The Real Paula Deen

Pages

Remember the good, quaint, lovely days of America when you had tuxedo-clad, middle aged Negro men who waited on the gentile white women and their strapping white husbands?

Yeah. Me neither.

But that is the time Paula Deen longs for according to a deposition taken in a discrimination lawsuit against her, some of her family members and many of her companies and corporations from an ex-employee who claims she was treated to a "violent, sexist, and racist" atmosphere in several of Deen's businesses.

According to the complaint, Jackson began working for Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, a restaurant run by Hiers, in early 2005 and left in August 2010 due to the inappropriate behavior she said she was subjected to in her time there. In the deposition, Deen said she owns half of the corporation that operates Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House. Jackson also said she did some other work for Deen’s company and a restaurant she runs. The complaint alleged “racially discriminatory attitudes pervade” Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House where Jackson claimed African-American employees were required to use separate bathrooms and entrances from white staffers. Jackson also said African-Americans were held to “different, more stringent, standards” than whites at the restaurant and that Hiers regularly made offensive racial remarks.

While we will have to wait to see if Jackson's allegations are true, Paula Deen's deposition gives quite the insight into the thinking for the celebrity chef. Here are some various tidbits:

“I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive,” Deen said. “The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid that somebody would misinterpret.”

Yeah, I can see how someone could misinterpret what she said, specifically when she mentioned the race of the servers. I mean, that's what people always say when they go out to eat, right? "Honey, wasn't that white server just great?" "Sure, but she didn't stand a prayer against that Oriental-looking hostess or that Arab busboy." "True that. And they were so impressive in their matching ecru aprons."

Deen said “that restaurant represented a certain era in America.”

That would be this era:

IMAGE(http://www.feastinginphoenix.com/images/theater.jpg)

And Deen has latched on to spousal privilege with both hands and isn't letting go anytime soon.

Though she said she does not tell “racial” jokes herself, Deen said she was “sure” members of her family have told jokes that contained the N word and that her husband “is constantly telling me jokes.” Billips asked whether Deen is “offended at all by those jokes.”

“No, because it’s my husband,” she said.

Note to Rubb Ed: Yeah, that's a deal breaker.

Not to be outdone in the racial harmony department, Ms. Deen also isn't sure that there's a problem with her brother (who manages one of the businesses) looking at porn at work:

Q: If you had been there on a daily basis, it's unlikely your brother would have been looking at pornography on the work computers too, would you agree?

Deen: No, not necessarily.

Q: Would you have a problem with it if he's sitting there at work looking at pornography?

Deen: If somebody sent him something and he pulled it up and looked at it, no, I would not persecute him for that.

Q: What if there were other employees in the office at the time that he pulled it up and looked at it?

Deen: You know, that's not black or white. It's -- that's -- it's not a black and white answer.

I am pretty sure I am on firm ground when I state that the number of justifications for viewing pornography at work is right at zero.

Meanwhile, the PR Department over at the Food Network, where Deen has quite a foothold, crafted the perfect non-statement statement:

"Food Network does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation," a Food Network spokeswoman said.

Yes, they will monitor it while the lawyers review her contract backwards and forwards looking for the clause that allows them to kick her and her quaint notions to the curb.

Just thought I'd add in the more entertaining take on this news, since this Paula Deen person seems to be somewhat of a joke herself.
http://www.avclub.com/articles/paula...

The best comment I've seen: "She uses the N-word? Nutrition? Bullsh*t."

Anyway: Team Bourdain!

A group of comedians have been Tweeting about this using #PaulasBestDishes.

Kind of ironically, there was a thread on Reddit yesterday about Rand Paul's support for repeal of anti-segregation laws, and a number of redditors were saying, "yeah, but that would never happen now if government intervention were taken away!"

She's a woman with a high school education, almost entirely house-bound for the first few decades of her life, who grew up over fifty years ago in the deep South with a small circle of friends in a town that was a hotbed of civil rights activity directed "against" whites during her youth and young adulthood. Yeah, she got the attitudes of the time, that's no surprise. I'm sure she thinks she's improved too, and she probably has.

But it was a different time and I'm also sure part of her is still stuck in it.

Robear wrote:
She's a woman with a high school education, almost entirely house-bound for the first few decades of her life, who grew up over fifty years ago in the deep South with a small circle of friends in a town that was a hotbed of civil rights activity directed "against" whites during her youth and young adulthood. Yeah, she got the attitudes of the time, that's no surprise. I'm sure she thinks she's improved too, and she probably has.

