voice, ever.

          5. It’s time for me to bow out of this discussion thread. I’m not as lacking in respect for people as I’m turning out to appear here. Sorry for any misinterpretation of my intended meaning.

      2. I think that his point was that it’s not okay to use a slur just because you’re pissed off at somebody.

          1. Then why not use enema-bag?
            Douchebag is evocotive of the female anatomy, and thus gendered. Enema’s are used by both genders, and yet enema-bag is not an insult… why is that?

          2. I don’t think you read what I had to say. Douches are hostile to the female anatomy. Enemas have legitimate medical use.

  10. I live in the ‘hood and hear a lot of black people use the N-word, as in “After this snow, there’ll be a lot of n…….s sliding around tomorrow.” Are they racist? 

    1. You’re making me wish there was a dislike button. Two different words with a common (relatively recent) origin, slightly different constructions, and totally different meanings. They’re not even in the same dialect of English.

    2. No, but you are for complaining that you’re not allowed to use the word.

      Learn some context for life, language,and culture and you won’t come off such an off-putting moron.

    3. If you live in “the ‘hood” and don’t understand how marginalized people have taken over slurs that have been traditionally used against them, then life for you in the ‘hood’ must be a major challenge for you..

  11. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to see a celebrity go down in flames. You are going to dump her shows, right Food Network?

    I have spent a lot of time in the south. NOBODY talks like that. The forced “y’alls and the bizarre plastic face and teeth have been creeping me out for years. 

    1.  Very doubtful that Food Network will drop her shows…unless, of course, they stop making money. This is huge publicity for them and all they have to do is say that they have no control over how their show hosts act in private. Now, since everyone will be watching and waiting for her to screw up on her show, viewer numbers will go up. Win-win for Food Network.

      Yeah, I’m sorta cynical.

      1. Actually, surprise of surprises, they just announced they won’t be renewing her contract.

    2. Pretty convenient for her though, all she needs to have a perfect Life Mask fall off of her face is a good slap

  12. As one of the good black people, I always find it interesting that people still are surprised and get up in arms about these things. People are racist, every which way and you go with what you know (Daddy called him a N… so I guess it’s ok). I think the only thing that can reduce it, is social interaction (which a lot of ppl are resistant to, because ppl fear the unknown). And children, kids love the world, until they’re jaded by views and ideals that are presented to and pushed upon them.

    If Paula Deen feels a certain way about people so bet it. What the hell do I care? I don’t know her from a hole in the wall, and realistically the idea that because she’s on the Food Net, she can’t have views an opinions, which weren’t technically public is just silly.

    Water is wet and people are racist.

    1. Not just racist, but -ist in other ways when other people “aren’t like me.” Race, religion, weight, height, hair color (kill the gingers!!!), nationality, sex, age, disability, preference, orientation, experience, occupation, language, family background, educational level…

      And that’s just me!  ; )

      Seriously though, I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of our -ist tendencies completely. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, but I have a feeling it goes much deeper than that, possibly into what’s encoded in our DNA. (Although I hope that’s not the case.) Regardless of how deep our -ist tendencies run, the existence of such isn’t the measure of a person, it’s how well the person overcomes it. At least that’s the way I see it.

      1.  I’ve always said, we will never unite as one race of humans, until we’re faced with an alien invasion/arrival. Whether or not that day ever comes who the hell knows. But that’s the kind’ve monumental shift it would take to have the light bulb turn on for people.

        1. I wonder if the little green men, er, beings get along… probably not with the little purple ones, I’d bet.  ; )

        2. Oh, please. The people who run the world now would cheerfully sell the rest of us to the aliens for meat.

  13. I always felt that she had the falsest smile I’ve ever seen. Not overly surprised to find out she’s less perfect in other areas.

  14. – “All men and women are created equally.”
    – “Such a beautiful thought! Mister… I didn’t catch your name.”
    – “Kogan.”
    – “Kogan, hmm… is that Jewish?”
    – “Oh no no no, God forbid.”

  15. *pre-emptive statement to make it clear that I am trying very hard not to make awkward statements in the following post, nor to be an apologist*

    So — mom was watching the Today show this morning, and they were lamenting the fact that Paula couldn’t appear to give her explanation of what’s been going on, citing exhaustion as the primary reason (I dunno, perhaps the fact that she’s a defendant in a court case might have something to do with it as well).

    Apparently, from the snippets I’ve gathered over the past couple of days, Paula states that she hasn’t used the word for a long time, and even then, only about *the bad ones*. So this brings me to a question —

    Hypothetical: At what point does an act become a thing of the past, and to what degree can it be overlooked, especially decades in the future, or within a historical context? Is there perhaps an unspoken *statute of limitations*? Does it require public repentance before one can move on, or is it enough to simply make the conscious decision to change one’s behavior? Or does it require a lifetime of repentance and public admission, like the legendary Saul/Paul transformation told of in the Bible?

    I don’t think there’s anyone in this world who can look back on their life and not regret some act they are guilty of, but for how long and to what degree are we to be held accountable? It’s definitely one thing to be a Nazi war criminal evading justice, and quite another to have cheated someone or even verbally assaulted a person. In law, a statute of limitations exists for a very good reason, but in the social contract that we have amongst ourselves, how long is too long? How long is not long enough?

    1. I’ll try. I used  to say “that’s gay” all the time. Where I grew up this is how most kids talked. Even gay kids. I actually never thought about it. I didn’t mean anything by it. Then one time a friend of mine said something as simple as “and by gay you mean awesome like me, right?” and that was it. I realized the word was a subtle way to put down not just people I never met, but people I had met and liked. People whose feelings I cared about. I don’t use the word like that anymore. It’s immature, unkind, and not needed. The end. It doesn’t matter about “good or bad” people. It’s just not worthwhile to use a word that is negative that describes a whole group of people as if I get to decide who among them. Are there people who could never forgive me? Maybe, but that is ok. What is important to me is that I KNOW better now, and don’t use the word so at least I KNOW I’m not insulting more people unintentionally.
      But I don’t really see her doing this, I see her justifying the use in certain terms which are under her discretion.

    2. like the legendary Saul/Paul transformation told of in the Bible?

      You mean the guy who turned nascent Christianity into a giant vengeful international corporation?

      But the answer to when it’s in the past is “when you’ve mad a sincere apology that demonstrates understanding of why it was a bad thing to say.” Which is phenomenally rare.

      1.  “You mean the guy who turned nascent Christianity into a giant vengeful international corporation?”

        You’re right. It is the perfect Disney script, isn’t it?

        I was trying to remember some story about a life spent in atonement, but yeah, bad example.

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