Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Paula Deen story is unfortunate in many ways, and people have taken sides in debating whether or not she should have been forgiven for racist remarks or statements she made 30 or so years ago.
America is polarized racially at this time in its history. Many people have said that we are not a good model for racial integration to the rest of the world based on the stories that make it to the headlines. I unequivocally agree with that assessment. But the stories that make it to the headlines are not a real reflection of how Americans think or feel.
If it was we would not have a President who by race is black, especially when the opposition was so determined that making him a one-term President was their number one agenda. To overcome that kind of opposition required voters who looked beyond skin color to other criteria.
I have always believed that the loudest, angriest and most incessant talkers are not necessarily the most accurate, truthful or reflective of the mood of most people. But often they are the ones who make the headlines.
Many people who always had an attitude of entitlement and were accustomed to enjoying a built in advantage of one kind or another will not sit still while those advantages are taken away or eroded.
I have learned over the years to lower my voice, control my emotions and manage my speech so I can give of my best to get what I want. Who and what we see in the news does not always reflect the best of America.
Back to Paula Deen. If this lady was able to see what would have happened to her 10, 20 or 30 years later because of speech she admitted to making she would not have done it. Hindsight is perfect. Foresight is often lacking for the best of us.
The moral of the story is: don’t say things you might regret later. At the time when she made those statements it was par for the course to say those things. They carried no penalties. But not so today. America has come a long way and racist or disparaging statements against any nationality is not just frowned upon but is condemned by many.
Another good idea is not to say anything in private that you wouldn’t like repeated in public. Is that realistic? It depends on the kind of person you are. The things that have brought down most public figures are things that should not have been said any place whether private or public. What some of those statements reflect is not commendable in any shape or form. Too many of us ride on reputation rather than character. We care about how we look before the public but have no concern for who we are in private.
What is most disturbing about all of this is that what Paula Deen confessed to doing decades ago is what many still practice today. If she is sincere in what she said about being sorry, and it was not just a ploy to save her million-dollar empire, then in a sense many of the people who are supportive of her are not in the same league morally with her. She is years ahead of them because they have expressed on line that they see nothing wrong, or that wrong with those statements and believe that others overreacted.
At least Paula Deen recognized the wrongness of her actions and took responsibility for what she said; and for that she deserves a little understanding.