Paula Deen, Proposition 8, and the sometimes-nuance of bigotry

Quite a week.

Paula Deen brings the “N” word into national discourse, and the Supreme Court strikes down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

Yet, a day after this stunning reversal in our march toward civil rights, the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned, and marriage equality is affirmed.

It’s hard to make sense of it all. But here are two lessons I’ve taken from this week.

The first lesson is about our consumer culture and the role of brands.

Paula Deen has been a train wreck this week because she doesn’t understand the difference between a celebrity and a brand. She thinks she’s a celebrity. She’s wrong.

The Paula Deen brand is a fantasy of southern warmth and graciousness, based around comfort food. It’s a fantasy world where racism (and diabetes) don’t exist.

Paul Deen (photo courtesy of the Food Network)

Paul Deen (photo courtesy of the Food Network)

The first blow to the fantasy was her admission that she is in fact diabetic. The uproar over that should have been her first clue to her existence as a brand. Consumers project their hopes and aspirations onto a brand – we all wanted to believe we could eat Paula’s butter-laden food without consequence. When you rip that dream away from us, we get mad.

We also don’t want moral complexity from our brands.

When asked under oath is she’d ever used the “N” word, Deen replied: “Of course.”

It was the worst possible answer – albeit true and authentic to her culture and upbringing. Two sticks of butter we can take, but please don’t serve us the brutal honesty, and reality, of race relations in America. No one has an appetite for that!

Failing to understand brand dynamics, her horrendous defense this week has only made the problem worse, and her brand has become aligned with Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, among others.

And the Food Network and Smithfield Foods, fully understanding brand dynamics, have run as quickly as they could away from her.

The second lesson is about our need to simplify and reduce people to a single label.

In both the Paula Deen brouhaha, and during the Prop 8 battle, we saw how people are sometimes treated as brands instead of, well, people.

Labeling Paula Deen a racist makes all of us feel better about our own degrees of racism – we can point to “it” over there, as if none of “it” was also inside of us. When we divide the world up that way, and group people as racist, homophobic, sexist, etc., we risk reducing them to something more like brands, than like the people they truly are. We deprive them of the ability to be complex, to grow, and to change. Even the redemption narrative, so common in our culture, requires a bipolar theory of life: you were one thing, now you’re redeemed and you’ve become its opposite.

This point came home to me reading about a family in California that had been very involved in the fight in favor of Proposition 8 – the ballot measure that repealed, and banned, gay marriage in California in 2008 (and was just, de facto, struck down by the Supreme Court).

From the LA Times:

Wendy Montgomery, 37, of Bakersfield and her husband supported Proposition 8 in 2008 but changed their position “180 degrees” after they learned their 13-year-old son was gay a year and a half ago. Montgomery, a practicing Mormon, said she voted for the measure and spent a couple of days canvassing and working on a phone bank for it.

“We’re Mormon. The church asked us to participate in Prop. 8, and we did, pretty much unthinking,” she said.

When her son came out, he told his parents he had at first planned never to tell them he was gay, because he thought they hated gay people because they had supported Proposition 8.

I suspect in 2008 most of us would have described the Montgomerys as homophobes and bigots.

But what seems clear now is that they are in fact thoughtful loving people who work hard to incorporate their faith with the reality of everyday life. They are complex people, capable of growth and change — and change they did, for the better. They are exactly the sort of people I’d like to have in my life, and they’ve exhibited exactly the kind of change the gay community should welcome.

That doesn’t excuse what the Montgomerys did in 2008.  But it does suggest that there was, and is, more nuance to their bigotry than first met the eye. (See Ken Mehlman, or Senator Portman.)

If we’re to stay on a path toward justice, we need to create a world where Paula Deen, the Montgomerys, the Mehlmans and the Portmans of the world are discussed in public discourse as full people, not simply as bipolar labels incapable of imperfection, or improvement. A world where their own personal growth (and the potential for it) is supported, cultivated and acknowledged, along with our own.

In the future, I’m going to try to do better embracing the complexity of my fellow human beings, and avoiding labels.

And butter.

(Originally posted by Mike Bento to his personal blog.)


Mike Bento is a branding and marketing consultant based in Washington DC, with clients in the non-profit, corporate and government sectors. Mike was one of the founding volunteers of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and serves on the board of Food and Friends, in Washington DC. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeBento.

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  • Whitewitch

    Being a woman in her late 50’s and growing up in California I am happy to say we did not hear such language in my household…and had my mother heard it from our lips I would have been spitting soap for a week from the mouth washing I received. I am glad to say I was not raised in such a way…albeit there were problems in my family – thankfully this was not one.

  • caphillprof

    Facts, not rationalizations.

  • dcinsider

    I agree with SC on this one. The Montgomery’s may not have realized how vile and hateful their actions were, but neither did Southern plantation owners.

    When the Civil War ended, and those Southern plantation owners were forced to free their slaves, they did not have a change of heart about slavery. They simply lost.

    In this case, the Montgomery’s chose not to reject their child. I would hardly call that behavior to praise.

  • dcinsider

    Wish I could like something more than once.

  • Turanga Leela

    “I knew enough to be a decent human being at 10″

    So what happened between then and now?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You did know that Jackson is dead, dead, dead?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Good lord, do I ever wish Joe Bageant were still here today.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s nearly impossible to think about a D-list SiFi story like the Mormon church.

  • Joehio

    And who elected you king of the gays? If you’re incapable of forgiving, I feel bad for you because you will have a miserable life. There’s a saying that ‘Resentment is like acid: it eats its own container’.And if really think you sit on some throne of judgment and can dictate who and what other people are allowed to forgive or embrace (especially John on his own blog), then you’ve got a serious delusions of grandeur.

  • Joehio

    Exactly. I haven’t set foot in a church in decades and I couldn’t now believe lots of what I was taught in 12 years of Catholic school even if I wanted to. But I still absolutely believe this – there is no such thing as good or bad people, only good or bad actions and thoughts. The nuns taught me that, and I still believe it. No, make that know it. The longer I live, the more I see that nobody is even close to perfect, that even the best people do some crummy things and the people you want to give up on will sometimes pleasantly surprise you.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I completely agree about what passes for leadership these days. I respect the people who stood up for gay rights before it was a popular thing to do. Waiting until marriage equality was polling over 50% was hardly courageous. Jumping on the bandwagon before it speeds away from you is hardly an act of leadership. Sadly, there are too many pollsters, advisers and consultants around any elected official these days. I think many start out meaning well but after a few years even they don’t know what they think about any issue without consulting the latest focus groups.

