Not surprisingly, one of my biggest fears is finding out that someone I like is racist. Really, it’s something that I worry about almost as much as whether or not someone is going to speak to me on the train. And I worry about that a lot. As a lady who often loves to eat her feelings, Paula Deen has always been there for me with her ooey gooey and deep fried treats. So you can imagine how my real butter filled heart was broken in pieces when the National Enquirer reported that Deen is a big ol’ racist.
Deen is alleged to have said some pretty ridiculous, pretty racist, and pretty ridiculously racist nonsense during a May 17 deposition, which was held in connection with a court case brought by former Paula Deen Enterprise employee, Lisa Jackson, against Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers. In the 2012 1.2 million dollar lawsuit brought by Jackson, Jackson alleges racial workplace discrimination against Deen and sexual harrassment, infliction of distress, and assault againtst Hiers.
Unfortunately, the Enquirer has yet to provide the masses with video of the deposition. However, The Huffington Post obtained the transcript in all its racist, antebellum glory. Here’s what Deen had to say in regards to her use of the N-word:
Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
Deen: Yes, of course.
Lawyer: Okay. In what context?
Deen: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.
Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
Deen: Well, I don’t remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple … I didn’t — I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.
Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
Deen: Absolutely not.
Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it?
Deen: Probably in telling my husband.
Lawyer: Okay. Have you used it since then?
Deen: I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.
Lawyer: Can you remember the context in which you have used the N-word?
Lawyer: Has it occurred with sufficient frequency that you cannot recall all of the various context in which you’ve used it?
Deen: No, no.
Lawyer: Well, then tell me the other context in which you’ve used the N-word?
Deen: I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.
Lawyer: Like a joke?
Deen: No, probably a conversation between blacks. I don’t — I don’t know. But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.
If I’m following correctly, The Deen School of Racism says that it’s totally fine to refer to black people that you don’t find “favorable” with racial slurs, but things have changed since the 60s, you guys! Deen was also questioned about how a restaurant dining experience inspired her to plan a Southern plantation-style wedding:
Lawyer: Do you recall using the words “really southern plantation wedding”? Deen: Yes, I did say I would love for Bubba to experience a very southern style wedding, and we did that. We did that.
Lawyer: Okay. You would love for him to experience a southern style plantation wedding?
Lawyer: That’s what you said?
Deen: Well, something like that, yes. And -–
Laywer: Okay. And is that when you went on to describe the experience you had at the restaurant in question?
Deen: Well, I don’t know. We were probably talking about the food or –- we would have been talking about something to do with service at the wedding, and –-
Lawyer: Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word “n—-r”?
Deen: No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.
Lawyer: Why did that make it a -– if you would have had servers like that, why would that have made it a really southern plantation wedding?
Deen: Well, it –- to me, of course I’m old but I ain’t that old, I didn’t live back in those days but I’ve seen the pictures, and the pictures that I’ve seen, that restaurant represented a certain era in America.
Deen: And I was in the south when I went to this restaurant. It was located in the south.
Lawyer: Okay. What era in America are you referring to?
Deen: Well, I don’t know. After the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.
Lawyer: Right. Back in an era where there were middle-aged black men waiting on white people.
Deen: Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.
Lawyer: Sure. And before the Civil War –- before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?
Deen: Yes, I would say that they were slaves.
Deen: But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism.
To recap, Paula Deen doesn’t see a problem with using the word “nigger” when describing some black people and also thinks that reverting back to the good old days of slavery to celebrate at a wedding is just lovely. I would like to say that I’m surprised, but I’ve learned to prepare myself for the worst. I will say that what’s the most jarring about Deen’s testimony is how completely casual she seems to be about her racism. This tends to scare me much more than visceral, white-hooded racism because it says that the perpetrator doesn’t necessarily think that what they’re saying is wrong, hurtful and, yes, racist.
Deen’s attorney, Bill Franklin, has released a statement, saying, “Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court.” If her last day in court is any indication of how her next day in court is going to go, I think I can safely say that we should all be prepared for Blackface.
And more importantly, does this mean that I can’t marry the hot Deen son?
Featured image via Shutterstock