But it was a different time and I'm also sure part of her is still stuck in it.

I once had dinner at a Polish friend's house and her grandmother once mentioned how things may have been bad during the time of the Nazis, but that "at least they got rid of the Jews". I, of course, expressed astonishment, to which my friend responded in private that there was nothing to do with people like her grandmother than to wait for them to die and, hopefully, their bigotry would die with them.

I suspect it is sort of the same way with dinosaurs like Dean.

To be fair, her grandmother was a little bit off anyway, if I remember correctly.

OG_slinger wrote:
A group of comedians have been Tweeting about this using #PaulasBestDishes.

Those are hilarious. I think my favorites are the "George Wallace Waffles" and the "Colored Greens".

KluKluxFlan tickles my funny bone. This just is shameful. I was making fun of how Racist Paula Dean was like 10 years ago.

She bailed on her interview with Matt Lauer this morning.

And booted from the Food Network.

She's still got the diabetes medication deal, right? That's the sweetest plum!

What's humorous about this situation is that the Food Network was pumping the hell out of her show a couple of thanksgivings ago. She was everywhere. Who'd have thought that pushing nostalgia for white southern comfort food would lead to reports of casual racism?

Funkenpants wrote:
She was everywhere. Who'd have thought that pushing nostalgia for white southern comfort food would lead to reports of casual racism?

You can have the Soithern Comfort food without the racism. You can also have the racism without the Southern Comfort food.

I miss my grandma's food and she wasn't racist.

Paula Deen needs to grow the $&@&& up.

Ego Man wrote:
You can have the Soithern Comfort food without the racism. You can also have the racism without the Southern Comfort food.

True, because a recipe is color blind. But if you scratch beneath the surface of nostalgia for cultural identities, there's usually a harkening back for the days when minorities were segregated from, and subservient to, white society. You can see that in Connecticut WASP culture, Italian-American culture, Irish-American culture. The good old days were filmed in white and white. And realistically, we still live in a defacto segregated culture. Paula Deen is not exactly an exotic relic from the past, despite claims that we live in post-racial society.

That's why progressive thought tends to avoid appeal to tradition or nostalgia. If I was at the Food Network and wanted to avoid this stuff in the future, I'd be hiring fusion chefs who take pleasure in mixing and matching elements of different cuisines.

So we should toss all good recipies because they might be tainted by racists eating that type of food in the past? How about reclaiming to from the racists. Share your favorite "heritage" food with someone of another race. Strip the food of its unwanted baggage and just eat.

Of course, much of the heritage food is a form of fusion food before it became hip. They were recipies brought from their homeland and modified with local ingredients.

Ego Man wrote:
So we should toss all good recipies because they might be tainted by racists eating that type of food in the past? How about reclaiming to from the racists. Share your favorite "heritage" food with someone of another race. Strip the food of its unwanted baggage and just eat.

Of course, much of the heritage food is a form of fusion food before it became hip. They were recipies brought from their homeland and modified with local ingredients.

Because that would be too easy. I for one will never eat German food again. Who knows what I may end up doing if I did that.

Ego Man wrote:
So we should toss all good recipies because they might be tainted by racists eating that type of food in the past?

Go back and read what I wrote, because I didn't say anything like that. I said at the beginning of my post: True, because a recipe is color blind.

It's not the recipes that are the warning sign, it's the invocation of nostalgia for the culture that created the recipes.

obirano wrote:
Ego Man wrote:
So we should toss all good recipies because they might be tainted by racists eating that type of food in the past? How about reclaiming to from the racists. Share your favorite "heritage" food with someone of another race. Strip the food of its unwanted baggage and just eat.

Of course, much of the heritage food is a form of fusion food before it became hip. They were recipies brought from their homeland and modified with local ingredients.

Because that would be too easy. I for one will never eat German food again. Who knows what I may end up doing if I did that.

Sauerkraut farts?

Funkenpants wrote:
Ego Man wrote:
You can have the Soithern Comfort food without the racism. You can also have the racism without the Southern Comfort food.

