To justify their opposition to affirmative action, equal pay, and gutting the Voting Rights Act, right-wingers insist that bigotry and prejudice are no longer problems in this country. Racism, they say, is over in America.
Unless, of course, we're talking about racism towards white people.
Over the years, my African-American friends have shared with me stories of the senseless traffic stops they’ve endured for nothing more than driving while black. There’s an acronym for it: DWB. They admit it happens less than it used to, but it’s wrong, it’s bad, and Americans should not face a presumption of guilt for being who they are.
Which is why Paula Deen and the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act make for an interesting counterpoint. Both stories involve what’s perhaps the last socially acceptable form of bigotry left in America: bigotry against the [ed. white] South. It’s a brand of bigotry reinforced by our nation’s biggest media outlets — and by justices on the Supreme Court.
Because being harrassed by police officers for no good reason at all is totally the same thing as losing your TV show and book deal.
Let’s start with Paula Deen, who admitted to having used the “n” word — 30 years ago.
That's a good start, but let's not forget to add the fact that she's also being sued for racial discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and physical intimidation. Kind of a glaring omission to leave that part out.
Paula is from Georgia, and from that one slip, which she admitted and for which she apologized, was imputed all kinds of guilt. She was guilty of being born Southern, plain and simple. And the punishment she’s facing is so disproportionate to her three-decade-old lapse that it cries for someone in the media to defend her. No one has. No one will.
The fact that Paula Deen was from Georgia was instrumental to her rise. She's not a victim of the media, she's a creation of it, amassing a fortune of $10M by cooking fried chicken on television. The media companies who pay for her services made the judgment that her ugly remarks in the record, to go with the disturbing charges against her and her pathetic and amateurish attempts to apologize, had sufficiently damaged her brand. So they made a business decision to terminate their relationship with her.
The free market's a bitch, eh?
Anyway, this episode is yet another reminder that in 2013, Southern white people are a downtrodden, powerless minority, living under the cruel yoke of Jim Crow-like oppression in the media.
I guess we'll know Southern whites have overcome this bigotry the day one is finally elected president.