“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” Sir Isaac Newton – Scientist & Mathematician
What goes up – must come down…
This Paula Deen controversy is not just about the “N” word that refers to African-Americans in a demeaning way; but it also applies to the “F” word used as a negative description of homosexuals, the “K” word used in referencing people of Jewish backgrounds, The “S” word that is a contemptuous reference to those of Hispanic descent, the “C” word used negatively towards those of Chinese descent and poor white backgrounds, and on and on… The list is far too long – check it out for yourself [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs] and see if any of these slurs have parted your lips of late or at any time. All of this noise and jumping on the bandwagon – for or against Paula Deen – is a misuse of TV, radio and internet space and time, in my opinion, and is also a very convenient opportunity for political posturing. But hopefully there will be lessons learned from this — not just for Paula Deen, but for any of us with less than pure and respectful thoughts about others who may be different (in any way) from ourselves .
I am not a die-hard Paula Deen fan, and I have had no unkind thoughts about her up until now. I’ve always thought of her as very entertaining and her story of how she overcame depression and poverty is quite an impressive one. But there is a huge lesson that we can all learn from this particular indiscretion and moment of crass ignorance by Ms. Deen. The consequence has been monumental — it has now turned her life upside down. This is a simple lesson of The Law of Gravity. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – as in “what goes up – must come down”. This fall from grace has been a very hard one.
Words of disrespect, degradation, defamation are never acceptable — even in what may be thought of as just joking around. It is quite unfortunate when the consequence of any of our negative actions results in a reaction that is financially painful, publicly embarrassing and life changing. Ask anyone who has been fired for sexual harassment.
This Paula Deen incident made me think of the many times I have heard awful comments being made by co-workers, family members or friends and I was also guilty by allowing it to continue with my silence. This silence is also unacceptable.
Racism is very real for me. As an African-American I’ve lived with it every day of my life. My skin color is not going to change nor the feelings others may have about who and what black people represent. The Oprah Winfreys and Michael Jordons of the world may be less subject to the sting of racial hatred at this point in their lives because of their ‘Abundant Green’ or celebrity status akin to that of the pagan gods of ancient times. This god-like status seems to magically camouflage the fact that they are still black.
For those of us whose black ancestors were not only grossly mistreated, but also not even acknowledged as human beings, it is truly not a surprise to me that we can still, in 2013, be so disrespected. In some minds in this country we, as African-Americans, still fall below household pets in the hierarchy of positions in life.
America the beautiful? Not so – with so much ugliness and human disregard still in existence.
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