True, because a recipe is color blind. But if you scratch beneath the surface of nostalgia for cultural identities, there's usually a harkening back for the days when minorities were segregated from, and subservient to, white society. You can see that in Connecticut WASP culture, Italian-American culture, Irish-American culture. The good old days were filmed in white and white. And realistically, we still live in a defacto segregated culture. Paula Deen is not exactly an exotic relic from the past, despite claims that we live in post-racial society.

That's why progressive thought tends to avoid appeal to tradition or nostalgia. If I was at the Food Network and wanted to avoid this stuff in the future, I'd be hiring fusion chefs who take pleasure in mixing and matching elements of different cuisines.

Most southern comfort food is a variation, if even that, on good old "multi-cultural" soul food. Whatever Paula Deen's problem is, it ain't the food she's eating. Well, unless all that fatty food is leading to undiagnosed TIA's or something.

edit: The weird love/hate/ignore relationship the South has with black culture is a big tangled mess. I think this goes a little deeper than any particularly ethnic food. I've seen nothing to suggest that, for instance, Giada de Laurentiis is contributing to De Nord or something.

Funkenpants wrote:
Ego Man wrote:
You can have the Soithern Comfort food without the racism. You can also have the racism without the Southern Comfort food.

True, because a recipe is color blind. But if you scratch beneath the surface of nostalgia for cultural identities, there's usually a harkening back for the days when minorities were segregated from, and subservient to, white society. You can see that in Connecticut WASP culture, Italian-American culture, Irish-American culture. The good old days were filmed in white and white. And realistically, we still live in a defacto segregated culture. Paula Deen is not exactly an exotic relic from the past, despite claims that we live in post-racial society.

That's why progressive thought tends to avoid appeal to tradition or nostalgia. If I was at the Food Network and wanted to avoid this stuff in the future, I'd be hiring fusion chefs who take pleasure in mixing and matching elements of different cuisines.

The highlighted part is what I find interesting and totally skipped my point.

You can have the Soithern Comfort food without the racism.
You jumped straight from food to culture as a whole. I think that Paula Deen's idea of a perfect meal as being served by perfectly dressed black men in a Antebellum setting has nothing to do with the food and everything to do with whitewashing the history of the culture. I love the food from the South, It is part of my personal history. I hate the rebel flag waiving racist crap that also comes from the same area. I want to separate the food from the crap and toss the crap into the dustbin of history.

I think Ill skip the progressive thought sentence as I think I would wonder far afield from the subject matter at hand. Let's just say that I prefer a good idea no matter where or when it came from.

http://m.cbsnews.com/fullstory.rbml?catid=57590532&feed_id=null&videofeed=null

I'd say pulling out of the Today show was a bad move. Morning talk shows aren't really known for their hard-hitting interviews. But, looks like she's officially out of Food Network come the end of her contract. Wonder if Fox News is looking for a cooking show.

NYT: Many in the South are upset about Food Network's move.

IMAGE(http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/06/23/us/DEEN-2/DEEN-2-articleLarge.jpg)

The conclusion is that Deen's "missteps" are explainable because the usage of N-word may get so nuanced and because, well:

“She’s a cook,” Mr. Hattaway said. “She’s not a Harvard graduate.”

Is common sense and decency are now the notions reserved only for Harvard graduates?!

The whole "she's from a different era" argument is also misguided. I grew up at a time when the gay rights movement was in infancy and when gay marriage was literally inconceivable. As you get older you either absorb and accept new ways of thinking or your become a dinosaur, and media outlets usually don't want to employ dinosaurs.

I expect that she'll be rehabilitated eventually.

Ugh. Just ugh:

In one incident in March 2010, Lady & Sons Restaurant General Manager Dustin Walls, “who is one of the best friends of Paula Deen’s son Jamie Deen,” threatened to fire all of the “monkeys” in the kitchen - the black kitchen staff - Jackson alleges.

Paula Deen “slapped him on the wrist” - something she did not want to do but did only because over her concerns of NAACP involvement, Jackson says in the suit.

From the deposition (p. 84):

Q. Did you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of doing to constitute racial harassment?

Deen: I understand -- I understand the pressure that goes along with the restaurant business. When that dinner bell rings at 11:00, it's like you and your team go to war, fighting a war to get everybody fed, every customer happy, and I know in the heat of the moment you can say things that would ordinarily not be said. The restaurant business is just so stressful, so stressful.

...

Q. My question was, would you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of to constitute racial harassment?

Deen: Yes.