  • Joehio

    Not really. To me, this is just another example of how our understanding of nearly everything is socially conditioned. That was the whole point of Michel Foucault’s body of work: our concepts of criminal, of healthy and sick, of sane and insane, of “normal” have changed over time as society has changed.

    I believe all the credit for the victories we have seen lately really goes to the people who started changing the culture decades ago. Armistead Maupin, Patricia Nell Warren, Alice Walker, Larry Kramer, Ru Paul, Elton John, Ellen Degeneres, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, “La Cage aux Folles” and “Will & Grace” all did more to promote equality than any current politician or judge, because they changed the way our society thinks.

    The politicians and judges are really just playing catch-up to a society that changed around them while they were all just timidly watching the poll numbers. Harvey Milk was a real leader who tried to advance equality and freedom before society was there and he paid the price. The current batch of pretend “leaders” are really followers who are acting in self-interest after the fact because they realize that the ground has shifted beneath them.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Should we keep criticizing him for it” Damn right!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Like!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep!!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Especial if they have the only restroom around.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I remember those days in the early 60’s. Apparently two down arrow racists disagree.

  • benb

    Just that I don’t feel any animus behind the OMG-I-cant-believe-she-said-that things I’ve heard and read that she’s said. Maybe she’s just struggling to save her empire but she acts so bewildered about the public’s reaction …could it be that she doesn’t understand why her words are so offensive? I don’t feel outraged.

    But the alleged stuff at her restaurant…sexual harassment & discrimination…I can see a situation where she (or any successful ‘traditional’ woman who employs a lot of family and friends in her business) would pretend it wasn’t happening.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Nice perspective, Mike! What’s problematic for me is that everyone is focusing upon the ‘n-word’ The deposition contains other troubling allegations that nobody is discussing: That the restaurant the Paula owns with her brother would not allow black workers to use the ‘front’ restrooms – only customers and white workers were allowed, that black workers had to use the back entrance, etc.

    And as others have posted here, if Paula said ‘unfortunately I did use that word’ instead of ‘of course I used the word’ (as if it was obligatory), this would feel a bit different.

    It smells like racism, and no amount of flowery scents can hide that.

  • Bill_Perdue

    We you part of the Obama re-branding effort?

  • mirror

    Sometimes all that “nuance” is just a thick layer of self-deception and self-justification that needs some serious pounding to break through. Michael Stivic was right then and he would be right now.

  • mirror

    I think it is clear that gays compromising LESS in the last 10 years that has had a rapid dramatic successful impact. I think a lot of these people got tired of seeing their beliefs and actions called hateful bigotry and started questioning whether there was really a basis for what they were doing that they wanted to be part of their self-identity.

  • FunMe

    PS: as vejo points out below, Melhman caused A LOT of damage. That is not forgivable in just one second.

  • FunMe

    Love you John! But, I wouldn’t be hailing the efforts of Melhman until many years have passed and he truly has redeemed himself.

  • FunMe

    When you have VERY wealthy gay donors who will NOT give to your reelection in 2012, you have only 1 thing to do regarding gay marriage equality:

    EVOLVE!

    Otherwise, lose so much money needed for your reelection.

  • FunMe

    Those parents sound SELFISH … they only care for an issue if it affects THEIR family. Soooooooo wrong!

  • It’s not just about the racism

    She won’t have to wrestle now with that particular ethical dilemma. Novo’s dropped her like a hot potato so she can wrestle with all her other ones:

    ==========
    Novo Nordisk is the sixth company to end their Deen endorsement deal. A
    company spokesperson told Forbes they’d consider getting back into
    business with her once she’s regained the trust of her audience. “It
    does leave us with an option,” said Novo Nordisk’s Ken Inchausti, “but
    she needs to focus on rebuilding her relationship with the public.”
    ===========

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/06/27/paula-deen-dumped-by-home-depot-and-diabetes-drug-company-novo-nordisk-as-target-sears-qvc-mull-next-move/

  • emjayay

    Again, the Republicans he supports damage all people every minute of every day in many, many ways.

  • emjayay

    Did to fellow gays? He worked to elect George W Bush. The damage his administration did to ALL Americans in a million ways was unprecedented.

  • emjayay

    Almost like?

  • emjayay

    Yes, but it seems to me being a Mormon takes an extra level of suspension of disbelief. Believing stuff mostly shrouded in the mists of prehistory on the other side of the world is one thing. Believing a transparent scam promulgated in post-Enlightenment basically modern contemporary times right in your own country by some grifter, including disappearing golden disks and magic translator rocks and unknown planets and absurd ideas about Indians being Jews or something plus of course polygamy is definitely a step beyond.

  • emjayay

    Wow. Did not know that.

  • emjayay

    For some reason I keep thinking about that other hypocritical rich white trash woman from up North. Way up North.

  • emjayay

    Oh my….

  • judybrowni

    So fucking what.

    I knew enough to be a decent human being at 10: she has no excuse at 65.

  • Indigo

    She’s got everybody’s attention for now but as our author said, she’s a brand not a celebrity and her brand is kaput. She might be back in a year or so but for now she’s as dead a brand as there is. The longer she’s defiant, the longer she’ll be gone.

  • Jim

    I suggest next time you’re typing in a doctor’s office, you don’t make sweeping generalizations that you can’t defend. You’re spposed to be a reporter. And since this isn’t your posting, maybe you shouldn’t involve yourself in what was a comment to the author. But, then, I’ve gotten the impression you quite love your own voice.

    Apples and oranges with Bauer: Bauer isn’t gay. Since you couldn’t figure it out, I’ll make it explicit: those who betray their own deserve a heightened condemnation.

  • caphillprof

    Your experience is not the same as hers.

