(A Direct Address from a Girl Raised Up North)
Ms. Deen! Ms. Deen! Ms. Deen! I was and am wondering how black crow tastes. Or better yet, how is that all time favorite meal, called, “foot in the mouth?” Whether baked, fried, boiled, sautéed or fricasseed; please know and understand that the proverbial jig is up! The other shoe has dropped and the fat lady has sung. In this case, she, the fat lady might even be you. Until recent days you have hummed a silent, racist tune in your deeply fried heart. No doubt to the beat of old “Dixie.” Whatever the case, your actions from years past and merely days ago have now caught up to you, with you and have cost you. Our dear Brother Malcolm (X) would call this, “chicken’s coming home to roost!” You know a lot about chicken, since you fry so many. You my dear gave the chickens the very map of words you spoke leading them directly back to you; in the end cooking your own goose.
While your words have surfaced and told on you, your heart and mind have proven to be more forthcoming showing the world exactly what you think of “black” people. I submit you are just one of so many who think, feel and behave this way; whether secretly like the KKK or openly like some politicians as evidenced by the treatment our President, Barack Obama and his family. These two groups may perhaps be one in the same. I have no doubt that some in the latter group are members of the former. The difference here is that you wore and wear an apron, not a hood. An apron as we know is an outer protective garment that covers primarily the front of the body in order to preserve clothes from wear, tear and damage. Unfortunately for you in this case, it did not cover the part of you that needed it the most, your mouth. Yet, fortunately for others, it exposed the parts that needed to be; your heart and mind. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
By now we all know you have been fired, and will not have your contract renewed by The Food Network at month’s end. Additionally, many sponsors are also dropping and disassociating from you and your current image. Yet, many have rallied to your defense, started online petitions and even held boycotts against the network for their decision. It is shocking to me and too many that they decided to go this route with such an aggressive reprimand for your egregious and irreproachable acts. Is this the right decision? Absolutely! As it sends a very loud and clear message, about what will and will not be allowed and tolerated by major media outlets and corporations. I applaud the network for making and taking such a stand.
While it does offer some sense of a wrong being righted, does your vilification make us (black people) feel a true sense of vindication? Or somehow less discriminated against? Does this ease the painful, reality that many, actually all of us, live with every day we are in our beautiful, skin? Possibly, even if for just a moment or two. These questions however and although rhetorical, need to be asked and the answers pondered. Because ultimately firing you does not rid the world of racism, racists or of behaviors and beliefs like yours. No more than Don Imus being fired for his wrong doing in 2007 made the world less discriminatory. It merely highlights with a very bright marker and underscores with a very bold line a terrible truth that must continue to be told. Racism is real; alive & well and will never go away!
So here we are again, on this page in history. Yet I believe, at least hope this will start and continue a discourse and to raise consciousness. Beyond that and if for nothing more than noting by way of you being an example that one cannot hide behind television shows, aprons, counter tops and recipes. Nor blame the environment and time in which you were raised for your actions. Instead Paula, during this life pause for you, think about remixing your mindset or at the very least, “put a lid on it,” deep freeze it and keep it there! While you are there, do create a new dish; one that is beautiful, healthy and more pleasing to all moral sensibilities and palettes. Of course hold the racial additives and prejudice preservatives. Then have someone who is not black or dressed like a slave serve it to you. Please & thank you kindly Ma’am! After all presentation is everything; just a thought. Good luck & bon appetite!