Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Politically Correct Firing of Paula Dean

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.  


Teresa said...

Excellent post JACG!!!

I am in full agreement with you.

Rotti said...

Sure I have used this word in the privacy of my home. This world is upside down and I cannot take it anymore. Enough of this political correct bs. Great post.

Anonymous said...

In Brooklyn, and probably elsewhere; if one put ten Verizon technicians of color in a room together, one would hear the N word 20 times in less than 10 minutes. Does this make this right? Why is it that if they say it, this is ok, because they are black: is this not
discriminatory? Is this as calling oneself such? Can I call myself whatever? Why are they still around?

Anonymous said...

The above comment is from Eddy.

dmarks said...

Not sure I get this... it is fine when Deen hates all black people because one commits a crime against her?

And Rotti calls black people n*gger all the time in private, so all is fine? I don't think I am misreading this...

Its not my type of conservatism, which is devoid of any racism and never excuses such evil, ever.

Teresa said...


Paula Deen said the word DECADES ago. Not recently. This was when attitudes were different. Saying that, Ms. Deen should not have answered the interviewer's question. It was absurd and she was dumb for answering it.

dmarks said...

"Paula Deen said the word DECADES ago"

The year was 1986. This was more than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation. 1986 This was a full 16 years after the 1960s, the decade of civil rights. She had absolutely NO excuse, NO defense.

I was alive and quite aware in 1986. Attitudes were different, yes... but only among a fringe KKK-leaning type. Anyone who would hate all blacks just because one committed a crime like this is a real nut-job.

We're not talking about a plantation owner from the antebellum South here. As if even they had any sort of excuse.

And then there is Rotti, who thinks the N word is great, and uses it in her home all the time.

Moving away from the closet racists, there is J. C. Watts. A black man (or n*gger as Rotti tells people in her home). A conservative as well: He said (from

"J.C. Watts is quoted as saying "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught". Watts is a politician who served in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the 4th congressional district in south-central Oklahoma from 1995 to 2003."

If you let your inner Klansman out because a black person robs you, or you think it is fine to call black people the N-word as long as none of them are listening, that's certainly not character.

I'm a conservative, yes, and defend conservatism when liberals charge of racism. But this time here in this post, where one conservative defends the indefensible, and the other confesses the Klannish behavior "in the privacy of my home", I guess I can see where liberals get their ideas to make their charges.

Just a conservative girl said...

You certainly make many assumptions. Where is your evidence that Paula Dean hates all black people? She has them working for her, she voted for Obama twice. I think if she were releasing her "inner klansmen" that likely would not be the case.

People say things in anger at moments that they regret.

I don't know Paula Dean, but I do know people who are true racists, and let me tell you they wouldn't hire them or certainly vote for them either.

The point of the post is not defend what she said, it is defend her right to say something in the privacy of her own home. As a conservative, that should be something you should be standing up for daily. We are quickly becoming a country that isn't allowed in anymore.

That is far more dangerous than some celebrity chef using the N word almost thirty years ago.

dmarks said...

JACG: The only thing I have made an assumption on is Rotti. For all I know she is a plant, or a troll, saying what she has said just for controversy, and not because she holds these views.

"People say things in anger at moments that they regret. "

Our real character comes out during tough times, during duress. Her character was found to be quite lacking. There's no excuse.

"it is defend her right to say something in the privacy of her own home. As a conservative, that should be something you should be standing up for daily."

Oh, I am. She has a right to say it. I oppose hate-crime laws, and laws against the right to stay stupid things. However, I support the right to criticize her, and though what she says is not a matter of criminal law and should not be, it is fine that companies that depend on customer service eject a spokesperson so lacking in character.

"That is far more dangerous than some celebrity chef using the N word almost thirty years ago."

Come up with examples of this, and we can discuss.

Just a conservative girl said...

She is losing income due to a private discussion, one that she told the truth about. What are the chances that the attorney knew that story when he asked that question?

And one of the many assumptions that you have made is that she has an inner klansmen. There is no proof of that.

There is a huge difference between uttering a racial slur at some point in your life then being a rabid racist as you have called her.

