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Paula Deen Talks to Matt Lauer, As One More “Sinned” Against Than Sinning

A tearful Deen explains herself to Lauer as a decent person who's distraught, hurt--and the victim of "lies" from "someone evil."

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Last Friday, Paula Deen was supposed to talk to Matt Lauer on the Today Show to talk the charges of racism that came from her admissions in a deposition for a workplace-discrimination lawsuit. She cancelled the interview, saying she was unwell, and later that day posted several apology videos that expressed regret, while pointedly not specifying for what, exactly.

Deen finally made it to Today Wednesday morning, in a tearful, raw interview that made clear, in a forum where she’d often been a welcome guest, that she had been badly upset by the past week’s events. But her main message was how badly she had been hurt—hurt by “lies,” by exaggerations, by the loss of business, and by attacks on her public image.

Deen’s appearance was emotional, affecting, and often uncomfortable. But if you expected her to tell Lauer that she hurt anyone else with her past language, or understands how she hurt them, keep waiting. This was much more about how much Deen has been hurt. “There’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for,” she said, “and they wanted it.” If you have no sin, Deen told the audience, “please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me.”

For herself, though, Deen clearly believed she’d already taken more stones than she deserved. To Lauer, she echoed a couple of the defenses that her fans have been making for her all week.

First, she gave a version of the “black people use that word too” defense, when Lauer asked if she could see now that “the n-word” was offensive to African Americans. She didn’t entirely know, she said, because “It offends me when I go into my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other. It’s very distressing… It makes my skin crawl.” Fair enough. Some African Americans also have argued that no one, black, white, or otherwise, should use the word. But it’s another, historically obtuse thing to claim that it’s no different for a white person use it than a black person; that’s essentially to say that racial history doesn’t exist or no longer matters. (And I frankly don’t get why some white people are so hung up on the unfairness of not getting to use one crappy word.)

Second, there was the argument that Deen is too loving and well-meaning a person to be racist. I’ve been hearing a lot of that too: that Deen voted for Obama, for instance, and how could a racist do that? (Some campaign reports from 2008, by the way, try to explain exactly why they could, like the Pennsylvania man who replied to a canvasser, “We’re votin’ for the nigger!”)

The fallacy here is that there are two kinds of people: the 100% non-prejudiced, and the absolute, venomous, hateful bigots. That’s not life. I can gladly believe that Deen is loving and well-meaning and good-hearted toward people of different races. That doesn’t mean, say, that she can’t find it nostalgically attractive to have a plantation-style wedding with an all-black waitstaff dressed antebellum-style, or that there’s still not a problem with it that she should at least acknowledge.

Deen didn’t address that aspect of her testimony, though, largely because Lauer didn’t ask. (He did ask about her saying she “probably” used the slur other times; she now says she absolutely didn’t, yet also says she answered truthfully.) Keeping the focus on whether she said one word, and how many times, and who else gets to say it avoids those bigger questions of attitudes, and the workplace atmosphere that the original lawsuit alleged. That itself is a p.r. victory for her: if the only question in the first place was whether she used one slur, one time, decades ago, she would not have nearly the same problems today.

None of which is to say people won’t, or shouldn’t, forgive her. People do make mistakes. People say stupid things. I’m sure that people have done worse things in the past and paid less for them than Deen has, and there needn’t be a professional death penalty for every past mistake a public figure makes. I can’t weigh Deen’s contrition on some cosmic scale, but however sorry she is, it’s hard to say she hasn’t suffered. Deen said that her critics don’t know her heart, and she’s right. Who knows any celebrity’s heart? They just know what she said, or said she did, and they were probably expecting her to address that fully here.

But as for anyone who was hurt by what Deen admitted to, her Today appearance was clearly not aimed at them. It was much more focused on fans who already like her and are disposed to forgive. They will, I’m guessing, and others may eventually forget or move on, but Deen made clear she believes the time for throwing stones is over.

166 comments
bube4144
bube4144

Well Matt once again the "BIG BULLY" that you are is on the rampage, first you went after Ann Curry now it's Paula Deen who is next on your "HIT LIST"? 

Karl
Karl

This poor woman has been dragged through the mud by the holier than thou media and the spotlessly clean big box stores. Target, which recently advertised  the color for a plus-sized woman's dress as "manatee grey" certainly deserves to toss a stone. If everyone who has ever used the n-word had a tattoo on the their forehead the only people in the USA without that tattoo would be people who speak no English and children not yet in school. Give me a break. I'm going to Amazon.com to order her book. She deserves to sell that cook book in this hypocritical country. And oh yes,I voted for Obama twice, so I guess I'm just another evil racist.

