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The GEM Debate: The N Word And Why Paula Deen Can’t Say It (VIDEO)

Paula Deen

The GEM Debate:
The N Word And Why Paula Deen
Can’t Say It (VIDEO)

The N word.  We all know what it means and most have heard its hateful use.

I’m assuming a lot of us know what happened, but let’s go over what could very well turn out to be one of the biggest fireballs  in cooking history.  Paula Deen, of southern cooking fame and fortune, according to USA Today, “admitted in a deposition that was part of a lawsuit that she had in the past used racial epithets and tolerated racial jokes in the workplace.”  Then, after the worst had happened (or so we thought), she said some more stuff. Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, it sort of did.


But there are those of us, me, I’ll say, who wonders if Deen should be getting as much flack for her use of the word.  Personally, I don’t use it and cringe every time one of my friends or acquaintances does. I do listen to rap and rappers who have been known to spit it out not just sprinkled throughout the song, but as the title. “Some of my best friends are white” and in jest I’ve heard (and accepted) them using the word.  So what is the big deal about Deen? I’ll tell you.

First, she’s a business owner who (allegedly) said this word to an employee. That’s illegal. Hiring people with prejudice to their skin color or making the work enviroment hostile is a huge no-no. So just as a business woman she should have known better.

Secondly from what I’ve seen,  Deen has some work to do on speaking to and about black people. Deen is from the,”old south” but anyone who lives in America should, at this point, know better, especially when you have an empire to protect.

But she’s not alone in the work that must be done. I don’t blame rappers or anyone else for using the N word; it’s a word. What we do with it is what gives it power.  Defining something as negative is what makes it negative.  For example: if kids are using it because they heard their parents use it, then it means nothing to them because it hasn’t been given a definition. Teens use it (white and black and every other race) because someone told them it is cool.  Being out of the teen loop I don’t really know what definition it has for them, but when they use it I can only guess that it just means their friend. My white friends use it because they think it makes them hip and black.  It doesn’t, but that’s the definition they have for it.  They know it is wrong and wouldn’t dare use it around anyone with whom they haven’t already met and formed a relationship with.  Rappers use it because it gives them hood status and mostly shock value. So from the standpoint, there are those who can use the word and there are those who can’t.  Deen has proven what her definition is and that is another reason why she shouldn’t be using it and can’t use it whereas a rapper or maybe others can.  That’s completely not fair, but Deen seems to understand disparity so…

Paula Deen is a woman who knows many things.  She knew what that word meant and she knew what would happen when she said it.  There’s no redefining it for her, but maybe she can redefine herself for us?

More from GEM:

The GEM Debate: Right Or Racist…Can You Call A City Fat?

The GEM Debate: Is The Race Card Over-Played?

Life Lessons: Issa Rae (VIDEO)



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