A lot of people are angry that celebrity chef, Paula Deen, has admitted to using the N-word to refer to African Americans. In the deposition, she went so far as to describe scenarios where the use of the word may be appropriate. As a result of this controversy, Deen has lost contracts and endorsements from the Food Network, Smithfield, Walmart, Sears Holdings, and Caesars Entertainment Company. Ballantine Books has also decided not to publish her newest cookbook slated for an October release; this book was supposed to be the first of a five book deal.
Once the public uproar was in full blaze, Deen crafted a two-minute video apology stating, "I was wrong...that is no excuse...forgive me." However, she never really admits to anything, except for the possibility of hurting others. This turn of events has brought Deen's fans to her defense, causing her book sales to soar. Last week, she used her Today Show television spot to thank her fans and supporters.
In her video apology, released a few days prior to her television appearance, she stated, "My family and I are not the kind of people that the press is trying to say we are." This is where it gets interesting. The press is mostly talking about her use of the N-word and analyzing the sincerity of her apology but neither of these are the main issue concerning Deen or her family. The primary issues are addressed in a discrimination civil action suit against Paula Deen and five companies owned by Deen and her relatives, including her sons (Jamie and Bobby Deen) and her brother (Earl W. "Bubba" Hiers).
The suit lists the plaintiff as Lisa T. Jackson, a Caucasian woman, who was employed by the "Paula Deen Family of Companies" from February 2005 until April 19, 2010. Jackson served as General Manager for Uncle Bubba's restaurant for the majority of that time. The suit reads like a drama movie from the 1700s. In addition to the infamous description concerning Deen's vision for a plantation-style wedding, including n***** waiters dressed in suits, the claim also includes repeated offenses degrading female and African American employees of the Paula Deen Family restaurants.
If any part of Jackson's claim is true, Deen was aware, participated in, or refused to take corrective action concerning many injustices including her brother's continuous use of pornography, violence, threats, and sexual advances toward female employees in the work place. Likewise, African American employees were regularly referred to as "n******" or "monkeys." The environment was allegedly so racially charged that African American employees were expected to use a separate bathroom and a back door entrance. Additionally, the dark-skinned African American employees were required to work in the kitchen. Only white or light-skinned African Americans employees could serve clients. The discrimination also included unequal pay and a lack of leadership advancement for female employees. These allegations are explicit examples of what Civil Rights Activist, Myrlie Evers-Williams meant when she recently said, "Jim Crow is alive, and it's dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit."
Source: Urban Faith | Natasha S. Robinson
Natasha S. Robinson is the founder, writer, and speaker for His Glory On Earth Ministries and a full-time student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Connect with Natasha through her blog, A Sista's Journey, Twitter @asistasjourney, and Facebook at NatashaSistrunkRobinson.