Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Southern And Confused




For those of you that read this blog regularly you know that I am a Southern woman. Born and raised in small town in the deep south. On this blog I rarely post anything political or controversial because to be honest I think that it's not necessary most of the time. I can get what I have to across without  the drama and there is enough drama floating around out there without me adding to it. But certain events of late have me confused and angered and I feel that maybe those of my friends out there can shed some light on this subject. I would like to know my friends what you think!

Recently Food Network and another corporate sponsor both publicly disassociated themselves from Paula Deen.  I am not a huge Paula Deen fan but I do own a couple of her cookbooks and I do respect the success of this hard working  single mother who has built an empire from nothing.  She was fired  from my understanding for using the racial slur nigger almost 2 decades ago in a legal deposition. Now I in no way condone racism and would like to think that I am not racist but I do have to admit confusion on these issues.

 You see I am a child of the 50's and 60's. I grew up where that word was used regularly by just about every adult that I ever came in contact with. I am sure as a child I used that word myself from time to time along with other words that I probably should not have used. Just like all the other children around me. Children learn from their environment.  It was a common practice in the area I grew up in. Just as the people of the area called the french or Cajuns "coon asses" and the Italians "dago's" the black people were called niggers, or in polite company coloreds. These were the days when I went to town and there were separate bathrooms for the black people and everything was separate. I do remember riding in my parents car and seeing KKK slogans painted on the roads. There was a place called Spook Hill not far from where we lived. It was a place where the black were hung  long ago. It was the South of the 60's and 70's. It was what it was. I did not create that world but was born into it. 

About the time I hit junior high school in the 60's this little thing called desegregation happened. They loaded my little, white, junior high self along with a whole bunch of my white neighbors on a school bus and decided that I needed to go to the black junior high school on the other side of town. We got out of that school bus and had to cross picket lines to get onto the school ground. And I might add both black and white picket lines, lined by police.  I attended 2 years at that black junior high school which were the worse two years of my school career. I was called every racial slur you could think of by my black school mates.  The black teachers were terrible to us and it was obvious we were not wanted at their school any more than the blacks were wanted at the white schools. Fights broke out daily among the students and I literally never went to the school bathroom the entire time I was there. I would wet my pants first and literally kept a change of clothing in my PE locker for that reason. The bathrooms were the worse place to get jumped! For the first time in my young life I learned real fear for my safety.  And this little white southern middle class farm girl was AFRAID!

I survived my junior high years and bear the scars silently to this day but feel I lost a little piece of my childhood on those school grounds. Eventually things settled down and I went on to high school and the nation seemed at times to heal and adjust to this new thing called civil rights. At times altercations flared up just as they did those first years on the school ground, but thing got better or so I thought. We all grew and maybe changed a little. I now had black colleagues and black friends. I now had black neighbors and the world was a different place. Not perfect but different and we were all making an effort I thought to be better Christians and maybe better human beings. Learning to be more respectful of what we said and how we said it and how that other person may feel. Eventually we even had a black president. 

It's a new century now. I no longer live in the deep south. Now I am a white haired grandmother of 4. I haven't heard the word nigger in years (other than from black people in their music on the car radio and TV).  I personally haven't said that word in many, many decades. I as an adult have made a conscious effort to remove that word from my vocabulary forever. I have never heard that word cross my daughters lips nor my grandchildrens. I have a personal rule that if you walked into my house and you were blue I would ignore it. I do not do racial discussions at all. I avoid all racial conversation. Why because the  lines of etiquette are blurred. I do not even know how to address the black race anymore. Once they referred to themselves as people of color. Then it was African American. Then it was black people.  And it is not just the black race. What is the current correct reference to people of Mexican descent, or Asian or any race. 

Maybe they need to just be people! Maybe we need to all just be Americans!

I feel sorry for Paula because I feel that political correctness has become very confusing for us old southerners. Is it really fair to go back and persecute someone for a racial slur made 20 years ago. Will there now be a racial nazi out there hunting down celebrities that have ever had the audacity to utter a racial slur in the last half century or so. Are there not black issues that the media could concentrate on that would help to improve the lives of black people and possibly have a positive effect on making their lives better.  I'm really not sure what this accomplished other than ruining the career of a hard working woman. 

Here I am almost a half century from junior high school and we're still fighting. 