    Subject: Re: New comment posted on Paula Deen, Proposition 8, and the sometimes-nuance of bigotry

  • cole3244

    they participated without thinking, most bigots don’t think until it hits home then they become tolerant of their own, if you can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes you are at a bare minimum intolerant and callous.

    paula deen is backtracking out of greed not passion & i for one am not falling for it.

  • It’s not just about the racism

    Awww…remember her darling little crazy talk show with Jm J. Bullock?

    ♫ Two times the fun…Three times the makeup! ♫

    Blast from the past, anyone? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU16ego5kJ4

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m not saying she hasn’t a deep streak of self-hating sexism, too. But Benb seemed to be trying to say Deen’s racism wasn’t really her fault, that it didn’t reflect her true opinions but those of the men around her.

    I disagreed. And I still do.

  • It’s not just about the racism

    True enough, but explaining to a female restaurant that yes, she’s totally qualified for a promotion, but it won’t ever happen because Jamie and Bobby would never stand for a woman telling them what to do…that’s sexism.

    Refusing her a raise because the men on staff wouldn’t tolerate a woman making as much as they do…that’s sexism.

    If the allegations are true, then PD and her family weren’t even savvy enough to internalize it. They thought they could come right out with the crazy and nobody would ever call them on it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “It’s racism. And Paula Deen should be made to own it.” Oh, the irony—-good one Becca!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    rotfl! :-)

  • BlueIdaho

    Oh goodness gracious. Talk like that makes me want to swoon. :)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Wanting a wedding reception staffed by tap-dancing African American children dressed in short pants and bow-ties like they used to wear in the Shirley Temple movies isn’t internalized sexism or deferral to males.

    It’s racism. And Paula Deen should be made to own it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bobbi Lee Bubba and Missy Sas Scarlet are just have’un a hissy over diss’un the old South and Miss Paula!

  • benb

    My feeling is that it’s really about sexism, that special kind of sexism in the South, culturally endemic, ‘Biblically’- backed, internalized sexism that can cripple Southern women like some horrible genetic disease, switching off their brains and making them defer to the men around them.

    I say send Paula Deen to a Womyn’s Collective in Oregon for six months as an intervention.

  • It’s not just about the racism

    Her lawyers may have put her up to it (go on out there and make yourself the victim, quick!) Hell, maybe her lawyers are family members too.

    Or, maybe she’s so stubborn that she went against their advice and they just threw up their hands. No matter how this works out, the lawyers are getting paid.

    Waiting for the follow-up media tour from dear old Uncle Bubba: “It’s hot down here in the South…we all get thirsty on the job now and again, don’t you, Matt? And I didn’t mean nothing, kissing on that grumpy little Jew gal. Why I’m just a big old friendly country teddy bear! The money? Well sure I dipped into the cash register once in awhile. It’s all in the family, and you have to know my sister, bless her, she’s just the salt of the earth, she’s not worried about any little 26 thousand dollars, hee hee hee! Guess some of our younger workers weren’t brought up with them old-fashioned values, but Paula and me, we just love life, and we know how to laugh off the small stuff.”

  • BlueIdaho

    My ex-mormon friends here in the great morman back country of Idaho say that submitting annual tax returns is a requirement if you want to keep your temple privileges.

  • BlueIdaho

    It must be Jamie and Bobby.

  • BlueIdaho

    Exactly!

  • BlueIdaho

    Thanks!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s why the stopped baptizing the dead! Oh? Wait—-never mind.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    If you click it again, it goes away. ;-) Or should anyway.

  • nicho

    On the Mormon church thing, I think that the church might well shift its view.

    The Mormon Church is, if nothing else, a shape shifter. Any time it finds itself in political hot water, it miraculously has a new “revelation” that gets it out of that hot water. That’s how polygamy went away. That’s why they stopped making members swear a blood oath to destroy the US. That’s why they stopped openly discriminating against blacks,

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Racist lawyers are like flies to shit.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    But Tammy Faye had a heart of gold. Paula has a ball of grease wrapped in green backs for a heart.

  • Thom Allen

    Paula just fainted. :^) Sorry, clicked the down arrow instead of “Reply.”

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think Dean has a Hummer type problem with her brand. If it was just the racism thing she could have taken time off, done the rehab and contrition thing and returned a few years later. If it was just the diabetes thing she could have changed to make healthy food (like her son is doing).

    Both problems at once are likely to be terminal for her brand. Everyone knew that the Hummer was terrible for the environment since they started selling them to the public. But they managed to stay afloat. Then suddenly there was the Great Recession and driving a Hummer was suddenly as popular as herpes. And the brand just unwound in the space of 6 months. The environmental issues were not enough to kill Hummer on their own but they have stopped any chance of the brand being resurrected.

    Dean’s problem with racism is similar. She could probably work her way back from the racism fiasco but the racism row has reminded everyone that the lying cow was hiding the fact that her food quite literally kills people.

    On the Mormon church thing, I think that the church might well shift its view. In fact they have already shifted. In the wake of Mitt losing, the church has pulled support for anti-equality efforts that they led only 24 months earlier.

    Mormons are used to being social outcasts due to their faith. What they are not used to is being regarded as bigots themselves. And the Prop-Hate backlash has made many of them very uncomfortable about the bigotry.

    Not saying this is a given, but it is easier for the LDS to move than for the Catholic church.

  • BlueIdaho

    Hey she pays good money to look that tacky. For some reason Tammy Faye Baker comes to mind.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Both of those just made my aorta pucker in dismay.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Not enough. Tina Fay kissed his ass and held his hand through the whole thing.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Unsweetened Rooibos home-brewed iced tea. Sometimes with a splash of organic lemonade for variety.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “she may just be culturally insensitive.” Ya think! At least she didn’t have those nigra mens dressed in waiter tuxes break into ‘Swanee River’ as the bride walked down the aisle.

  • BlueIdaho

    Oh good one!

  • Badgerite

    Your post is very good. But can someone explain to me why this woman (PD) did not just settle that lawsuit right off with a profuse apology to the parties involved and set about instituting changes in her management policies. If everything that was said in the lawsuit complaint was true, why in the world did her lawyers let her fight this. Why didn’t they tell her to settle and plead ignorance and subtle cultural bias that she now sees was wrong, etc….. What in the world was she thinking. That it is alright to treat the ‘help’ this way? Why didn’t her lawyers see this coming?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Now there are two of us. I got your back!

