I’ve been to The Lady and Sons, the renowned Savannah, GA., restaurant owned by America’s lard-loving Food Network star Paula Deen. Not gonna lie: we waited on line for an hour, easy, to eat there, and when we finally got in, we worked that buffet like a stripper does a pole on a hot summer Saturday night. Fried chicken and whiting, greens, candied yams, gooey macaroni and cheese, homemade biscuits and jelly—we swallowed it all down. And when we finally looked up from our plates, we came to what we were sure was a pretty logical conclusion: wasn’t nothing but black folks back there in that kitchen stirring those pots.
You can’t fool me. I was raised in the North but I’m the child of Black Southerners with soul food all up in my fingertips and deep in my bones. We created and mastered the cuisine. Paula Deen was simply smart enough to slap a picture of herself and her All-American sons on the door while a kitchen full of Negroes toil in the steam and sizzle of her restaurant, doing all the hard work while their jolly, finger-licking boss takes all the credit.
You know—that great Southern tradition.
But word on the streets and in court depositions suggests that the Dumpy Dumpling of Dixie has been acting more like the plantation mistress than benevolent employer of talented black chefs and waitstaff at her popular Georgia restaurants. Lisa Jackson claims in a $1.2 million lawsuit that Deen used the “N-word” on several occasions, and that the restaurateur’s brother, Bubby Heirs, sexually assaulted her during a five-year stint as the general manager of Deen’s Georgia restaurants.
While she’s claiming in public releases today that she just loves her some black folk, Deen admitted in a court deposition taken last month that she’s said “nigger” before.
“Yes, of course,” the 66-year-old chef said when Jackson’s attorney asked her if she’s ever said it.
She went on to admit that she’s also been known to tell a few racists jokes, too, and struggled to answer when asked if she thought those kinds of jokes are “mean.”
*insert image of Denene making dead fish eyes here*
A teeny weeny spot on my buttery soul would just love to believe Paula’s statement today that she “does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable.” But the rest of my dark brown bottom knows better…
Read the rest of my essay on Paula Deen, Black Twitter’s #PaulaDeenDishes and why “The Lady” of the popular Savannah restaurant The Lady and Sons can stick her butter where the sun don’t shine on CocoaFab.com.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.
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Oh my Gods, it isn’t just that she used the term, it is HOW she used it:
“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n***ers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around. Now, that would be a true Southern wedding wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.” http://gawker.com/paula-deen-says-of-course-she-uses-the-n-word-514272160
Sure, I’m white, I’ve used the n-word, but it was in a discussion to my kids as to what words are bad, encouraging them to not use such language, to correct people when they use them, and that they better be prepared for some sea salt soap should those words ever come from their mouths. Not in some hateful, backwards, “let’s go back to the original picnic” sort of garbage.
Lin: Thank you for your comment. I purposefully did not include those alleged comments in my piece because they came from The National Enquirer. Which is not a source I trust. The quotes in this post came from several reliable, reputable news sources that I know would have had the deposition in hand before they printed their stories. But you are right: context is every bit as important as the actual word. But I still don’t rock with anyone who uses it to describe or insult others or who use it in jokes. That word is no joking matter in my book—no matter what color you are.
I always knew Paula Deen was full of it. Phoney as the day is long. I’m a native New Yorkers but I’ve lived in Georgia for the last 25 years and I have experienced racist here among co-workers and southern white and blacks that are disgusted to me in 2013. I can’t even imagine what my ancestors went thru to be insulted by these morons and here it is 2013 and it still hurts. I have no doubt that Paula Deen used her black staff to step on and become the so called icon she is today. But you know what they say “Karma is a bitch” and it will come back to bite her in that lilly white big ass of hers.
This is just bananas. She is soooo syrupy sweet on TV and it always made me appreciate her ‘Southerness’. Unfortunately, the other part showed up. I think her stock will straight plummet.
Your absolutely correct about who was in the back cooking that food. I lived in Savannah for ten years, and went to her restaurant before she even had the show on The Food Network. Her reputation is well know, and it’s not that “hi ya’ll” facade she puts on when she’s on tv. I don’t know why she didn’t just settle for the 1.5 million and make the lady sign a confidentiality agreement. Now she’s pretty much ruined, and Oprah better not interview her and try to give her a pass!