And I am going to throw this out there for thought. When your two year old picks up a bad word and you make a big deal out of it what do they do. They use it more. If you want the word nigger to die then quit using it! That includes the black people out there throwing it around. That includes music and tv. If actors refused to use it in movies and singers refused to sing it and no one used it then it would fade away. If you refused to buy music that had it in it and refused to buy movie tickets then it would no longer be used. Don't believe me when was the last time you heard the word groovy......just think of all the once popular words that have just faded from daily use. It would silently slip into oblivion where it belongs.  

Paula has apologized for her hurtful words of long ago. Maybe we need to all learn a little true southern christian grace and accept that apology and all move on.  

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


43 comments:

  1. You have worded that in way I would never be able to. Thanks.

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  2. I agree. If she did this yesterday there might be an issue but so long ago? And if she truly changed, why does anyone hold it against her. Remember the prodigal son? Remember the angels celebrate even more when a sinner repents. Someone has decided they want either a)money or b)publicity or c)revenge. Why else even bring it up after all this time?

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  3. Very well put, I couldn't agree more.

    Jennifer

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  4. Well said! I too am from the south, though I wasn't around during the time Paula was, I understand the way things were and feel this persecution of her is totally unfair. I also agree with your statement regarding musicians and actors. If the word(s) are so offensive, NO one should use them!

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  5. AMEN!!! Well said! I think it is just ridiculous that she has had such a backlash to something she said so long ago. I heard the n word A LOT when I was working. I ran a trucking company and dealt with the drivers on a daily basis. Guess what? It wasn't the white drivers using that word. It was the black ones! They call each other that all.the.time! The ones who are shouting "Racism" the loudest just need to shut up!

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  6. My husband has a saying, that if a person of another race calls white people honkey or cracker do they get strung up, no. I don't believe what a person said two decades ago or even two days ago has anything to do with their ability to cook good food.

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  7. And i just have to add she should be protected by the first ammendment. Not everyone has to like what is said but we do have the freedom to say it.

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  8. Thank you for being real and being who you are, this country would be better off if there were more women like you. You inspire me to be a better Wife, Mom and citizen of this country. We are called by God to tell the truth in love, and this is exactly what you did. I will be sharing this one. Thanks again and God bless you.

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  9. Way to preach it Mrs. Canned Quilter! It is a slow going process to change the mindset of a country. Growing up after the worst of the civil rights movement my generation has a "middle" view of it. Hearing tolerance messages from the media and in schools my whole life I still shake my head when I do hear the biases of some people who remember how it was and still refuse to simply love other people. In our family we don't have to look very far to see that there is change in the nations mindset, though. In the younger generation we have nearly more children of different nationalities- Indian, African American, Haitian, Chinese. Lord willing, even the term "racist" will be wiped out of our grandchildren's vocabulary.

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  10. Thank you so much for saying this! I believe you just put into words, things us others would not have been able to say and you've said it with so much class, CQ!

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  11. This surprised me also, for many of the reasons you state. I think because it was used in a legal deposition it is considered unacceptable. As much as the word may have been tossed around by everyone of all races, to have put it in a legal transcript is something I cannot imagine too many people doing, even 20 yrs ago, which was not that long ago. That goes beyond just using the word because she was brought up to use it . Adults are always responsible for their behavior, no matter what their past history. Freedom of speech means she can say things legally but is not immune to the fallout. That being said, I think an apology was warranted, which she did, and the issue should have ended with that. just my opinion.

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  12. I blame the media. They have punished Paula Deen for being a product of her environment. I challenge you to find a 60 year old woman raised in the south who hasn't used that word. My grandmother (born in 1888) used the word without ANY condescension or degradation. It was what people of her generation called black people. I saw a segment on Oprah once where Jay Z was trying to explain to Oprah how overusing the word was meant to take its power away. She told him that word would always have power because she grew up when people were called that and lynched. He just hung his head.

    The issue is power. Black people can call us "cracker" or "honky" and it doesn't have the sting or shame because white people, in general, have more power in this world. I go to apply for a job or a loan and most of the time a white person, usually a white man, is in control. It is changing and we can hope we can bridge this racial gap, but as long as the media picks controversial sound bites and repeats them over and over we will be taking steps backward.

    I live with a black woman raised in Mississippi. Her mother worked as a maid for a white family. She was taught, very wisely, by her mother that she cannot change the color of her skin. She will always encounter racism and she had to learn to deal with it early. She wouldn't have sued Paula Deen. She would have found another job if she were the victim of racism. She doesn't condone racism but people need to be realistic about it. She also believes black people are more racist than white. I could never in a million years call her that word because of the power it has to me. She is my friend. I love her and you don't talk like that to your friend. Period.