  • Hue-Man

    As one of the few who welcomed Sen. Portman’s change of heart, I’ve speculated that the gay and lesbian community is so used to being beat-up physically and psychologically, so used to having to fight all enemies, that it’s unable to move off its “take no prisoners” hypersensitive reaction. It’s a totally monochromatic view that does not allow for any education, any evolution, let alone rehabilitation, over a person’s lifetime. Worse, it’s a huge disincentive to the next Portman or Mehlman to come out in support and add their considerable weight to the cause. With more security at work and at home, with less public vilification and more acceptance, gays and lesbians will develop into a more conciliatory stance to new allies.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I know, but her doubled buttered, sugar coated hair balls are so delicious.

  • NCMan

    I may be wrong,but I thought that Mehlman still hasn’t actually apologized for the work and damage he did as Republican chairman. It’s also my understanding that he is still trying to convince people that he didn’t know he was gay at the time either.

  • Thom Allen

    Using the word “snort” on a thread about Paula Deen brings up a few nasty images . . .

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, the ole’ god bless their little pea pick’un hearts who just know we don’t appreciate the gracious ways of the old South and how well treated were the ‘coloreds” . (cept’un of course ropes, trees, white sheets, burning crosses and hoods. Oh, and voter suppression)

  • paulabflat

    ethics?
    okay. that made me laugh.

  • nicho

    I don’t know, Unitarians think a lot — sometimes too much.

  • paulabflat

    “But what seems clear now is that they are in fact thoughtful loving people who work hard to incorporate their faith with the reality of everyday life.”

    hold it. right there. until it was one of their own, bigotry was okay. until then, it was okay to trammel others with their religion.
    the reality is that their religion condemns gays, actively promotes and finances large anti-gay legislation campaigns.
    what now? still going to tabernacle and repeating nonsense to a cult which is in direct contradiction to the real reality of their everyday life, in which they bore a gay son, obviously just so god could condemn him?
    why does god keep doing that? that’s sick.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Indeed. By the reports from those court depositions, Deen, her brother, and her husband all seem to be appalling people, on every level.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I am definitely saving that Crisco double fried chocolate filled potato fritter drizzled with caramel sauce and covered in Jimmies recipe.

  • nicho

    That’s inculcated early in childhood — as you’re being sent to your room– “I’ll be good, mom. Honest, I’ll be good. Mom? Mom? Honest, I’ll be good.”

  • PeteWa

    that’s my favorite kind of unthinking.

  • PeteWa

    If you actually understand the comment you are disagreeing with, SC is saying that they were persuaded, and did come around. SC is merely disagreeing with the vehicle for that growth and change, not the actual change itself.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ppppfffftttt

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True, but if you make that “Zen Buddhist” it’s an entirely different sort of ‘unthinking’. ;-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well, god bless her lil profit driven, pea pick’un brain.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Let ye without racism cast the first stone. Where’s that boulder?

  • ThinkerT

    You and the people uprating you are part of the reason success will continue to be so difficult. Instead of viewing people as the complex people capable of growth and change that can be persuaded to come around and agree to our way of thinking, you prefer to view them as unthinking and hateful drones that only deserve your scorn. Thinking and referring to people in that fashion won’t win them over to our side and will make ultimate victory all the much more difficult.

  • Thom Allen

    Iced tea with three tablespoons of white sugar drunk with a biscuit covered in butter and Hershey’s syrup?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I grew up in the other kind of family, where my father thought it was funny to teach his toddler kids to say the n-word.

    About the only sliver of self-awareness he had on the subject of racism was that even in the 1960s, we were soon told not to say the word in public. Nevertheless, my rejection of racism (and later, misogyny and homophobia) made me a black sheep in my own family.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    A) It’s not my post, so I don’t have to address everything you wrote when I’m in a doctor’s office typing on my phone :)

    B) I am suggesting what I’ve suggested multiple times on this blog and in the media. Having people like Mehlman on our side is HUGE IMPORTANT. Who do you think helped Senator Portman come out, as it were? And THAT was hugely important to the community. As was Mehlman’s letter from the 100+ republicans. Remember, part of our mission was to convince this court that moving ahead on gay marriage wasn’t contrary to the culture climate in this country. People like Mehlman helped make that happen. And he sure did help in NY and Maryland too.

    I understand why people hate him – we roasted the guy for years on this blog. But I’ll embrace Gary Bauer if he wants to turn pro-gay – that’s the strongest kind of advocate we can have.

  • PeteWa

    I saw that and chuckled – do they really think I would give a shit about a downvote? LOL

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh look — you got a downvote. Here come the inevitable racist trolls.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’ll still welcome Ken Mehlman, and have, if he wants to use his power to help gay people. I’ve seen too many examples of the years of bad people turning good, from Barry Goldwater on down, to simply write off bad people when they want to turn over a new leaf and help us. That doesn’t mean I don’t condemn their homophobia when it happens, but I always hold out, perhaps 1%, of my ire for any sign of contrition ,and if there is, and it’s sincere, I’ll embrace it.

  • Outspoken1

    To be a good ‘fill in the religion’, you have to be unthinking.

  • Outspoken1

    It is my understanding (and I could be in error), but my Mormon clients have told me that a Mormon’s income is tithed at a set rate. So if they are still Mormon, they are contributing and the church tells them what is the minimum to contribute.

    I have heard that income tax forms are to be shared with the church if the ‘donation’ is possibly too small – but I am not sure if that is factual, anecdotal or urban legend.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When they head on down into the cycle of denial and aggressive defiance, that’s when you know the apology was never really sincere, but merely self-serving.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Paula Deen and ethics? You nearly made me snort iced tea out my nose.

  • PeteWa

    “I believe Paula Deen is in this third category.”

    Indeed, as Thom Allen points out above, Deen’s latest apology / excuse is a racist joke punch-line.
    a dog whistle for the like minded, I’m sure.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thanks. I also wanted to add that there’s another type: “self-centered phony reform.”

