Monday, June 24, 2013

Just wanted to congratulate Carly Mathis of Leesburg on winning the Miss Georgia title!  She is an awesome lady and I want to wish her good luck in September!

I'll just say it, I'm pretty ticked about all this hoopla around Paula Deen.  Quite frankly, it stinks.

I've known Paula for many years and think the world of her.  I watched her scrape, scrounge and fight to climb out from a black hole, both financially and mentally.  What a great American success story!  You can look her up on Wikipedia for details as I won't go into them here.  But I saw first hand and watched her battle and am so proud of her.

I first met Paula when she lived here in Albany through the radio station and would run into to her at social events.  After her divorce, her sons used to deliver lunch with some of the best sandwiches you've ever had!  I ran into her again in Savannah and visited her then new restaurant.  What a change I saw from a demur housewife to a successful business woman!

I saw first hand her encouragement and support of friends and coworkers and her wonderful charity work.

Now we disparage her?  All because of the use of the N- word years ago brought to light by a disgruntled money grubbing former employee's lawsuit?  Give me a break!

I watched a new program the other day when a reporter was asked if he had ever used the N- word and he said he could honestly say no.  Bully for him! That makes me feel a lot better about the state of racial discrimination, however, for those of us who grew up during the 60's and 70's that was not the case.  It was a time of turmoil and unrest as the fight was to changes in attitudes and discrimination.  The South in particular had a lot of changes to make, especially.

Have I ever used the N- work.  I am embarrassed to say, yes.  I can only remember once as it was in a classroom situation where the teacher then immediately took me to task over the use of the word.  To her credit, she pulled me aside and I got a pretty good lecture about how degrading it was and was not nice.  I still remember to this day how bad and embarrassed I felt and vowed never to say it again.

Even then, I was taught to be afraid.  I grew up in a town that had no African-American families but was always told stories.  Most of it rumor and innuendo.  We did not have the resources we have today to dispel and of that.  And watching the riots in Watts and other places in the 60's only reinforced any fears I had.  It was only when I was a sophomore in h.s. that the first A/F family moved to town.  The dad was a coach for the local school and the family included a girl my age.  Getting to know them, surprise, they were just like us!  A typical American family trying to find their piece of the American dream.

My point of all this is that us older folks have had to evolve over the years from so many archaic attitudes and "learning" that was shady at best and some that were downright wrong.  We have all said and done things we are not proud of and, speaking for myself, embarrassed.  Hopefully this new generation is one we have taught well but can be forgiving and tolerant for our failings in our youth.

The Food Network has decided not to renew her contract and QVC is now hedging on selling her great line of pots and pans.  She has made both of these companies a lot of money with the Paula Deen brand and waiver over her personal reputation.  I find it spineless and really a bad business decision. But that is their's to make.  Good luck to them but for me, I won't watch their channels and take my business elsewhere.

I am proud of my teaching that being American is not white or black, asian or hispanic, Christian or Atheist, gay or straight or our heritage.  We are bound together as one by ideal, a common belief of freedom. equality and acceptance.

Paula is a survivor and I have no doubt that she will come through this stronger and better than ever.  I hope we all learn a lesson that being sanctimonious is not the answer nor a good quality for any of us to have.

Take care,


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