There’s been an awful lot I’ve been thinking of lately while I’m knitting. I tend to think if you’re in a really good moment of knitting, you’re deep into some meditation, letting the mind pursue little kernels of sub thought that rise to consciousness, allowing you to ponder, not only on deeply internal issues, or the plaguing questions that have philosophically loaded our egos, but often simple things get to flourish in your mind while you knit. This whole issue involving Paula Deen, for myself, was something I didn’t think too much on, until the little whisper of it in the back of my mind started to bloom into a much deeper thought that I couldn’t resist blogging about.
I have no ill will towards Paula Deen. We’re both of that same Savannah brood that reminds us that when you’re in the squares, you’re just Paula. She respects that. She knows that at home on Congress Street or on Whitmarsh Island she’s revered by tourists and fans, but treated like anyone else by everyone else in Savannah. So, for that I give her respect. She reminds me of many women I’ve had in my life. Family members, friends of family, women at church. Paula Deen isn’t any different than the scores of women who cook like her, dress like her, act like her. She’s not that unusual to us. But, to many she’s a hero of some personage. And again for that, I give her credit. It was notable, likeable, enjoyable to see the may women in our Southern midst being represented, so to speak. So, that’s why I have no clear interest in her, because every one of us in Southern homes has a momma Paula, or an Aunt Paula, or a sister Paula. She’s a dime a dozen. Doesn’t mean I dislike her. I’m just overly familiar with it for me to be intrigued. But, this business about her usage of the word “nigger” had me thinking. (No, I’m not calling it the N word. Hard to discuss the elephant in the room if no one will call it an elephant).
I want you to be terribly mindful about destroying someone’s career for something said in a moment of anger and fear many years before. If you want to destroy someone, do so because of their impropriety, or their actions, or their immoral business practices. But, I am urging to be awfully cognitive about spreading harshness, opinion, and ill will behind anonymous screen names and facebook postings. Its easy for us to sit quietly by ourselves and to destroy someone without the retribution of making such remarks face to face. We probably wouldn’t dare say the things to someone face to face that we easily say in a tweet.
I think we have to be quite aware that the posts we make do have consequence, they do have a particular power that builds and groups into something cancerous. We all have a particular power with our remarks and our comments, but this shield of the internet and the web should not allow that power to be one that can ruin someone’s life and livelihood. Sure, you can do it, sure its easy to do….but, it shouldn’t be your intention.
As far as we know, Paula Deen didn’t fire anyone because of their skin color, didn’t refuse to hire someone because of their skin color, didn’t berate, nor torture anyone because of their race….she used a word, which agreeably was done in bad taste, doesn’t warrant the backlash I’ve seen towards that woman. Our compassion wills us and urges us to be thoughtful of the troublesome things we have all been guilty of, and that judgement doesn’t rests on any of our shoulders. For, if we haven’t behaved in a horrid way, then certainly each of us has said something that was vicious and unkind, I assure you.
Sorry to have gone on an awfully long time on this issue, but its not her admission of using a word that concerns me. Hell, I’ve used the word before and when I did, I was hoping and PRAYING it would have the power in its disgusting use that it was intended. (He called me a faggot, so I called him a nigger to prove a point: “Hurts just as bad, man,” I told him. “So, if we’re gonna do this, it had better be a level playing field”).
I fear that we, all of us, myself included, sometimes forget the power of some simple actions. We’re reminded in childhood, in any spiritual teachings you follow, in good common association with the rest of the world, that our actions have consequences….and I fear that we forget that important and vital truth in life when we set out to tweet, post, and facebook a blockade or boycott against someone, especially when you get to do it with the buffering of anonymity, and the arrogance that we have power, great power in our commentary.
Interesting that so many of these comments I see on various websites about how much of a “fat, racist, southern pig” Paula Deen is, are also some of the same people who make commentary about the problem of bullying.
Isn’t that what we’re doing? Ganging up on someone to hurt and destroy them? Not the humanity I tend to think of. I’d rather the one that forgives, relinquishes compassion without any request in return….without judgements, considering our each and own particular paths of imperfection. That’s the humanity I tend to think we truly are…
Hope I don’t lose any of you over this posts….And I probably will. Don’t get me wrong! I’d rather not! I like healthy discussion, and disagreement. I do! What I don’t like is ill intention for the sake of ego filled power. That you destroy something because you just don’t like it. But, I have a feeling none of you are like that anyway.
Just concerned at how quickly we let the internet allow us to ruin, rather than build. So….just watch out for that post, that tweet, that facebook petition meant to harm, rather than heal.