    This is when someone disavows their earlier bigoted statements or behavior, but only after it’s clear that they’ve seriously damaged their career or financial prospects. They don’t actually give up their bigotry; all that’s happened is they’ve realized they cannot express it publicly without suffering severe personal consequences.

    I believe Paula Deen is in this third category.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    All that money and then that hair. Makes me sad that some people have that much money and still look so tacky.

  • Thom Allen

    Now, back to Paula’s current situation. Did anyone else notice how her actions and remarks have changed as this unfolded? First, she was all weepy, begging forgiveness and being ashamed and apologetic. As a few more sponsors deserted her, she got a little more biblical and defiant. Saying something like, any one of you who hasn’t made a mistake can throw a rock at my head. Then Walmart, Home Depot and Novo Nordisk fled and then she really got pissy and racist, reportedly saying, “I is what I is” which was part of an old racist joke.

    Also, anybody notice that Paula’s restaurant is named “The Lady and Sons”? LADY?

  • PeteWa

    Trump comes to mind.

  • PeteWa

    exactly – it’s really infuriating, there is so much awful racism and sexism going on with the Deen case, and to pretend that it’s a one time use of a word “ages ago” as the media at large is presenting it, does everyone a disservice.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I have a few Mormon friends (actually more colleagues than friends) around the country and they told many stories in 2008 of being pressured to donate money and time to the Prop 8 campaign. Of course it says something about people that it doesn’t occur to them that these anti-gay ballot initiatives are bigoted and mean-spirited until it affects someone they care about. It shows a complete lack of empathy and compassion which borders on the sociopathic.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    You can be rich and trashy. Watch pretty much any “reality” show for examples.

  • NCMan

    We don’t need to keep criticizing. But, we don’t need to treat him like a hero of the community either. For example,I don’t give Obama any credit for DADT repeal. That was all Nancy Pelosi who dragged Obama kicking and screaming along with her when he didn’t want to go.

    We can certainly thank Mehlman for his work on marriage equality. But, there was no need to HONOR him as part of the “OUT 100″ when he doesn’t support the rest of our agenda and continues to support Republicans who vote against us with his money.

  • judybrowni

    Or mine.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I know I’m a bit younger, but if I ever used that word my daddy would have spanked me so hard I wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week! I grew up in East Texas. Other people used that word, but my family most certainly didn’t and they weren’t liberals. Just good decent hard-working people. My father considered such bigotry un-Christian and my mother thought of it as representative of the white trash she had worked her whole life to rise above.

  • Thom Allen

    Moving off of the Deen bigotry topic for a moment, there’s something else she was involved with that makes me question her thinking and motives. Novo Nordisk, a huge pharmaceutical company, hired Paula to represent them and their anti-diabetes drug, Victoza for type II diabetes. There’s a strong genetic element in the causation of type II diabetes. But factors contributing to the disease are being overweight and not exercising. Paula’s meals are NOT conducive to weight loss. It’s interesting that both she, and Novo Nordisk partnered to market a drug for a disease that her recipes were “feeding.” Tends to make me think that Paula is all about making money for Paula. And the same holds true for Novo Nordisk. I wonder if Paula ever even thought about the ethics of getting involved in something like that?

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    And buttered?

  • judybrowni

    I was born in 1950, and yet Colored and White bathrooms and water fountains sickened me in the summer of 1960 my father had to work in Tennessee.

    Never used the N word in my life. That Paula Deen is three years older than I am, doesn’t give her a fucking pass.

    Or for someone who insists it’s de rigueur in someone from our age group.

  • nicho

    I’m sassy all the time. ;-)

  • Sweetie

    Perhaps. The key is that speech directed at racial minorities appears to carry a bigger price than speech directed at sexual minorities. If a comedian had joked that he would have stabbed any biracial child to save himself the horror of racial impurity I bet it would gave knocked him off 30 Rock.

    I also think it’s telling that comments from heckling and ambush are considered more offensive than prepared ones. When Helen Thomas said Jews should stop occupying Gaza, suggesting they move back to Israel, Germany, the US, and elsewhere — that was contrastingly career-ending. The most interesting part is that the comment is only racist if one believes in time travel going back, something Stephen Hawking and others have said is impossible.

  • nicho

    To be a good Mormon, you pretty much have to be unthinking. Think too much and the Mormons get antsy.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I generally agree, but Mehlman is a bit different. Asking straight Republicans to support us and welcoming them when they do is one thing. Forgiving a vile closet case who led the fight to render us all permanent constitutional outcasts is a special case. I’m glad he’s doing the work he is doing too. But I also think he dug himself such a deep anti-gay hole that he’s understandably having a hard time getting lots of us to decide at what point he has climbed all the way out of it and is fit to be treated like any other gay activist.

  • caphillprof

    She was born in 1947 and grew up in the South. Georgia was slow to desegregate schools and slow to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    I visited Washington DC as a child and saw a “No Coloreds Served” sign in the gift shop at Mount Vernon.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    A deposition is sworn testimony under oath. You’re mixing “out of court” statements with pre-trial “testimony.” They are two different things.

  • keirmeister

    And therein lies the point about encouraging allies…even reluctant or “soft” ones. I’m so gay friendly it’s been called “suspicious.” :) What would be gained by admonishing me for my youthful behavior?

    Granted, that’s an extreme example. I would imagine it might be different if my “youthful indiscretions” were only 5 years ago…

  • BlueIdaho

    Not really, but it would be interesting to know how many heart attacks that one precipitated. :-)

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes! Yes! Yes! This has all been so marginalized by the N-word stuff.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Good question! Still just drones for their church.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes.
    I loved Eugene Robinson’s take on it. Yes, she’s a white southerner, but she’s 65, not 95!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Have to disagree about the Montgomerys. They were unthinking bigots, drones for their anti-gay church. They were not somehow won over by any appeal to fairness, reason, humanity, or anything else. They simply found out that their son was one of those disgusting faggots and were forced to either re-evaluate their hate or apply it to their own child.

  • nicho

    If you like meatloaf wrapped in bacon and boiled in butter, do you really need a recipe? That’s like needing a recipe to eat Ben & Jerry’s right from the carton.