This lawsuit doesn't even claim that she is a racist. It claims that people who work in a restaurant that her brother owns use racial slurs in the work place. Not that she does. She has the deep pockets.

You want to know what her biggest mistake has been? not insulating herself from liability when she invested in her brothers business. She is the one with the really deep pockets, that is why her name is on the suit.

People use derogatory language that I find insulting all the time, I don't file a lawsuit or expect someone to never work again because of it. This is overkill.

BTW Alec Baldwin made a stupid comment that has been construed as slur against gays. Capital One shouldn't fire him, and he said it publically.

Politcal correctness is killing this country.

net observer said...

I hate that I am so late to this, but anyway...

Excellent article. Extremely complicated issue.

Yes, we all have the right to say what we want to say. But we also have the right to react to what others say. That's the

core of Paula Deen's dilemma. She has the right to say whatever she wants but she doesn't have the right to Fortune 500 ad


For better or worse, media is fueled primarily by advertisers, who have a LOT of options in terms of where their dollars will

go, and no one is more clear about this than the ad executives at our top television and radio networks.

Of course, interestingly, these same people may, as individuals, fully sympathize with America's overall fatigue with

political correctness. But not to the point of risking a well-paying job.

The good news? Most controversial issues aren't controversial enough to send major sponsors running for the hills. The bad

news? Some are.

Racism, however one chooses to define it, against non-whites especially, is a very big deal in our society (for good reason);

and one could say the same thing about sexism against women. The mere appearance of racism or sexual harassment can decimate

a company the size of Walmart overnight and we all know that.

Bird's eye view, I am proud to live in a country with such basic moral instincts. At the same time, I can't help but wonder

what costs we are incurring as we insist on such dubious standards.

The so-called N-word is like a hundred Rubix cubes at this point. Blacks can use it, but not whites. Well...actually that's

not true. Non-blacks, especially youngsters, use it when they play their favorite hip-hop songs, don't they?

But even in that case they have to pronounce it a certain way? Right? Well...that depends on who's saying it, and to WHOM?


I have witnessed young Hispanics (so-called white Hispanics) freely and effortlessly who use it as a term of endearment among

themselves, and it's not like they clammed up when they saw me sitting nearby (I happen to be black)

And for the record, I wasn't the least bit offended. They were obviously using it in a harmless fashion and I thought it was

all rather amusing.

At the same time, we have countless Americans of every hue and generation who absolutely HATE the term, no matter WHO uses

it, no matter HOW it's pronounced, no matter what the context?

Talk about a controversial word. The same word that can get someone fired from his job on the spot, or potentially bring down

a huge company overnight, is the same word that thousands of rap tunes use everyday.

I honestly don't think most blacks or most women are THIS hyper-sensitive. I don't even think the people who file these

lawsuits are this sensitive. It's the financial incentive. That's the bottom line. Scare the pants off a major

corporation, get some hush money for you and your lawyer, and to heck with any negative societal by-products.

Over time, these by-products cost society overall and minorities in particular. Minorities, especially blacks, look like

hypocritical crybabies, whether they are or not. Women look like soft, over-sensitive damsels in distress, whether they are

or not.

Unfortunately, only time can solve this one in my view. 40-50 years from now, when the vast majority of our population is

brown, the so-called N-word won

Anonymous said...

I realize this article is a few months old and probably won't be looked at again for some time, but if dmarks ever stumbles upon this again, I would like his opinion on something. You say we should judge a woman for something she said over 20 years ago in a moment of anger. She used a racial slur to refer to a man who victimized her, when the color of his skin had nothing to do with the attack.

How would you feel about someone who used the word "slut" in a private discussion in their own home? A man is mad at his girlfriend and is talking about it with his friend, and one of them calls her a slut in reference to this woman. Let's assume the word was just as unrelated to her actions, and was used simply because she was a woman upon whom these men wanted to look down.

Would you say that this conversation, over 20 years later, would be grounds for assuming this man is a sexist jerk and should be fired for it? I think if that were the case, he would be a much richer man because he would cry injustice and sue the company that fired him for something so unrelated to his career. Why are minority races

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