The Food Network has announced that they will not be renewing the contract of Paula Dean that expires at the end of this month. She has been fired. The Food Network is a private business and they can hire and fire people at will. That is their prerogative. But the reason they did it was the mansy pansy politically correct world we have found ourselves living in.
Dean is being sued by a white woman who is claiming that she was exposed to a hostile work environment. Now, I at one time worked at this non-profit who gave us training on hostile work environments often. I think I had to sit through that seminar four times in the two years that I worked there. Like most federal laws there are too broad and far too encompassing to my taste. Virtually anything can be an offense under these laws. The woman says that there was porn passed around in the back of the house in the restaurant and their were people who used racial slurs. Unless I am mistaken, the lawsuit doesn't claim that Paula Dean herself used those slurs, just that employees did and nothing was done to stop the behavior.
During a deposition that was taken in May, Paula Dean was asked the question if she has ever used the N word. She said yes and relayed a story about a private conversation that she had in her HOME with her husband that took place in 1986. At the time she was working in a bank. A black man came into that bank, pointed a gun at her head and robbed it. After this experience she used the N word to describe him to her husband. This is a firable offense?
Paula Dean is not being accused of using racial slurs at the work place. Paula Dean is not being accused of discriminatory hiring practices. Paula Dean was asked if she ever used the word. Paula Dean was born and raised in the south during segregation. Does anyone in their right mind think that word never left her lips throughout her life? If so, those people are fooling themselves.
This isn't about the right or wrong of the word. This is about does a person have any right to have a personal conversation in the privacy of their own home anymore? Look the word is offensive, when used by whites. I don't deny that. I certainly don't use the word and I cringe on the very rare occasions that I hear it. But that doesn't mean that The Food Network should feel pressured into firing this woman because of that private conversation.
Be honest, haven't you said things in a private conversation in your home that could easily be found offensive to someone? Should your place of employment feel that due to that you are unemployable if that conversation ever became public knowledge?
I was going back and forth with others on this last evening and one of the things that I heard was if I went into work on Monday and used that word to a co-worker I wouldn't have a job on Tuesday. True enough. But that isn't what happened here. I also saw comparisons to the man who fired from the television show Grey's Anatomy for using the word faggot. Again, that wasn't done in the privacy of his home. That was done in public and if I remember correctly was directed towards a coworker who is gay. There is no comparing the two. First and foremost I have a problem with these laws to begin with. But even if I didn't, what happen in that case was public and done in the workplace setting.
Look, you can pass all the laws you like, it won't change people's hearts. I actually contend it was that people's hearts changing that directly led to the civil rights laws being passed. What Martin Luther King did so brilliantly was he humanized the people who were being mistreated. He put a face to the discrimination. When images of people being attacked by dogs and water hoses were shown in every household across the country, people had to take a look at themselves. That is when things changed. The law followed the heart.
People are allowed to be racists if they choose. There isn't anything that anyone can do about that. People are allowed to say what they want in their homes. She is free to spray paint the N word on her living room wall if she wants to. I wouldn't go to someone's home that did that. But it doesn't change the right of her to do it. This is private behavior.
She will be just fine. She has plenty of money and she certainly won't starve. But that isn't the point. The Food Network is yet another victim of political correctness that has run amok. They are bowing to public pressure because she is now perceived as being a racist. She used a racial slur in her lifetime. That isn't a racist make. Everyone one of us has said things that offend someone else at one point or another in our lives. That doesn't mean we should be able to allow public pressure to force employers across the country to fire everyone who has.