Well, well, well. The fried chickens have come home to roost, have they not?
By now, everyone knows that the [ETA: FORMER] Food Network star just might be a big ole' bigot who thinks plantation-themed weddings are charming and the "N" word is an appropriate thing for a 66-year-old Southern White woman to say…well, the word was made for someone like her, wasn't it? I digress.
I'd be lying if I said I were surprised that Deen dreamed of being served by Black men dressed like servants and liked tossing around the word 'n*gger.' I'm sure someone will call that reverse racism but I won't waste the brain cells to pretend such an argument is worth considering (though if you are interested in sampling a Jambalaya of pathetic "The real racists are the ones calling Paula 'racist'!" logic, go hang out on her Facebook page).
Deen bailed on a Today Show appearance where she was to, um, clarify (?) her words, citing "exhaustion." To be fair, getting dragged up and down the streets of Black Twitter would tire anyone out, let alone an elderly person. #PaulasBestDishes was better than anything she served up in a cast iron skillet sprinkled with bacon drippings and slave tears, I'm just saying.
This story would be incomplete without the requisite Black friend caping up and saying that Deen can't be racist because she's got Black employees. Hi there, Pastor Tyson. How many bacon-wrapped chicken wings are worth your soul?
SHE BEGGIN', Y'ALL!
In the second video, she offers this: "The pain has been tremendous that I have caused myself and others…I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is trying to say we are…the color of your skin…does not matter to me…I am here to say I am so sorry…there is no excuse. I offer my sincere apology to those I have hurt…." Blah, blah, blah. The waaaaaaahhhhhmbulance came in about ten seconds before it ended, because what is a sincere apology without some dry tears?
This caption accompanied the video: "After spending all day soul searching and trying to figure out how to deal with what I did, I recorded a video trying to do the right thing. In the end, Ifelt (sic) that I needed to just be myself, say I am sorry and beg for frogiveness. (sic)" [NOTE: The errors have since been fixed.]
Frogiveness. She spent all day soul searching and couldn't be bothered with a spell check. Or, perhaps, she wants the people with Afros to forgive her. Alas, she hit nearly every note predicted in today's #PaulaDeenApologyBingo game.
I don't doubt that Miss Lady has Black friends or employees that she loves—but I bet you dollars to butter-iced donuts that she doesn't use that word around them.
Some brothers and sisters are more than happy to forgive and/or forget blatant racism when the person who has committed the offense apologizes (AKA "does the absolute very least a human being can do after they've been outed as a racist"). Not I, said the cat. You see, Deen's words have simply revealed to us just who she is—someone from whom I would never purchase a pot or pan, someone whose show I will not watch again, someone who will never sell me any deep-fried butter pie in this lifetime or the next. And I would imagine that a good number of people of all races are having the same reaction to her words right now, faux contrition or not. At least, I hope so.
It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks and at nearly seven decades old, I don't see her changing her ways, nor caring to do so. She may have destroyed her television career (and that of her sons'), but she can live comfortably from what she's earned to date and she's at retirement age. Alas, one or two nights of losing sleep because a million dollar empire is at stake does not equal the level of "soul searching" required to undo whatever brings a woman of nearly 70 to chirp "Of course" when asked about using the word 'n*gger.' You aren't telling me that she only became aware of the hurtful nature of her words/interest in slavery-themed weddings this week.
No, Paula Deen didn't give a slab of bacon about words and images and history that hurt Black people and she only cares now because it's going to cost her some money. Period. Dot. You don't accidentally say 'n*gger,' you don't accidentally fancy slavery…so why are you apologizing? Take the pseudo-hurt and keep it moving, ma'am. Retire. Roll around in your money and sell your fried chicken to the real Ameruuuuuricans who feel you did nothing wrong. Or take the time to seriously understand why your behavior has hurt, offended and/or disappointed people.
Enough with the "I'm sorry I got caught" apologies. And with the people who chomp at the bit to accept them. Please join me in telling Paula Deen to take her deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, cheese-covered 'sorry' out of here.
PS: I am exercising restraint and not making a joke about her having one of the the Blackest ailments ever. I won't go there. Nope.
Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com.