    To quote Anne Rice's response "this is a crucifixion". And it is. Our world doesn't truly accept an extrodinarily successful woman. I deal with it every day at my job. Men are angry and intimidated when I can do a job better than them.

    The real problem is discrimination. It comes in all flavors including racial. I don't know if this black woman has a case or not, but I do know someone as successful as Paula Deen has lawyers watching her back and I doubt she did something that stupid. The media has discriminated against Paula Deen for being a southerner. Pure and simple.

    Personally, both my friend and myself believe she is the victim here. She did the right thing by being honest and now she is being crucified for it.

    Have I used the n word? Yes a long long time ago and a black friend told me when I used the word that there were white niggers too. Then I understood the true meaning of the word and I dropped it from my vocabulary.

    Why can't people just be kind?

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  13. I have noticed around the internet during the past several days that a lot of the people who are outraged by this incident do not hesitate in the least to label Paula an ignorant redneck, a backwoods hillbilly, etc. Hate is hate is hate. Funny how they feel justified in slapping a label on Paula when they're doing the very thing they want to string her up for doing.

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  14. I could not agree with you more and your words are perfect!! And JezInTheKitchen you have also hit the nail on the head!

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  15. We shall all be known by our spirits.. Its not my place to judge Paula Deen.. but I have.. I love her and I support her wholeheartedly. According to someone who lives where the lawsuit is being brought up, the suit is brought by a white woman that worked for her who tried to blackmail Paula and Paula would have none of it.. so she swore she'd make her life hell..

    And the one time she admits to using the "N" word was in the 1980s.. over 30 years ago. I find it pathetic that so many people feel the need to bash & trash others.. it doesnt matter if they're in the public eye or not.. Personally, I think its ridiculous. People obviously have too much time on their hands in my opinion.



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  16. Well said! It is too rare to hear such common sense as you have laid out in this day of political correctness and one sided media.

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  17. I may be the lone dissenter here, but here goes .... Paula was in her 40s when she used the word and a businesswoman to boot. If she would have said it in a business setting, her place of employment would have fired her for sure. I'm in my mid 50s and in our town we didn't have any minorities but we did use derogatory terms for Polish people. I learned by the time I was in junior high not to use them. I suppose if you support her, you should buy her products. Of course, we don't know the full story and it seems the press is licking its chops to make this a big story, which I think is wrong. But I don't blame businesses for terminating their contracts with her, after all, business is business, and they must do what is best for them.

    My daughter-in-law is Hispanic and I have seen first hand how derogatory terms have hurt her. Just as you do not find it nice to be called a redneck. Words do hurt.

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    1. I welcome you to respectfully disagree. I agree in her 40's she should have known better unfortunately age and common sense do not always go hand in hand. Nor does being in business! I have owned several businesses in my lifetime and have met some real less than prudent people in that capacity as well! She was and is old enough to know better. As far as buying her products I own few of her products other than a couple cookbooks and those were gifts but I do admire what she has accomplished.

      I agree that words do hurt and I choose to temper my own unfortunately she did not and will now pay the price but at the same time I am concerned that these issues become witch hunts. Real change takes time. Slavery has existed for centuries, racism is an old poison that has been around since the dawn of time. Change happens through love, understanding and true care about your fellow man. It does not come from lawsuits, media attacks and vindetta type behavior. That just makes money and improves tv ratings and in the end makes the situation much worse that it was in the beginning.

      This is all just my own humble opinion. I know very little about Paula as a person truly. I just don't want to see this vigilante type behavior where the media can break a person so easily for what may be just an isolated slip of the tongue. I fear for the power that the mainstream media has acquired.

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    2. Amen Sister! The media can be very very dangerous, rarely kind and often malicious and hateful in a very persuasive way.

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  18. CQ, I couldn't agree more. Very well said!

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  20. I don't know much about Paula Deen but I've heard the mainstream media make a big deal of this. I can't help but think they're making a mountain out of a mole hill and destroying her business for no legitimate reason. I suppose the point is to make an example of her and send a message. It is an example of political correctness taken to the vindictive extreme. It's a sad story and I agree with what you have written.

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  21. and the one lesson folks can get from this is to be careful of what you say as it may come back to bite you. Adults should know this already, but some may need reminding just in case they are inclined to speak in a derogatory way towards another using words that are well known to be racist (particularly when giving a legal deposition).

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  22. bravo, for being brave enough to say what you said. You are not alone.

