Hate the Sinner But Love the Sin

Leave it to third-stringer Rod Dreher to tell us why being mad at Paula Deen is like elder abuse:

But Deen has been so nastily scapegoated over race that I’ve become a reluctant Deen supporter. That’s because as someone who grew up in a small Southern town, and who moved back after 30 years away, I know so many big-hearted but misguided older people like her, good people who could not withstand the scrutiny that has destroyed Deen’s career.

The only difference between those big-hearted older people and Deen is that Deen is making millions of dollars as a marquee celebrity chef on a network that sells advertising to companies that market to demographics other than fossilized old white southerners. And leave it to the guy who invented “Crunchy Cons”, the non-existent group of conservatives who are also hippies, to dream up an old-age exception for despicable bigots.

Dreher is a slippery weasel, so he minimizes Deen’s use of the n-word as an “admission that on at least one occasion in the distant past, she used the N-word”. That little trope is going around in conservative circles in an attempt to paint Deen’s predicament as the outcome of some kind of PC witch hunt, but the bare fact is that she’s a big old bigot and the invisible hand just pushed her to the curb.






53 replies
  1. 1
    Shalimar says:

    That’s because as someone who grew up in a small Southern town, and who moved back after 30 years away, I know so many big-hearted but misguided older people like her, good people who could not withstand the scrutiny that has destroyed Deen’s career.

    He knows lots of big-hearted older white people. What do you want to bet he doesn’t know a single black person over 60 who wasn’t his teacher, cleaning lady or counter person at the DMV?

  2. 2
    Gex says:

    That’s what I hate most about these guys. When hateful, hateful people say obnoxious things that alienate the public from their BUSINESSES and it hurts their business, these guys abandon the free market they adore so much. Suddenly it is the most offensive thing in the world to make a decision not to spend money on a product. Suddenly the idea of deciding NOT to incentivize behavior you don’t approve of is a horrible, horrible act of scapegoating.

    No one is scapegoating McDonalds if they decide to stop going there. No one is scapegoating Paula Deen if they decide not to watch.

    Somehow, Paula Deen is entitled to a show and viewership. The Boy Scouts are entitled to taxpayer funding. On and on and on. It’s getting such that I don’t know if these guys even have a view on the free market and economics 101 that doesn’t involve politicizing a business. I guess this goes to show how closely coupled the culture wars are to their economic policies. It used to be the used culture wars to get the pro-business policies they want. Now it appears that the culture wars and their pro-business policies have completely fused.

  3. 3
    maya says:

    “Tho’ I’ve belted you and flayed you,
    By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
    You’re a better man than I am, Paula Deen!”

  4. 4
    sbjules says:

    I’m older than Paula Deen and have never used the N word. I was born & I was born & raised in California

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    Deen knew very well what she was getting away with. And when it all stopped working– well, boo-hoo.

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    @Gex:

    This. The sense of entitlement that these people have is so enormous that it threatens to swallow us all. Everything must be according to their wants, needs, desires and prejudices. Everyone must validate their feelings. I’ve known toddlers, hell babies!, that have more self-control and empathy and act more maturely than your average racist and/or wingnut. I’m so sick and tired of these people and their endless whining and moaning about not being able to avoid the consequences of their endless temper tantrums.

  7. 7
    lawguy says:

    Well 20 years ago Paula Deen was 46. Not some small child who didn’t know better. But then as has been pointed out again and again that isn’t why she’s getting nailed. Its what she’s done in the recent past that is her problem now.

    Also, I really haven’t heard of any organized boycott, is there one or are the businesses just getting a little skittish?

  8. 8
    Jamey says:

    @sbjules:

    I was born & I was born & raised in California

    That would make you born again?

  9. 9
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Consumers are turning away from those whose odious ideas and actions become public. That has to make entitlement junkies and bootlickers like Dreher very defensive because it diminishes, if only a bit, the notion that the wealthy and/or well known can ride roughshod over the rest of us.

    The phrase “Suck on it!” was never so appropriate.

  10. 10
    donnah says:

    What is driving me nuts is that the press has not shared the cause of her deposition in the first place. She and her brother allegedly have run restaurants where racism runs riot and their business practices are downright rotten.

