For the past couple of weeks, you haven’t been able to turn on the TV without hearing talk about celebrity chef Paula Deen. Although she is usually in the news because of her love of love of butter and disturbingly gluttonous recipes, this time Deen is all over the place because she is accused of being a racist.
After a deposition became public in which Deen admitted to using the “n word” on multiple occasions, the media, fans, and people all over the world flooded the country cook with hateful ridicule. Mrs. Deen was immediately dropped by the Food Network with whom she has been working for over eleven years. Even after a heartfelt video apology, she was dropped by sponsors including Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and QVC.
While many believe Deen isn’t remorseful for her actions, others are standing by her side through the thick and thin. In a tearful interview on the Today Show, Paula Deen begged for forgiveness saying, “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me,” (referencing John 8:7).
Not to diminish the horrible thing Paula Deen said, but is this situation truly as bad as it’s being portrayed in the media? Every day, other celebrities who, to be frank, aren’t white women are doing and saying much worse. Yet, absolutely no attention is being drawn to them.
In February 2012, Samuel L. Jackson gave an “n word” plagued interview to Ebony magazine about President Obama. “When it comes down to it, they wouldn’t have elected a [bleep]. Because, what’s a [bleep]? A [bleep] is scary. Obama ain’t scary at all. [Bleeps] don’t have beers at the White House. [Bleeps] don’t let some white dude, while you in the middle of a speech, call [him] a liar. A [bleep] would have stopped the meeting right there and said, ‘Who the [bleep] said that?’ I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, ‘cuz he ain’t gotta worry about getting re-elected.”
Shortly after calling President Obama “Our Lord and Savior,” Jamie Foxx was quoted saying, “I get to kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?” while promoting his gore-galore movie Django Unchained.
Just earlier this month, famed rapper Lil Wayne tramped all over an American flag ironically for the music video of his new song “God Bless America.”
Last week after his wife was accused by a Daily Mail reporter of texting during late actor James Gandolfini’s funeral, Alec Baldwin took to Twitter to attack the journalist. In his profanity laced remarks, Baldwin made crude homophobic jokes.
Did any of these people get kicked off the radio, TV, or big screen? Did any of these people lose all of their sponsors? Did any of these people get attacked by haters all of the world? Did any of these people get blasted by the media?
The answer is no.
So why are people paying so much attention to the actions of a white woman from the south, but ignoring the arguably worse actions of black men? Is it okay for them to use the “n word” because they are black? Is it okay for them to joke about killing white people because of our countries dark past?
Again, the answer is no.
It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, yellow, red, purple, blue, or green! Any of the actions listed above should not be condoned or ignored.
There is no denying that pop culture is one of the biggest influences on people today. When a 13-year-old kid hears Drake say the “n word” in his songs, they are going to think it’s okay. When Samuel L. Jackson rants about how the only thing that matters in electing a President is his race, that promotes ignorance and racial tension.
Don’t judge Paula Deen while you turn the other cheek for people who do the same exact thing (or worse). If you are going to hold a white woman to certain standards, hold everyone to it.
Originally written for A New Voice.
Follow Julia Porterfield on Twitter @JK_Porterfield.