Wałęsa
Wałęsa

@Karl Do you have a clue as to what the actual lawsuit is about? There is so much more alleged than just the "use of a word." Do you read?

Karl
Karl

@Wałęsa @Karl Apparently you have a tatooed forehead too. Welcome to Woodstock 2013!

cFunk
cFunk like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

If you read the legal complaint, you learn that Paula Deen and her brother Bubba are just horrible, awful people:

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

Raven218
Raven218 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@cFunk Oh sweet lord, someone has referenced the facts! Blessings upon your house:-)

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@Raven218 @cFunk does the facts matter to folks who enjoy harboring hatred that they themselves don't even understand. they'd rather ignore it and wallow in ignorance. *sigh*

Karl
Karl

@cFunk My uncle's name was Bubba. Go to Hell!

g422171
g422171 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

A plantation party? Really? And Paula Deen was alive during the slave era on plantations?  Hey while we're at it, lets throw an Auschwitz party and dress up like Nazi's because want to remember what the world was like in the 30s and 40s?  I believe in the freedom to be able to throw any kind of party you want, but why celebrate an era of inhumanity?  I'm sorry but if you're doing stuff like that because you enjoy it, then that does say something about you whether you want it to or not.

b2998
b2998 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I will say it again..why don't we just fire everyone who has ever said a raciest, sexist, anti-gay word against anyone, no better yet why don't we just shoot them!  OH WAIT...THEN NOBODY WOULD BE ALIVE.   People look in your own closet before you start throwing stones.


Jarhead2
Jarhead2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Paula Deen owes no one an apology. Matt Lauer on the other is a punk, who acts tough and righteous. No wonder the Today Show is falling in the ratings. Our country has lost the freedom of speech and now it is taking away our freedom of thought. Putting labels on people is a farce. If you dislike a black, asian, Latino or whoever you are considered a racist. That's complete BS. There is not a person alive who can say that he or she loves everyone. What ever happened to "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me"? Live and let live! 

gumpr123
gumpr123 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The world has changed. Before when you made a mistake you apologize and were forgiven. Now days when you make a mistake you are chastised and everyone is out for you. I doesn't matter all the good you have done but one strike against you and you are doomed. Bill Clinton came out of his problem with no problems. This is how the world is changing. We all look for the bad in people and do not look for the positive in people. We all need to help and not attack each other. I know that Matt Lauer  Never had any strikes against him. He can attack his guest because it is his show and he has no skeletons in his closet.

chickenman19552
chickenman19552 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Dean admits when she said to her grand child you got Ginny in trouble with your mommie and daddy , when you said I let you stay up late, what she is saying her grand child should of lied! ----and then she says trying to make herself seem so religious and so pure and good how she does not like 2 types of people...liars and thieves ! .....she is a product of divorced woman's libbers who will say and do anything to be a woman's libber ....and tout there monies and dress the part with rings and jewelery and hair doo's and make up and fake cap teeth ...these people are far from real . ask Martha Stewart ...another divorced woman's libber ...this is damage control of 1 thing ...there pocket books size for there money! .....has Paula Dean given 1 cent to native American schools or education/or black American schools or education  or any inner cities youth groups ....hell now just tout them old fashion plantation weddings with black servants she calls N-I-G-G-E R S

BobbiesuePitt
BobbiesuePitt

I am white and I honestly feel there are far more many black people that are racist that white.  A lot of black people have chips on their shoulders for something (slavery) They wait for a chance like this to pull the race card.  I could care less if anyone called me a cracker.  It's insane that people can say whatever they want ...but don't say the N word.  Not one person alive today has every been a slave.  Get over it and maybe the word would be meaningless.  

troybliss
troybliss

Travon martin said cracker on his phone to a girlfriend describing zimmerman but that is ok what a Double standard.we have you can say the c word but not the n word blacks are much more racis what about the white woman in Jersey. That was Beting buy a black man dering her house robbery she is in the hospital she was punched and kicked Repeatedly. it is on a home nany cam but that is not races and you Hardly hear about it.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@troybliss are you kidding me! this fatback wannabe cop w/ a preoccupation w/ black males followed this innocent young man and he mentions in a private conversation that this creep is a creepy cracker, which he had all right to say considering this society is very aware of the violent racist attacks by white men on black men and that's your complaint? that's your justification for paula deen? you ppl sicken me beyond description. you carry the sickness of your ancestors in your genes. you'd think that with a seemingly more evolved generation, you all would abandon certain attitudes. i'm so sick of this.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq    okay SukePukie. I'm sorry for pointing out your mistakes. it's just that you said you were a professor and i just expected more from you. :(.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq

Do you know what capitalization is?

