The media frenzy and rabid, foaming at the mouth impugnment of Paula Deen’s character is rubberneckingly amazing. The media, corporations and politicians have not only thrown her down a hole, but they are now using a plunger to send her further down and pull her back out so they can assail her even more – and sell more ad space, deflect attention and milk the witch hunt for all its worth.
I have no need to explore Paula’s cultural heritage, character, remorse, rehabilitation, upbringing or Christic morality regarding the matter. What I find more interesting are the corporations who are severing all ties with her and putting as much distance between them and her as they can. Why?
They are all hypocrites. We live in a society whose mob mentality embraces revenge, punishment, ostracization, fear and unforgiveness. The irony is that many of these corporations probably have people on their boards who are far worse “racists” but are smart enough to never admit it. This will teach people to paint over their windows of transparency.
Nobody is the worse thing they’ve ever done or said and we’ve ALL said or done things we may not be proud of. Whether those things have gotten us in trouble or fired does not negate the fact that we may have learned from those experiences, grown from them, changed or even made restitution and asked for forgiveness. Many people go so far as to work more hard to prove themselves as worthy and productive members of society in the process of that reinvention.
If someone asks for forgiveness and we don’t offer it, what does that say about us? I’d rather have a repentant criminal live next door to me than a surreptitious “good guy” who has never been caught. For those of us who are Christians, while on the cross, Jesus took a repentant convicted criminal to paradise with him, not an honest man like all those “good” people who accused, convicted, leered and denied him.
As an aside, (Did anyone see the movie “The Gathering?” It was about [spoiler alert] the people who witnessed the crucifixion and did nothing to stop it. They were condemned to spend eternity witnessing the worse atrocities humanity inflicts upon itself for, not to act is to act. ( For instance, the church must condone war since it does little to stop it)).
The corporations who severed their ties with Paula are blind. All they are doing is tearing down and destroying in an effort to either get people to notice how superior and ethical they are or, to deflect attention away from themselves (Look how evil Paula is and how good we are because we threw her to the curb. We’re not hateful, prejudice or evil as she is. Look at our moral superiority by denouncing her and her wickedness).
If I were in charge of one of these corporations, I’d embrace Paula and design an ad campaign using Paula and focusing the ad on race relations, the destructive force of prejudice and how we can heal from hate. I would show the world what hate looks like, what it can do and what we are doing to help heal the wounds of ignorance. Then combine it with coupons and events to promote healing, attract attention to the good we are doing rather than what we are not doing and of course, sell product. What is that age old axiom about honey, vinegar and flies?
When all you do is destroy, disown and dissolve, you can’t heal or build. These companies are cutting off their noses to spite their face. So far, these companies are The Food Network, Walmart (a paragon of race and fair wage relations) Caesars Entertainment (gambling is not an addiction but bring your credit card anyway), Target now has her in their cross-hairs (Target finds it acceptable to sell products made by minors working for $2 a day in Asian sweatshops. Their PR teams are thanking Deen for diverting attention away) and Smithfield Foods.
Smithfield issued a statement saying “As an ethical food leader, it is important that our values and those of our spokespeople are properly aligned.”
Smithfield has ethics? Their use of gestation crates would seem to be at odds with that. Not to mention all the land they have contaminated with feces-ridden runoff. The very fact that they have the gall to use the word “ethical” when referring to themselves strikes me as ludicrous.
Novo Nordisk which produces the drug Victoza has dumped Paula, too. Victoza is a drug for people with diabetes. Paula was a spokesperson for Victoza while at the same time she was promoting lifestyle and dietary changes in an effort to battle diabetes. I’m sure that that competitive opinion didn’t sit well with Novo Nordisk who would rather that people afflicted with diabetes take their drug instead of putting down that doughnut and getting exercise. Paula’s alternative method of healing certainly had nothing to do with Novo Nordisk breaking their contract with her, I’m sure. But her use of the N-word, the concision of insult, came at a convenient time.
The ancient art of the invective has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries more. It won’t stop by firing Paula and negating all the good she did and is further capable of doing, but, imagine what could be accomplished by using her to educate people and proffering a little forgiveness laced with mercy and grace.
I have no doubt that Paula is going to reinvent herself and come back bigger and better. The question is, which savvy corporation is going to align with her and make a big score when she does have a lucrative comeback? Paula, I’m in! But all I have is ten bucks.