Paula Deen, racism, and social change

"Elizabethtown" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals


Back when Barack Obama was first elected President of the United States in 2008, some of us felt pretty good about ourselves. Racial prejudice was over and done with, and we were living in the New Jerusalem.

 

 

But, presciently, a New York Times commentator at that time (I think Charles Blow) told us not to be so sure of ourselves. I wish I could find his exact quote. I paraphrase: “American racism is coming to an end, but it’s not dead yet. It’s going to become more concentrated, like sea-salt crystallizing as seawater evaporates.”

 

 

This image has come back to me over and over again over the past five years.

 

 

Most recently, Paula Deen, whom you would have thought would have been smarter, has shown herself to be a racist idiot of the crystallized-seawater variety. In recent depositions, she spoke defiantly about using the n-word in casual conversation. She defended herself by explaining that she was once held up by a black man.

 

 

Well, Paula, then that’s okay! We forgive you! Use racial epithets as much as you want!

 

 

 

Paula has asked for forgiveness via Internet video three times over the past few weeks. She is often tearful, which clearly demonstrates that she’s the victim here.

 

 

The great revelation here, for me, was doing research for this blog. I learned that there are a lot of people here in the USA who don’t like black people, and who use the Internet freely!

 

 

Man alive.

 

 

Have you seen this commercial?:

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw

 

 

It’s a cute little girl asking her (white) mother if Cheerios are good for your heart. Mom says yes. Little girl runs into the living room and dumps a bunch of Cheerios on her (black) father’s chest.

 

 

Now go on line, look up the video (use search terms “interracial Cheerios”), and see what comes up.

 

 

Filthy and vile.

 

 

Now how about this commercial?:

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4pLWCtsoc8

 

 

Now go on the net and read the comments (search terms “International Delight bouncer”). You won’t need to go far to find something really atrocious. Imagine: a white woman admiring a black man’s body!

 

 

I won’t tell you the names of the websites I found these on. If you do the same searches I did, you’ll find the same kind of comments.

 

 

I was disgusted by them.

 

 

But – you know what? – go look for them. I want you to be disgusted too.

 

 

It’ll do you good.

 

 

It’ll show you, more forcefully than I can tell you, the kind of world we live in, and what we’re up against.

 


 

The gay Oreo

Oreo_pride


The Nabisco company recently put the above picture on their website, with the innocuous / sweet caption: “Proudly support love!”

 

 

And, naturally, the company was immediately attacked by bigots and conservatives.

 

 

On account of what? A double-double-double stuffed cookie? I would have thought that a cookie like this would sell like hotcakes in the Bible Belt. Especially with all those bright colors.

 

 

But – despite this redneck protest – more and more companies are showing their true (rainbow) colors, and good for them: Target, J. C. Penney, Starbucks. Even Cheerios!

 

 

But the bigots and the religious right are thrashing around in anger, and threatening boycott.

 

 

Let them thrash, brothers and sisters.

 

 

See, I figure, for every religious / conservative kook who decides to boycott one of the above companies (and there are many more gay-tolerant and gay-friendly companies than this, as you’ll see if you follow this link), there’s at least one gay person or gay-tolerant person who’s charmed and delighted by those companies’ bravery.

 

 

(And do you know what one of the main complaints on the (mostly tolerant) Internet is? It’s that these gigantically-stuffed cookies aren’t actually available for sale.)

 

 

 

I haven’t been to Starbucks in a while. I should pay them a visit.

 

 

Do you suppose they sell Oreos?


 

 

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