"that have" is also correct, but I am not proofreading all my posts.


Funny that you are looking so hard at mine for any flaw.  You write at about the 5th grade level, you have several bad mistake per sentence, and most of your posts are not even in sentence form.


SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq

Now you are just making up lies, poor thing.   

It is sad when I see black people that have been admitted to our program without the basic skills in place, but this happens all too often.  In fact I have been told more than once I can not fail a black person even if they never show up.  Maybe this is what happened with you, all your teachers were afraid to tell you that you are not at all intelligent or give you the grades you deserved.


KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq @KinkyBlackGirl i guess that makes it better? maybe. if you're "teaching" older ppl, they may have already formed their own opinions, so you can't corrupt them. either way, they deserve better . it's sad that if in fact you're a "professor" (yikes) that your educational development did not cause a shift in your racist attitudes, or better yet, elevate you beyond 6th grade name calling, "N_gger girl?" come on Sicko, I mean Suke, surely you could have done better than that? disappointing.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq a teacher with no critical thinking or basic comprehension skills, who is racist. it is clear what's wrong with the education system. your students deserve better. poor things.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq @KinkyBlackGirl @troybliss hahaha. exactly. you have proved exactly what i say about you sick twisted psychotic poor in the pocket and poor in the mind racist idiots. paula deen and george zimmerman are exactly like you and this is why they are currently in their predicaments. thank you psychomadickhead.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq 

Zimmerman will be found not guilty.  Good news for you as you can riot and burn businesses of hard working Koreans and steal a new TV!

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq I know. George Zimmermoron was absolutely "a gun owning thug and piece of crap." You're right. Unfortunately, he wasn't the one slaughtered. hopefully they'll fry that fatback in prison. though, it's highly unlikely considering there are more racists popping up their ugly heads...hopefully, none of those are on that jury :). but ummmm... how bout that Paula Deen and her plantation themed wedding??????

clvidr
clvidr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I think people are nosey bored and have nothing better to do.people need to mind there own business things would be much more pleasant in the world

ocseahorse
ocseahorse like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

  Paula is totally being attacked for something almost all of us has done at one point or another.  Only because she is a big name is everyone totally overreacting. Even the Black race says this word (to each other, about someone they know and even to their friends and family) and probably alot more that Paula did.  As far as I am concerned there is nothing she has done to forgive her for. HEY PEOPLE ... She didn't kill anyone ! I think these people at the Food Network (who started all of this mess ) and the media should remember the saying we all said as kids "STICKS AND STONES CAN BREAK MY BONES ... BUT WORDS CANNOT HURT ME!"  Paula is a wonderful person and hasn't done anything to hurt anyone.  She is human and has made some mistakes, the same as all of us, SO WHAT !!  Get over it people.

KCY
KCY like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@ocseahorse This is simply not true! Not all of us have used that word! I am 43 years old and have NEVER used that word  and I have never thought a plantation party where blacks would serve me would be fun and reminiscent of a beautiful era of American history. THat is disgusting. That is racism plain and simple. And most people in the West and the North do NOT use that word. Maybe in the South y'all do...but it's time to stop. 

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@KCY @ocseahorse Thank you KCY. It's people such as yourself that keep me optimistic about humans on a whole. I can boldly and proudly say that I have been in the company of some good genuine beautiful white people among people of other races who do not seek to divide or unify by ignoring facts, truth and feelings. thank you.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq @KCY @ocseahorse 

Adjust my tampon?  Keeping it real classy, for the ghetto maybe.  But OK, your tampon is probably an entire bail of cotton that has not been changed since the Reagan administration.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq @KinkyBlackGirl @KCY @ocseahorse i may be "ugly" to YOU, but at least i can show my face unlike you who either has a fake image of some demented white supremacist group or you are exactly what you are, a punk ass online racist thug who can't face anyone, hides behind computers and type tough. adjust your tampon SickoSuke...your ass reeks of age old funk.

