What Have you Done? – A Letter to Paula Deen

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dear Paula,

What have you done?

What do should we do now?

You have been beloved for so many years by so many people! People all over this great country have fallen in love with your laugh, your personality, and your family. You have made so many of us feel so much more comfortable with butter, heavy cream, and the deep fat fryer. You inspired us and given us the confidence to cook and bake comfort food like the citizens of the South. For that, we are grateful.

But…

When you make comments like that, and then admit to it in court, you are asking for trouble. Now more than ever, especially in the age of instant news and social media, you won’t be able to shake this. The Food Network, your sponsors, and so many others feel (or will feel) hamstrung and pressure to cut you loose.

So what is the right thing to do? What should you have done differently?

Well, a lot of people have gone their entire life without uttering that terrible word, so that would have been a place to start.  It is a despicable and horrible racial slur and shouldn’t be tolerated in any part of the country.  I, however, have lived in the Pacific Northwest, far removed from the culture of the deep South, and so although racism and bigotry are issues here, we probably haven’t been exposed to it at quite the same level as you probably have in Georgia, so I shouldn’t pretend I get it. But still…

Should you have lied in court? No, probably not a good choice either.

Is it fair that the Food Network and others are distancing themselves from you personally and professionally? That one seems a little tougher to answer because if I personally was held accountable for each thing I said that I shouldn’t have, I would probably not be able to work anywhere.

Look, I know people change. I honestly believe that. Contrary to what others say and think, people can change. I hope and pray that you have and I honestly believe you are sorry, and asking for forgiveness.

My only hope is that we all will be a little more careful (talking to myself here too) about what we say, how we say it, when we say it, and where it comes from.

We wish you the very best and we hope that your recover (am sure you will) very soon! Oh, and good luck with those diabetes commercials!

Respectfully,

Irish Mike Smith

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7 thoughts on “What Have you Done? – A Letter to Paula Deen”

  • Your tone is wrong…I guess my take on it is multifaceted. Did she use poor taste in her choice of words a long time ago? Yes. Did she do the right thing by telling the truth about it in court? Yes. Was it part of the “culture” of the time? Maybe, but still a poor choice of word. Having lived in the south when I was younger, I can say it truly is a part of the “way” there. It certainly doesn’t make it right but it just is. I was just in NYC and they for sure have their own way of life and culture that unless youve seen it and experienced it you cant understand it fully. She was a public figure and should know better for sure. But what I really don’t understand is why this is such a big deal after all these years? God help us all if we are held accountable for things we said years ago. She said she has apologized and made changes and I believe her. I do not believe she should have been fired for it from Food Network and think it is ridiculous it is even getting any attention on the news. Where is the outrage when rap singers us the “N” word and much much worse in their lyrics? They talk of horrific acts of violence against all races and cultures, women and children but there is no backlash. I have heard people of the same race call each other that and much worse in malls everywhere between here in sheltered WA state to Minnesota all the way to NYC without even getting a dirty look. Why is one person held to a different standard? It sounds to me like a person with a grudge that wanted to take her down and they sadly succeeded because we are a nation of double standards and hypocrisy. That’s MY take!

    • I really appreciate your comments here Michelle! There is a lot of hypocrisy in the media for sure. I too worry about my past “transgressions” regarding the things that I have said, and with the wrong tone and body language. It is too bad that there appears to be a double-standard, but in this day and age, it is now expected for companies and other sponsors to distance themselves from controversy. They don’t want bad news trailing them. Thank you for sharing!

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