Racism and “Post-Racial America” part 1: When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong With Paula Deen

A lot of buzz is going around  about Paula Deen’s racial remarks  when she suggested a slavery themed wedding for her brother, in which everyone who is serving food be black to give the ambiance of an Antebellum plantation. Now, her show has been dropped, and she’s floating in the racist pool alone without a lifeguard in sight. paula deen

This ain’t her week.

And this is just weeks after Sergio Garcia’s comment to Tiger Woods about serving fried chicken. The parallels are way too uncanny to not link both events. Both were unrelentingly racist, unquestionably ignorant, and both people–Garcia and Deen–were scolded, their sponsors dropped, show cancelled, and were forced to make public statements against their behavior.

But that’s the problem with this sort of stuff: we scold the individual, and then just let it go (because everyone knows that the most effective way to fight racism is to make an individual repent for their behavior through an emotionless public apology!) I’m pretty sure Paula Deen has yet to verbally confirm she even said the N-word. It’s more like she’s apologizing for this coming to light and offending people, not on actually tossing around a hateful word like it’s a piece of candy.

It’s moments like these where we see how race is chosen to be brought up–only when its convenient. There’s an inconsistency with what is and is not tolerated in the realm of racism. If we call Deen and Garcia out, then lets acknowledge and start standing up against racism in all it’s manifestations. But before we do this, lets realize what exactly those manifestations are, and how they surface in ways we aren’t usually used to.

The press is able to acknowledge racism in its most obvious ways: when its overt, when its loud, and when it’s in our faces. With Deen and Sergio’s remarks, you cannot deny the racial undertone. When you make a direct link to slavery and blacks serving food, you are being a racist. When you make a joke about one of the only African-American golfers eating fried chicken,  you are being a racist. These are things we can all agree upon.

But when we only acknowledge racism when it is so open that we are left with no other choice but to confront it, then we aren’t really acknowledging the root causes for such behaviors, because we aren’t actually acknowledging the real forces at play that perpetuate racism. Yes, when racism is brought up, it should be acknowledged and addressed. But what about when race isn’t brought up? What about when race isn’t directly spoken of, but is still just as loud and obvious? What about racism in its silence?

We can tell Paula Deen and Sergio Garcia to apologize and then shut their mouths, but that doesn’t change what they think or feel, or how those other people in the same privileged circumstances as them view the world. It doesn’t change almost 50 schools being shut down in Chicago–impacting mostly black students–because they are seen as a burden. It doesn’t change the staggering statistics of blacks and mass incarceration. Paula Deen’s apology doesn’t change the fact that the NYPD intentionally stops people who look like me–people of color. It doesn’t change the fact that the future of equal educational opportunities have been presented to the Supreme Court and are under attack. Her statement doesn’t change the fact that whether or not race is or is not brought up, or if we choose to acknowledge racism or not, racism still exists. Racism still permeates so many different spaces in society. Racism still terrorizes people’s’ lives and makes people question their self-worth because it tells them the color of their skin makes them inferior to others. If you ask me does a tree really fall if no one is around to see it, I’m that guy that will tell you, “Yes, now clean up the mess, because we have a dead tree lying around somewhere.” That’s the type of mindset we need with racism.

Yes, we can confirm Paula Deen is a racist, but it seems like this dialogue is going to end right where it begins: nowhere.

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2 thoughts on “Racism and “Post-Racial America” part 1: When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong With Paula Deen

  1. I usually do not leave many comments, but i did a few searching and wound up here Racism and Post-Racial America part 1:
    When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong With Paula Deen | soul latte.

    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of the comments come across like they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online social sites, I’d like
    to follow anything new you have to post. Could you list of the complete urls of all your public sites like your
    twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • Hey,
      All the things I post are on this site, Soul Latte, you can actually follow this blog and stay up to date. Since this post, I have published 4 more articles. Check them out!

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