jomi02
jomi02

@SukeMadiq @KinkyBlackGirl @KCY @ocseahorse I totally agree with Suke....Kinky is ugly....inside.  It's so sad when a human sounds so miserable within that all of us can feel it just by reading these few blurbs.  I have to leave this page cause I don't allow life's negative vibes to hold on to me for more than a moment or two.  Good luck all  :) 

ocseahorse
ocseahorse

@KCY @ocseahorse I did not say ALL OF US, first of all.  I said ALMOST all of us.  And by the way, you cannot speak for MOST PEOPLE anywhere because you do not know what is being said in the privacy of their homes.  And KCY even if you haven't said it, I'm sure you have said something else is your lifetime you wish you could take back.  As far as her plantation party, the last I checked,  We live in America and have the freedom to celebrate in any way we choose.  I look at that the same way as I look at people who want to fly the confederate flag, that was all part of our history (all of our history, not just black or white).

ictdco
ictdco like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

As the author of the article writes "...I frankly don’t get why some white people are so hung up on the unfairness of not getting to use one crappy word."  

In answer to Patty Taylor, I am a white woman who thinks Paula Deen is outstanding in being obtuse.  Unfortunately, I don't think she's alone--as Ms. Taylor in her support of Deen makes apparent.  Since most white people have never faced the harshness of slavery or the unholy continuation of 150 years of bigotry, there is absolutely no way any of us can say with certainty we would be any less offended by the actions or words of people, like Deen, who should know better.  

I read Black Like Me when I was a sophomore in high school for a class I took.  We had a major discussion on many aspects brought to awareness.  This was before busing was used to solve the problem of disparate education and the disruption of the black community to solve those problems.  Anyway, I was amazed at how many in class--including the teacher--who were totally unable and unwilling to see how words can affect someone.  That old adage that words can hurt is so wrong.  

Just because someone in a particular community uses a term that when spoken by someone outside that community is a slur doesn't mean it's a term that should be used by any self-respecting person.  When Samuel Clemons uses it in his book, it is appropriate because of the time period.  Today it is a totally different matter.  

I'm a blonde.  There are times I am called a ditzy blonde.  Depending on who is using it determines how I react to the words.  That is true of the word Deen acknowledges using.  She has no business using that term--ever.  Jesse Jackson, should he use it, is a different situation (even though I don't think he should use it either).   Both these people, and others like them, know better and, in the case of Deen and others like her, who spout terms to make them bigots, if they get flack deserve the reaction and need to deal with and apologize honestly and fervently (hopefully they will mean the apology).


SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@ictdco

"Since most white people have never faced the harshness of slavery "


You need to read history, every race has been enslaved.   How many black people in the USA have known slavery?  None.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq@ictdco " or the unholy continuation of 150 years of bigotry...." did you forget that apart along with the other many paragraphs of logical, sensisble, factual information. for a"professor" (comedy) you should know better than to extract a fraction of sentence, isolate it and try to argue a point. hmmm...wonder what subject you teach, "dumbingitdown 101"? 


KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@SukeMadiq @KinkyBlackGirl forgive him dear Creator of the Universe. It is extremely apparent that Suke Wookie is a piss poor pseudo-psychotic "professor" (that's the funniest thing i've seen all year" who shows sign of internal trauma and so he lashes out on those he wants to believe is beneath him. i know i shouldn't make fun of the mentally unstable, but how do you not crack yourself up over this fizzled firecracker! btw, "blacks even look down on darker skinned blacks." yes...that occurs, it's called internalized oppression...google it. education is free you know!

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq

So what, nobody gets along with blacks in any country!   You guys fight with Jews, with Mexicans, and with other blacks.  Asians really hate you!

Blacks even look down on darker skinned blacks!

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@KinkyBlackGirl @SukeMadiq @ictdco 

My grandfather came over from Ireland and saw signs like "Dirty Irishmen need not apply" in store windows.  He never bitched about needing affirmative action though.

Jarhead2
Jarhead2

@ictdco Everyone at one time or another has been a slave After time most people forget and move on with their lives - some don't.

KinkyBlackGirl
KinkyBlackGirl

@ictdco you've warmed my heart. thank you for being truthful, open and wonderfully human. it's people like yourself and KCY that keep me from needing to generalize and to stay open to ppl with good souls. thank you.

Raven218
Raven218 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@ictdco Thank you. As a Black woman, I have to say that I do not as a rule discuss race with white people. So many of the comments here and in other places regarding this Paula Deen matter I think support my resignation that the information, cultural, and experience divides are just too great. But your comment reminds me that a receptive mind and some intellectual curiosity trump cynicism every time! Be well.