Shorter Paula Deen: "Because when you are serving up collard greens and mac & cheese and buttermilk biscuits to the starving public, calling black people "monkeys" can sometimes happen, y'all know."

Read the Ugh story you linked... and I am wondering how much of this story got to people standing in line at her other stores. Black employees forced to use back entrance and restrooms only? Her brother using offices computers to view porn? No one should be lining up to support a restaurant hat did these things. Wonder if the lady who was first in line to eat at her restaurant knows that if she was working for Paula, she'd be using the back door only to get in.

Funkenpants wrote:

The whole "she's from a different era" argument is also misguided. I grew up at a time when the gay rights movement was in infancy and when gay marriage was literally inconceivable. As you get older you either absorb and accept new ways of thinking or your become a dinosaur, and media outlets usually don't want to employ dinosaurs.

I noted that I thought she was "still stuck" in that time; ie, that she was a dinosaur. We are saying the same thing, Funken.

Yeah. The different era crap doesn't wash.

The culture of racism is insidious and many exposed to it, especially as children, are never totally free of it's effects their whole lives. This isn't meant to excuse inexcusable behavior. However, learned racism behaves much like an addiction; either they recognize the racism within themselves, accept that it exists and holds sway over their language usage and personal judgement, and then consciously fight against that aspect of themselves for the rest of their lives... or they don't. People like Dean don't think they're bad people, that they're wrong, that they are doing harm to others. But nothing will change in their lives for the better until they finally do. And then and only then is there any chance of healing and redemption.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
Ugh. Just ugh:

In one incident in March 2010, Lady & Sons Restaurant General Manager Dustin Walls, “who is one of the best friends of Paula Deen’s son Jamie Deen,” threatened to fire all of the “monkeys” in the kitchen - the black kitchen staff - Jackson alleges.

Paula Deen “slapped him on the wrist” - something she did not want to do but did only because over her concerns of NAACP involvement, Jackson says in the suit.

From the deposition (p. 84):

Q. Did you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of doing to constitute racial harassment?

Deen: I understand -- I understand the pressure that goes along with the restaurant business. When that dinner bell rings at 11:00, it's like you and your team go to war, fighting a war to get everybody fed, every customer happy, and I know in the heat of the moment you can say things that would ordinarily not be said. The restaurant business is just so stressful, so stressful.

...

Q. My question was, would you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of to constitute racial harassment?

Deen: Yes.

Shorter Paula Deen: "Because when you are serving up collard greens and mac & cheese and buttermilk biscuits to the starving public, calling black people "monkeys" can sometimes happen, y'all know."

First, the ugh story is about the charges that were filed in 2012. So, don't take them as entirely true.

Second, I haven't read the entire deposition so I'm curious about how damning the charges are. It seems she acknowledged using the n word , she knew about the porn she was aware Dustin Walls called his staff monkeys and slapped him on the wrist.

In the deposition does she acknowledge the bathroom and back door policies? To me those are the most damning.

Robear wrote:
I noted that I thought she was "still stuck" in that time; ie, that she was a dinosaur. We are saying the same thing, Funken. :-)

Yes, we are. Further, I read through her deposition last night, and the context of her statements are interesting. After she became famous and successful, she opened a new restaurant in partnership with her brother, who sounds like a stereotypical Georgia redneck. Her brother had no experience in the food service industry - he was running a landscaping business in Albany, Georgia at the time - and it sounds like he ran the place like you'd expect a stereotypical redneck to run a restaurant.

Meanwhile, she's on the road doing tours and media appearances and shooting her TV show. She doesn't manage the place, and when people at the restaurant complain about her brother, she doesn't want to accept that there is a problem.

Most of the questions during the deposition refer to something awful the plaintiff said her brother did at the restaurant, and asking her if she thought that was appropriate. Deen typically responds either by saying that she didn't believe the plaintiff's stories about her brother, or that whether it's appropriate behavior depends on who you are around. (If you are close with the person at work, you might act on more familiar or informal terms,etc.)

She views pornography as something that men like to watch and share (and she seems pretty frank and libertine about sexual matters), and racial jokes are something that might be tossed around in private at home but should never be used to be "mean" to other races.

The plaintiff's lawyer asks her about allegations that kitchen staff were forced to use different bathrooms and the kitchen entrance, and she says that all employees were supposed to use employee bathrooms, and that she herself used the kitchen door to enter and leave the restaurant.

Pages