Now that Southern soul food maven Paula Deen has shown her true colors, the only question is how much her multimillion-dollar cooking empire will suffer. A discrimination suit filed by Lisa Jackson, a White former manager at one of Deen’s restaurants made little news until the deposition became public this week.
In it, Deen admits that she has tolerated racist jokes, used the “n”word, is OK with her brother showing pornographic content to coworkers at their restaurants and once imagined giving him a “Southern-themed” wedding that would have had Black waiters dressed in pre-Civil War attire. In other words, one that would have hearkened back to those good old Confederacy days when Black folks were, you know, slaves. Do we even have to mention that said brother, Earl Hiers, is best known by the nickname Bubba?
Although there are undoubtedly some Black folks who will shrug off Deen’s easygoing racism, there are others who prefer not to indulge in collard greens with a side of ignorance. Twitter, which is dominated by a vocal African-American community, has already weighed in re-naming some of Deen’s signature dishes with more appropriate titles. (One example: “Massa-roni and Cheese.”)
It was easy to believe that Ann Coulter, in a story that also surfaced this week, refused to board a plane because the pilot was a black woman, since Coulter makes little effort to hide her white-privileged, racist thinking. (Despite that, the story is not true.) But for someone like the telegenic Deen, who has worked with, fed, and interacted with Black people for years, it’s much harder to see her as a card-carrying racist. But let’s not get it twisted. She is.