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  23. I would strongly encourage everyone to get more informed about what the Deen empire is being accused of because it goes FAR beyond using the n-word 30 years ago. Sexual harassment, gender and race discrimination, and innumerable other civil liberties/workplace violations (black employees not being allowed to use a bathroom that white employees were allowed to use, black employees being shunned to the back of the restaurant and forbidden to enter the front of the house, pornography being openly viewed in the workplace, and there's much more!). It seems that Paula's brother Bubba is responsible for most of the mess, but as owner of the empire, Paula has to take responsibility.

    Here is a link to the court documents. I agree that persecuting for something said 30 years ago is ridiculous, but what's really being addressed in court are the violations that occurred as recently as 2010. The media is skewing it to seem like it's all about her saying the n-word 30 years ago. I can assure you, it is not.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/148781831/Jackson-v-Deen-Et-Al-Complaint

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    1. Wow! That is a long way from what the main stream media is painting. I guess my question in all this is how much knowledge of this did Paula have or was she just trying to help out her brother and he ended up bringing down her empire single handed. What a mess!

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    2. I had also heard that this Paula Deen mess was further reaching and more recent than what is reported here. It's just offensive in this day and age, I don't care who you are or where you live!
      I love this blog because I am interested in gardening and canning. I "escape" the news and crap on TV by reading a few blogs, yours included. It really keeps me centered and focused on what I love.
      This is why it was so disheartening to see this on your site. I really don't care to read it all here, as I am sure many others don't. I hope this doesn't turn into a political forum, or place for people to start spouting their opinions or beliefs, and just remains a great place to get awesome recipes and great advice on gardening and other such things =)

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    3. Darlene let me assure you this will NOT turn into a political forum as I am the least political person you know. I do not get main stream television but watch streamed movies and DVD's. Therefore I do not watch Paula Deen on TV. I don't care if Smithfield Hams drops her because I grow my own. I don't care if QVC or WalMart don't carry her products because I rarely shop at either place. I manage to get a little local news on the local radio channel based a few miles from my house and the weather report. I do not however live in a vacuum nor do I can, garden, clean, quilt and sew constantly. I do have a life and an opinion.

      This blog reflects and shares a small aspect of my life. MY farm, home, and family and the things I do to maintain them and the simple life we lead. That being said I guess the only reason that I comment at all on this is that being an older southern woman this kind of hit home for me as I hear dialog on all of us being prejudice or bigots. I do welcome the opinions of others on this and I think it help me personally to have other perspectives that are not media based.

      I certainly didn't mean to offend you and I guess I should go back to the kitchen and keep my mouth shut!

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    4. I am not from the south, I live in Oregon and I don't believe that there is any opinion that people from the south in general are bigots or racists. I really don't think Paula Deens behavior will be a reflection on anyone but herself and those that defend her actions.
      I understand that you felt the need to speak out because you related to her. I am just saying that all of this may turn some readers off, but again, it's your blog and you can choose to write what you like.
      I really do like this blog and check it daily. I have used many of your recipes and love the daily updates on what's going on around there. I look forward to more from you guys at Hickory Holler =)
      I hope that this doesn't turn any readers away, they would be missing out on great resource. Please don't keep your mouth shut either! I need lots more canning and preserving advice!

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    5. Darlene thank you for your kind words about my blog and I truly hope you will stick around. I did not intend for this post to come off political but more of an ethical and moral issue. I truly do write these type of blogs rarely. I do think that people my age ( late 50's, 60's and 70's) from that region are a bit sensitive on being considered racist. I do think that as an older person that the world has changed so drastically for us and we struggle to keep up with the times and issues. Maybe that is why my farm is my comfort zone and retreat from a world that as I age I seem to understand less and less.

      I truly hope that this does not turn anyone away as I do truly enjoy the people that visit and THEIR opinions and views also.

      You know that in the south back when I was a child girls were taught that political or religious topics of any type were unladylike and forbidden by girls in public. It is nice to have a voice but it is nicer to curb that voice lest it hurt someone unnecessarily.

      Hugs from Hickery Holler

      CQ

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  24. I don't care for or about Paula Deen, to be honest, but I will say that I'm sure NO ONE wants to be held responsible for something they did or said 20 or 30 years ago. I sure as hell don't. To do so is completely ridiculous.

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  25. While I condemn the treatment of Paula Deen at the hands of the media I had no idea she was party to such a deplorable brother. She is a true enabler.