  • BlueIdaho

    Well I’m just glad that I have my bacon-wrapped meatloaf in butter sauce recipe saved on my computer before she goes into oblivion.

  • nicho

    She should pay up first.

  • BlueIdaho

    I got in trouble the last time I said that! :-)

  • BlueIdaho

    Oh please, if anyone believes she has only used the N word once then you are being very naïve. I’m sure if this ever gets to court we will find out that she has used it more than any of the rappers she was yapping about on the Today show.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    LIKE!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Double derp!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Obozo did not evolve—-he punted sideways.

  • BlueIdaho

    I read her biography or was it an auto-biography–I forget. Anyway what I took away from the book is that she is white trash…well I guess rich white trash now. :)

  • vejo

    What Ken Mehlman did to his fellow gays all those years is epically unconscionable. He has earned the societal equivalent of life in prison without parole. He deserves no credit for any “help” now. Those victories were won on the backs of the truly courageous people, those here now and those who have come before us. He does not deserve any special credit. People like you and me and countless others who have been trying to move the ball forward do.

    Yes, I do want to see people to change, but we have to be very, very careful about giving the appearance that we forget the evil perpetrated by people like Ken Mehlman by being too generous with accolades.

  • PeteWa

    Derp!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I can just see it now: The new Deen—-Paula A-fillet.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I thought Jessica Williams’ take on it, from the Daily Show, was brilliant.

    “One slave is a lot of slaves, Paula Deen. Just one. One.”

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-20-2013/fried—prejudice—paula-deen-s-diagnosis

  • BrandySpears

    Why don’t you ask attorney John Aravosis if out of court testimony (aka deposition) is the same as having your day in court. Don’t take my word for it.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Maybe in her circles they do… but not in mine.

  • BrandySpears

    Wonder how much money they still contribute to the Mormon coffers? They’re all still active devout church members.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    How about “Wa, Ah honestly don’t rememba.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Bingo. It was EXACTLY the message they wanted to convey. And if we had any doubt, there were all those commercials they blanketed the airwaves with, just about explicitly stating that gays and lesbians were a danger to children everywhere.

    If that’s not bigoted hate, I don’t know what is.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I think Brandy should just shut up, no?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    …and a credulous way of expressing, “Who hasn’t? Everybody says it.”

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brandy don’t know nuttin about birth’n the truth.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Exactly. It almost sounded gleeful.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I, like many others, do go ahead and throw around the labels and epithets. Racist. Misogynist. Homophobe. Xenophobe. Ignorant bigot.

    I didn’t think it needed to be made clear, but maybe it does: When I say that someone is a misogynist, what I’m actually saying, but in fewer words, is that the person in question has demonstrated woman-hating behavior and/or expressed woman-hating opinions and misconceptions.

    People can change. Unlike being gay or gender identity, being a bigot is a lifestyle choice. Anybody can give it up through self-education and the adoption of a more tolerant worldview. If they develop more empathy and are willing to give up false preconceptions and stereotyping beliefs. There is such a thing as a reformed racist, misogynist, or homophobe. Sometimes they might slip and unconsciously fall into old patterns, but at least the intent to do better is there.

    The Montgomerys are apparently reformed homophobes. I’m sorry, but even if they think their support of Prop 8 was no big deal, just doing what their Mormon church asked, it doesn’t reduce their culpability. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they had to know what they were doing was to try to prevent gays and lesbians from having the legal protections of civil marriage — and whether consciously or unconsciously, this was an act of homophobic bigotry. They’re responsible.

    The other thing I wanted to note is — this is just how I feel about it — but I give one hell of a lot less credit to those people who’ll deny civil rights and dignity to others, until it happens to affect them personally. Those who are against reproductive rights, until it’s their daughter or wife with the under-age or non-viable pregnancy, or a pregnancy resulting from rape. The ones who are opposed to racial discrimination laws — until it’s their mixed-race grand-kid who encounters a racist bigot. Or, as in this case here, a family who supports anti-gay bigotry and think there’s nothing wrong with it — until it’s their son who comes out as gay. Then they’re against it.

    This is what I refer to as “self-centered reform.” Their empathy and tolerance didn’t kick in until it was about them. Which also means their changing attitudes about gay people probably only goes as far as what’s directly in front of them. And I’m afraid that while it’s encouraging, I nevertheless have a whole lot less respect for that kind of reform than I do when it’s more honest and selfless.

    As for the other topic of this post? I don’t care what the excuses were. There’s not much nuance to Paula Deen’s racism — it’s right there in the depositions. She may have made a pretty decent apology, but deep down, I rather doubt she’s given up her bizarre belief that there’s nothing wrong with her romanticizing of the South’s racist, segregationist past and her apparently core belief that African Americans are supposed to be the servants of white people.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Well, being sassy in court gets you into even more trouble. I’m not really one to go out of my way to protect people from digging their own holes. Especially when it comes to bigotry.

  • judybrowni

    If Paula Deen had replied, “Unfortunately, I have used the N word, in the past…”

    She might have been given a pass: like those who have changed their opinion on Equality Marriage.

    But that “Of course” sticks in the craw.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    All the more reason why churches should not be permitted to participate in politics. Any mention of a political cause from any church officials should be immediate grounds for removal of their tax exempt status.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Ah know, an Ah regret Ah will be po again! lol

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He did get a lot of hell for it though

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s an interesting point. And I think judging someone a bigot has a time element to it. In your case, we’re you “homophobic” before. Maybe. Are you now? No. Should we punish you now for what you may have said or done before? Unlikely

  • dula

    Well tomorrow IS another day, after all!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thirty years ago…..I imagine Ms. Scarlet has uttered ‘nigra’ more than once since then.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Clearly he’s referencing the “of course!” For starters. She was painfully honest to the point of almost sounding giddy. It was the wrong tone and language both. There a myriad of ways that you can answer questions, even under oath. To a yes or no question I could answer “yes sir” or I could answer “yeah, asshole” – both are affirmations and both are true under oath, but they’d be received differently :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly! Thank you ” and we did, pretty much unthinking,””“I know that’s not the message that the Mormon Church was intending to convey,”What colossal BS!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m not buying this ‘feel good’ love ya anyway crap: “But it does suggest that there was, and is, more nuance to their bigotry than first met the eye.” F’k nuance to bigotry. If you’ve been around as long as I have you don’t coddle bigotry and its harm for one second. “—are discussed in public discourse as full people,” Paula Deen is full alright—full of shit and institutional racism—–a wedding with step and fetch it black waiters? Really—nuanced?

