I'm seeing bunches of posts and tweets and status updates both pro and anti-Paula Deen.
Everyone is fixating on THE WORD (both the lovers AND the haters it seems), but I think it's so much more than THE WORD. THE WORD is AWFUL. I don't use THE WORD because I do not have the cultural authority to do so. If you want to use it, I don't really like that, but I'll defend your right to do so--JUST know there could be consequences for it. You might even lose your job for it. You might even lose million dollar contracts, if you are in a position to have a million dollar contract. You might lose friends. You might lose my admiration for you in all of your buttery goodness. But, it's not just her choice of words that got her into the position she is in.
It is more her action AND inaction that got her there. I've DEFINITELY used words that are ugly and cast names that are unkind and--so has everyone else--in the whole wide world--so I don't know why THAT's the focus of what happened. My husband and I just watched 16 Candles the other day for the first time in probably 20 years, and I was shocked to hear the characters casually calling each other "faggots". UGLY.
When I watched it as a 10-12-14-16-year-old I'm certain that I wasn't shocked by THAT f-word because so many people (adults, teens, children) used it--at school, with friends, against enemies. Now, if someone in my circle of friends used that word, that person would be castigated. SOoOoOoOo, YES, words are just words, but words do have power, and the collective WE decides how much power a word has in society at large, and we, as individuals decide how much power words have in our personal lives, but in Paula's case, it's not just about THE WORD.
More than Paula's use of THE WORD--regardless of context--I'm more disturbed by her desire to mock up a pre-Civil War plantation-style wedding--complete with "slaves" and that she allowed her brother to flaunt porn in front of HER employees. (Her brother seems like a real treat also, and is getting off the hook wayyyy too easily, IMHO, but he's not the famous partner in the duo, so I guess--right or wrong--that's why.)
These actions (and inactions) do not negate all of the good that Paula has done for ... (insert the multitude of causes that Paula sponsor/contributes to). Conversely, her generosity in those realms do not excuse her horrible ideas and (in)action(s). You MIGHT be able to get away with behaving a certain way with your friends and family--maybe even employees--if you are not in the public eye, but guess what? SHE'S THERE--BY CHOICE--!
And for everyone who is worried about poor Paula: I suspect Paula is going to be all right.
That's all I have to say about this topic that I tried really hard to NOT talk about at all.
Now, please enjoy this image of Paula Deen riding butter(flies).