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  26. Absolutely superb! How refreshingly honest. And thank you for using the word being discussed rather than the silly coded phrase of "n word". Events like this Paula Deen kerfuffle only keep us humans separate. Again...excellent job addressing this topic. So many agree with you.

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  27. Amen to that!! I had to log onto FaceBook and Like the I support Paula page. It is absolutely ridiculous that Paula's sponsors have cancelled contracts just because she was honest and said that she used that word many years ago. I'd like to know how many of those same people have never said that word or something else that is politically incorrect!?! And I'm sorry to say this, but it appears to me that Caucasians are running so scared in regards to racial issues, that over reactions like this one are common place. Good grief! Black people slander white people all the time and we are expected to turn the other cheek, but if a white person uses any incorrect term with regards to race, they are practically crucified.

    I grew up with "colored" friends (I'm probably your age) and have really good and true friends today that are black. My newest manager is Chinese and I love him - he's the best manager I ever had! If people are good, it doesn't matter what color they are. And for Paula to be treated so unjustly because she used a racial slur so many years ago is just stupid. I don't know what other word to call it.

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  28. I grew up in the south during the 60s. I too thought it was rather strange that Paula Deen was being taken to task for using a word that no matter how offensive was heard often at the time she said she used it. I commented to my husband that it really seemed like a lot of fuss over nothing and old news. I didn't mention my thoughts to anyone else, but noticed that many people I know have very definite ideas about Paula's issues. Most just seem to be their own personal opinions for or against without any real reasons behind them, but today I ran across the following from a very level headed facebook friend. I took his advise and it would appear that this is much deeper than just the "N-word" being used. I don't know if the information in the complaint is true or not, but it does make you think and wonder. That said this whole mess might end up being a boon for Paula Deen because many do seem to be up at arms and willing to totally support her during this time. It would be so nice if this could have been resolved in such a way that what is presented to the public would be accurate and complete information.
    here's the info I mentioned from my facebook friend...
    One of the problems we face today is the information comes to us — fast and furious. We've grown accustomed to seeing or hearing only the headlines, while never getting more than just what's on the surface. The problem I see with Facebook and other social media is that it gives us an opportunity to respond immediately to that information (or lack thereof) without ever really looking deeper. I've said and done things in my life of which I'm not proud. I've both defended and vilified without the benefit of perspective, so I'm not casting aspersions without some inward reflection. That being said, I've been bothered by all the hoopla surrounding the Paula Deen issue. There's a reason why corporations suddenly drop people. Usually it's because they've dug a little (sometime a lot) deeper than those of us who search the news for only enough information to which we can react. I've had this feeling that there was more there, so I only had to do a minimal digging. I offer this post of the official legal complaint lodged against Deen, her brother and her companies in 2011. Litigation in this matter is still ongoing, as demonstrated by her recent deposition, which has been in the news. However you can't read this without a raised eyebrow at the very least. For some it will mean an entire change of perspective. I leave it to you to judge. http://www.atlawblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Jackson-v.-Deen-et-al.-Complaint.pdf

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  29. I am in my mid-40's and have never understood this "race" thing. I thought we were all of the Human Race. Race has nothing to do with it. Just because I'm of Cherokee, Cheyenne, German, Scottish, Irish, and English decent does not mean I am any less human. My skin maybe a little differently colored than the next person but I am still of the Human Race and this race war crap needs to stop. We are all of the Human Race!! The pigmentation of our skin is what is making people get all up in each others face. Maybe it should be "pig" war instead because us humans sure can act like pigs sometimes and root around in the mud, throw mud, sling mud, waller in it, stink like it, and still be ugly even after all our mud baths.

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    1. Oh, and I'm a Southerner, born and bred. I'm not a racist, bigot, hick, hillbilly, redneck, etc. I'm a Southerner. I'm American. I'm Human.

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    2. Love ya right back big sis! And stop with those creamed peas and taters posts woman, you're killing my taste buds! They are watering so bad, I think I need a lifeboat!

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  30. I just want to say that I too am from the very deep south and presently live not very far from Paula Deen's hometown. The southern white people have moved on in life. Most do not dwell on the past about the long ago days of lynching, segregation, etc. Paula Deen has become an easy target. Her kindness and love for her southern heritage is being used against her. This is all about money and how to take from a successful white woman. The southern black people can not move on in life. They are constantly setting themselves back in time. They call each other the very words they are targeting Paula for. The black southern people are the most discriminators of any race on this planet. Paula Deens case is just a prime example of it.

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Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

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