  • vejo

    Here’s the Mormon mom’s full quote:

    Wendy Montgomery, 37, of Bakersfield and her husband supported Proposition 8 in 2008 but changed their position “180 degrees” after they learned their 13-year-old son was gay a year and a half ago. Montgomery, a practicing Mormon, said she voted for the measure and spent a couple of days canvassing and working on a phone bank for it.

    “We’re Mormon. The church asked us to participate in Prop. 8, and we did, pretty much unthinking,” she said.

    When her son came out, he told his parents he had at first planned never to tell them he was gay, because he thought they hated gay people because they had supported Proposition 8.

    “I know that’s not the message that the Mormon Church was intending to convey,” Montgomery said. “But it was the message that was received.”

    The Supreme Court rulings Wednesday, she said, “just made me smile because I feel like now my son will be treated like everyone else.”

    Just made her smile… Is she kidding? Does she know how much hardship, how much pain, how much violence, how many suicides, she and her cult have caused? Does she have any idea how difficult it was to overcome the overwhelmingly negative forces from the Mormons?

    Yes, I believe in redemption, but she’s going to have to do a whole lot more to prove she’s changed. Her son will be treated like everyone else DESPITE her life-long membership in and funding of her toxic belief system. She just can’t turn on a dime.

  • BrandySpears

    But you would agree that if you made allegations against Jackson that he should have his day in court, no? Or should he just shut up and pay up?

  • It’s not just about racism

    And they will, of course, unless they decide to pay out a huge settlement.

    But the point is, framing the story as “Everybody’s persecuting poor Paula for something she said decades ago” skates past most of the real story.

    And the business partners who are dropping her don’t have to wait for any court verdict; the accusations themselves were probably enough to freak them out. If she and Uncle Bubba win the day in court, the Food Network and WalMart, etc. can always reach out to rebuild those bridges. But they have no way of knowing the outcome of all this, nor which other details about Paula and Bubba may come to light. It’s hard to fault them for wanting to keep their distance until the whole mess is resolved, and yet they’re catching grief for demonizing and abandoning Paula Deen over some ancient use of the n-word.

    Seriously, would you or your money want to be in business with Paula Deen right now?

  • PeteWa

    Derp!
    they are having their day in court, that’s where this information is from.
    go read the Plaintiff’s amended complaint if you really give a damn, much of this has already been corroborated by Deen herself, among others.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    On the genealogy series, Who Do You Think You Are, when they traced Paula Deen’s ancestry back to slave owners she seemed genuinely disturbed by it. Almost like it was something her family actively tried to avoid confronting about their past. Not that it excuses anything, I just thought it was an interesting tidbit.

  • dula

    A White woman is suing Paula Deen for racial discrimination? I’m confused. If Paula last used the N word 30 yrs ago, it’s possible she has transcended being socialized with racist tendencies…the whole antebellum shtick aside. But honey, that woman is melting down faster than her mac n cheese.

  • nicho

    Well, part of her schtick is having a smart mouth. That’s what I really didn’t like about her. That, and the fact that her food was crap — in-your-face unhealthy.

  • nicho

    For some things you need courts and the rules of evidence. For other things, the court of public opinion is sufficient. I wouldn’t have needed a court ruling to tell Michael Jackson that, no, my kid couldn’t spend the night at his house.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Seems to me that her lawyer should have advised her to answer yes or no questions with only yes or no. “Of course” was tantamount to saying “Yeah, I’m a white woman from Georgia in her mid-60s, of course I’ve had some racist tendencies, what were you expecting?”

  • BrandySpears

    They should have their day in court to answer these allegations, no? Or is the court of public opinion sufficient?

  • keirmeister

    The courage you describe is actually quite rare…and sometimes, you really have to take the good you have an run with it.

    Many people suffered while Obama was “evolving.” Should we keep criticizing him for it? Does that solve anything? It sucks, I know…but sometimes that’s the reality.

  • Jim

    Are you suggesting that we wouldn’t have gotten equality without Mehlman’s help? In case you didn’t notice, we worked and got equality when Mehlman was spending and making tons of money to oppress us. But, if you can provide quantifiable, peer reviewed evidence that shows Mehlman made a significant difference, please present it. Otherwise, keep you kapo to yourself.

    By the way, you didn’t address what I wrote. Straw men make great scarecrows, but not much else.

  • Drew2u

    I think it comes down to taught-ignorance, meaning the environment of their childhood was one that rejected critical thinking and made them afraid of anything that questioned their beliefs; it’s quite a selfish teaching to do to kids.
    So when these people grow up and have preconceived conceptions, they aren’t ‘being mean’ or anything, they’re doing what they genuinely believe is right.
    Take, say, Rick Santorum. It’s easy from our perspective to look at a man like him (a ‘blah’ man) and think, “he’s lying, he pandering”, but it’s a different thing entirely to describe his actions as, “he genuinely believes what he’s saying is reality”.
    So, with the largest grain of sand there is, people like whom you mentioned may genuinely believe their viewpoint is reality until their paradigm is shifted when new, true information is presented in front of them that they cannot refute and retreat into their own bubble of fantasy.
    And for people like Portman, it’s equally possible that he’s pandering for votes as he is struggling to define within his own limited mind, what place his son has in his fantasy-world.

