…so over the past week we’ve watched our local Southern Culinary Queen get trashed by the media for something she said decades ago, and losing her TV shows and sponsorships because she told the truth about saying the “N-word” back in the time of our country when saying the “N-word” was permitted and not given a second thought.
If we understand this correctly (from what we’ve garnered from all the media reports, so consider our sources here in case we are erroneous), because she said this dreaded word thirty or forty years ago she has lost her social standing today. Wow. A legal deposition in a lawsuit was leaked to the public and now she’s been punished for telling the truth. What would have happened if she said, “No, I never said the ‘N-word’ even though every other Southerner in existence around me was saying it during the 1960s, I was a saint and never said that word at any time.” No doubt she would have been called a liar because back then Americans with severe pigment lack (i.e., “whites”) called those with abundant pigmentation (“blacks”) the “N-word”. There was no way she was going to win.
Half of our writing team grew up right here in Beaufort at a time when the pigmentation-abundant were called that word by the pigmentation-deficient… that was the culture, before the hyphenated descriptive “African-American” was ever conceived. The other half of our writing team grew up traveling across the country every couple years thanks to the U.S. Navy, and heard many other “Capital Letter-words” besides “N”.
So, we’ll save you the time of asking both of us the question, “Did you ever say the ‘Capital-Letter word?”
We don’t remember. We don’t have eidetic memories. One of us remembers the first time going outside barefoot and immediately stepping on a bee. The other remembers playing with a pigment-advantaged child in a tree outside the house in spite of the standard practice of that time. Those kind of memories stick with you. But saying a “Capital-Letter word”… hell, we don’t remember. We probably did, seeing as how we were both growing up during those years and that was how we learned to talk. We probably also told Polish jokes, Irish jokes (Jack, by the way, loves Irish jokes, and he’s Irish-descent… but not Irish-American; that’s a subject for another blog), Italian jokes, Indian jokes, Alabama jokes, Kentucky jokes… so, we admit we probably did those things but don’t remember any details. But neither of us has said anything bad to anyone our entire adult lives, and our first careers had us working with men and women of all nationalities and races and all were treated with the respect we all deserve. But does possibly saying a “Capital-Letter word” four decades ago mean that our books will now be banned by the public? Will you stop following us when we write entertaining blogs or emotion-provoking blogs because we might have said something that was culturally accepted then, but have never said such a thing in our adult lives? Even worse, could the possibility of having said a “Capital-Letter word” in our youths cost us our lay ministry positions in our respective churches?
Can any of you swear on a Bible that you never said a disrespectful thing, especially a dreaded “Capital-Letter word”, to anyone your entire lives? If you say you never said a “Capital-Letter word”, we won’t believe you. If you say you never said a racist thing at any time during your lives, we won’t believe you. Unless you grew up isolated in a bomb shelter or secluded desert island, you grew up exposed to the culture of the times and emulated same so as to fit in with your peers.
If you believe Paula Deen is racist and deserves to lose everything because of one word said before most of her peers and media judges were born, you probably also believe that the IRS is the most saintly organization in the federal government and never primarily targeted conservative organizations seeking tax-free status for audits and scrutiny.
I’m pulling out my Paula Deen frying pan to use for cooking dinner tonight. Signing off for now, gotta go buy more butter… Paula Deen brand, of course…