I'm 2 years older than Paula Deen and am having a hard time getting worked up about her use of the word nigger. Considering how and when I've heard it during my six decades on this planet, I used to believe that it was one of the first words that white people taught their kids to say after "ma ma" and "da da."
My first reaction to Paula Deen in fact was "damn..an honest white person."
When a white person tells me that they never use the word now, nor have they used it in the past, I don't believe them for a second. You see I've heard it coming from all sorts of so called friends, allies, acquaintances and lovers. Nigger rolled off their tongues as easily as it did some of the skin headed white supremacists that I've had the displeasure of meeting during my days as a television news reporter. Of course, those who considered themselves my friend, apologized profusely claiming not to know where “that” came from.
I know where it came from. We live in the United States of Amerikkka, a country stolen from the indigenous, built by blacks kidnapped from Africa, now lived in and ruled over by white euro-centric people who claim ignorance or amnesia. They just want all us brown and black people to get over it and stop reminding them of their thievery and on-going bigotry, now cloaked within their so called post racial first amendment rights to say and to do what they please, whenever they please.
Paula Deen didn't slip up. She fessed up. Said “hell yeah, I said it! What?” White privilege in full view for those who still need a clue.
We'd be a lot further along in this country if more people would admit they have no problem calling me a nigger when I'm looking at them, rather than waiting for me to step out of earshot.
I've always felt that it is better to know your enemy than to be blindsided by someone claiming to be friend or ally. Been there, had it happen. Ain't gonna let it happen again.
The word is not nearly as dangerous as it was back in the day. Times were when you heard it out loud, you were probably in a very precarious place, hopefully with a visible escape route. Most of the people yelling and screaming and cussing today about Paula Deen have never been in that kind of daily danger. They just heard us old people talk about it and feel they should be outraged too.
Today, it's a part of the general lexicon used by the young to talk amongst themselves. It's not that they don't see color or are more post racial then we the elderly, it's just that they grew up with it in a different context. The white kids learned it from black kids and black music. They even know the difference when the word is used by their peers or by their bigoted old grandfather. Ask your kids if you don't believe me.
It doesn't matter to them. It's just another word. If you ask them, they would tell us that it is time to get over it, because it is probably not going away anytime soon.
My point is....Nigger is a word. I use when I write. I use it when I talk. And it didn't break me or kill me back when it was a dangerous word and mattered.
The fact that some southern Kentucky fried white woman admits to using nigger as a regular part of her vocabulary is not gonna anger me nor make me sweat.
What pisses me off is that she built a cooking empire on the backs of all those bow tied, mammy kerchief wearing slaves who probably created the recipes upon which she makes millions.
Just another day in the United States of America from my point of view.
Make her pay for what she stole and I might get excited.