  • PeteWa

    you’re right, (edit) Mike, the Deen case is rather complex and has been sadly boiled down and oversimplified to the use “one time” of that word.

    lost in the conversation over Paula Deen (in the media) seems to be the ongoing hostile environment that she allowed to fester at the restaurant she owned with her brother.
    little things like allowing your brother to call your accountant his “little jew girl”, speaking of whom, here’s an excerpt from the Wonkette piece:

    As for the sexism — in addition to the porn and the sexual harrassment —
    Jackson got paid less than male managers below her general manager
    rank, plus they got vacation, bonuses, and retirement, which Jackson
    didn’t get because duh lady. When she asked for proper compensation, she
    was told Bubba would never countenance a skirt gettin’ paid like the
    big boys. And Paula Deen knew about all of it, and Bubba’s her brother,
    and her gross sons and sons’ friends worked there too and pulled the
    same shit, like with the calling of the African-American employees
    “monkeys” and other such hallmarks of a racially transcendent workplace
    that could in no way be sued for a hostile work environment or basic
    civil rights violations.

    the rampant sexism and racism that at best Deen would allow to be served up with at best a side of ‘Aw shucks, good ole boys will be good ole boys!’ word-salad defense.
    the complexity of wistfully wishing you could have a rather genteel wedding for your *ahem* good ole boy brother*, complete with the n-words running around in their long sleeved white shirts, black shorts and bow ties, but you can’t because [back of hand to forehead] *swoon* the media would get the wrong idea! is more complex, and ought to be delved into more completely.

    *some additional musings into the inner workings of said good ole boy brother can be found here:
    http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/paula-deen-lawsuit.png

  • nicho

    When asked under oath is she’d ever used the “N” word, Deen replied: “Of course.” It was the worst possible answer

    If it were true, it was the only answer she could make. What part of “under oath” don’t you understand?

  • keirmeister

    Mike you make some good points, and I think it’s difficult for people to evaluate others outside of their own experience. Labels require much lower brain processing power.

    Paula’s Deen’s case is interesting. I’m loathe to label her a racist because she may just be culturally insensitive. My European inlaws had all sorts of stereotypes about me, but that changed once they knew me, as did their general impression of all African Americans. The point is that they worked off of what they knew at the time. Luckily I was culturally aware enough not to be offended by it.

    The Mormon family in your example seems similar. I grew up in Ohio and learned to be fairly horrible to gay people. It was “ok” to break a guy’s nose if he was coming on to you. When I moved to the East Coast for college, my “bigotry” disappeared. I attribute that to the many wonderful gay friends I ended of having and even more likely that it never really ever bothered me, even growing up.

    The point is that people’s attitudes change; but it’s also important to understand the source of the bigotry, the reasons for the change, and who is holding the power. If the person is using real power to hurt others, that should not be excused – although it can be forgiven if they make amends for it.

  • NCMan

    but, all 3 of those examples are of people who couldn’t or wouldn’t support us until there was some personal benefit for them or their child. Why couldn’t they find empathy for gay people without it being one of their own? Why did Mehlman have to wait until it wouldn’t cost him his job and his opportunity for wealth before seeing the light? Why does Portman support marriage but not ENDA? His son only deserves partial equality?

  • Sweetie

    “Failing to understand brand dynamics, her horrendous defense this week has only made the problem worse, and her brand has become aligned with Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, among others.”

    Funny how Tracey Morgan isn’t part of that list, because apparently stabbing one’s son to death because he’s gay isn’t a career breaker.

  • It’s not just about racism

    Paula Deen may want everybody to think her problems are just related to racist comments she made forever ago, but there’s a whole lot more going on beneath the surface. She’s being sued for some crazy ugly stuff that’s happened far more recently, and it’s little wonder she’s being dropped from this show and that endorsement deal. Some of her ex-sponsors and ex-affiliates probably didn’t make it past page two of this disastrous tell all:

    http://www.atlawblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Jackson-v.-Deen-et-al.-Complaint.pdf

  • Randy Riddle

    It’s really about the culture and what casual racism or bigotry that culture finds acceptable. Deen’s from Atlanta and anyone who lives in the South sees this kind of thing everyday. It’s just that people don’t get called on it and some people see it as “quaint”, rather than what it really is – hurtful and insulting.

  • Indigo

    It’s the Digital Age, all Knowledge is Binary. Let me phrase that another way so we know what we’re getting, it’s a Paint By Numbers World and we’re trapped in it. Once the Tech God is more thoroughly assimilated into our social pantheon and St. Steve Jobs is finally discredited for lack of miracles that actually work, there’ll be a Humanistic Revision but for now . . . 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 . . . or whatever, and that’s all we get until we wake up

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m glad Mehlman helped us win marriage in MD, NY and now before the Supreme Court. And I’m glad Portman now supports gay marriage. And I’m glad that Mormon family now supports their son. That’s what we keep asking Republicans to do, support us. So when they finally do, I’m not sure I’m prepared to tell them “psych!” Lest others not see the value in supporting us in the future. No one is excusing what they did, but if we dont’ welcome change, then why are we fighting at all?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Her sales are up this week and there are lines outside her restaurants. this country has plenty of bigots to keep the cash rolling in for her. For everyone company that drops her someone else will be happy to take her on so long as the money keeps rolling in. I agree that this is simpler than “Paula Deen is racist”. We need to stop treating racism as a binary proposition. It’s not that you are racist or not racist. Most everyone is a little bit racist. The question is how we treat other people. What is the outcome of the lawsuit against her? That would be more telling. How did she treat minorities who worked for her? Not whether or not she used a particular word years ago. That shouldn’t be the test. I know a lot of people who are as racist as the day is long who’d never use that word. That doesn’t mean they treat minorities fairly. They are just nicer about how they word things which allows them to feel they aren’t actually racist. But they are.

  • Jim

    You comment suggests that no one can be a bad person.

    Mehlman is an asshole. What he did to gays as a gay is unforgivable.

    Perhaps you should try to convince people that the Kapos were misunderstood people who were scared of torture so they agreed to police their own. Poor, poor Kapos. Poor, poor Mehlman.

    And, poor Paula Dean: made so much money from her brand and now her racism bit her.

    Poor, poor Paula Dean.

    And, those poor misunderstood Mormons. Just really a nice bunch of theocrats.

    You made a really poor argument.

    By the way, those mormons weren’t that complex: before their son came out, they had no reason reason to question where their bigotry led them. Once they were faced with a choice of bigotry or their son, they chose their son. Not terribly complex. By the way, many christians choose their bigotry. Not terribly complex either.

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