Never fear, this isn’t about Paula Deen. She’s just some kind of weird canary in a coal mine. It’s the coal mine that should bother us.
You see, what I find so freaking not understandable in the second decade of the 21st century, nearly fifty years after the civil rights law and the beginning of desegregation in the South, is how anyone could think a “plantation party” would be a good idea. She said she wanted to dress-up “little” black people, I guess to pretend she was back in some idealized version of the Olde South in all it’s glory as depicted in the first half of the first half of Gone With the Wind–you know, before Atlanta burned and Miss Scarlet was reduced to (gasp!) eating a carrot dug out of the ground with her own two hands because there were no darkies to dig it out for her.
I find it disturbing to think there are still people in the wild who have been completely unaffected by the consciousness raising that’s happened in this country during the past half century. I’m also perturbed to think Ms. Dean could find folks willing to dress-up to play the part of the “little” house servants in the prewar South to help her fulfill her fantasy of life in the days of white supremacy. Jobs must be scarce in Georgia.
There’s nothing really surprising in this whole sordid mess–it’s merely appalling. I would take comfort in the fact that, like me, she’s a member of the soon to be forgotton baby boomer generation but, unlike me, she’s one who’s spent her life surrounded by the same white, old school Georgia southerners she grew-up with. Unfortunately, even when we boomers are all six feet under, not all of the bigotry our parents and grandparents tried to pass down to us will be gone. In this day and age, I know white kids in their early thirties round where I live who find it acceptable to casually drop the “N” word. The good news is, I live in rural North Carolina which isn’t exactly a bastion of enlightened thought, so your experience may vary. I hope so.
The Paula Deen fiasco illustrates the real reason why we Americans can’t seem to undivide ourselves and get on with the business of moving forward. You see, the real reason we can’t convince the wingnuts, our biggest obstacle to progress, that the time has come for us, as a nation, to do the right thing by providing universal health care, making sure no child goes hungry, letting our elderly retire with dignity and everything else we should be doing if we, indeed, fear god, is because of race. The wingnuts don’t mind giving, they just want to give to their “own kind,” refusing to face the reality that given the infinite vastness of the universe, every living thing on this planet constitutes their “own kind.”
What I’m trying to say is I’m sick and tired of being surrounded by hate when it’s so right and so easy to love.
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