    The darker-skinned Workers entered at the back of the kitchen, did not get hired to serve patrons out at the front of the house, and were paid less than their white counterparts. Paula allegedly hosted parties where the payment to the staff was in beer, which one employee said was useless, as he was not a drinker and had a wife and new baby to support.

    Confessing to using the “N” word has gotten all of the press. Every letter to the editor in our local newspaper screams about the Liberals seizing this headline and running with the extreme PC in this country. But they haven’t bothered to check the facts, nor has the mainstream press backed up the facts.

    Paula Deen is a disgrace, so whatever scorn is heaped upon her doesn’t make me feel sorry for her.

  11. 11
    rea says:

    If you followed the story, her use of the “N” word was the least of it–there were other things like racially-segregated restrooms for employees, attempts to recreate the plantation dining experience complete with black waiters ordered to pretend to be slaves, and (compared to her own use of the “N” word) tolerance of use of the “N” word in addressing employees by her supervisory staff, including her husband.

  12. 12
    Botsplainer says:

    That’s because as someone who grew up in a small Southern town, and who moved back after 30 years away, I know so many big-hearted but misguided older people like her, good people who could not withstand the scrutiny that has destroyed Deen’s career.

    Those would be the cowardly mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches and mentors who were beloved and either tut-tutted or quietly approved of economic and political disenfranchisement, police oppression, mob violence and lynchings perpetrated against members of their own communities. While they sat around praying loudly and benefitting the status quo through wage theft, patting themselves on the back for being “good Christians”, people suffered.

    Those are the fucks that Dreher wants to excuse.

    Dreher needs to be beaten to death with 2×4.

  13. 13
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Didn’t these racist confessions come about over a lawsuit dealing with her son’s systematic abuse of female employees?

    She’s lucky the media is only shit-storming her bigotry.

  14. 14
    tybee says:

    @lawguy:

    paula lives down the street and i see some “we -heart- you paula” yard signs in the hood and the local mullet wrapper shows long lines at her downtown restaurant.
    i haven’t been by uncle bubba’s to see if the parking lot is full or not.
    (that restaurant’s food has sucked in its previous incarnations as well as its current racist one)

  15. 15
    NickT says:

    Rod Dreher’s entire career of resentful white privilege has been one long whine of:

    “In the good old days, you could be bigoted without being despised by nice people.”

  16. 16
    Tom Levenson says:

    Why does Dreher hate the free market so?

  17. 17
    cmorenc says:

    The vast majority of southern whites old enough to have spent all or a substantial part of their growing-up years in a still-segregated society were for a considerable time during their lives, frankly bigoted toward blacks and countless times said things little different from what Deen admits to having said a few decades ago. The proper issue with these generations of southern white folks isn’t what they were then, but how successfully they have grown out of it over the succeeding years. Deen’s real problem shouldn’t be whether she ever said the ‘N’ word decades ago, but rather how recently and to what extent she’s more recently exhibited bigoted behavior.

    I’m 64 yo now and grew up in a small southern town in eastern north carolina where prejudiced attitudes toward blacks was as pervasive and natural-seeming to us as the water is to fish who swim in it; the social water seemed perfectly fine to me when I was say, 12, even while it doubtlessly seemed toxically polluted to many of the blacks swimming in it. It wasn’t until our local high school began the desegregation process in 1966 and I became familiar on a peer basis, and after awhile a friendly basis over the cafeteria tables at lunch with some among the initial beachhead of blacks who’d come into our school, that my attitudes (and those of my white friends) began to change toward them. It frankly helped with their rapid acceptance that our lackluster school varsity teams suddenly became much more competitive with their arrival, and they were now practicing shoulder-to-shoulder every day with the most popular white kids in the class. That observation seems very politically un-correct to say to our tastes today, but at the time, it was a crucial factor in our town’s rapid, peaceful acceptance of school integration when the white kids came home and frankly told their parents that the new negro kids in the class were ok.

    BTW: among more polite southern white society, people avoided using the ‘N’ word, which was considered a vulgar, crude usage of cruder strata of white society. Instead, they pronounced “negroes” as “nig-ras”, as if that somehow made a substantive difference (or would be heard much differently by blacks from the “N” word itself).

    Again, what Deen should properly be held to account for are the more recent things she’s done that exhibit residual unreconstructed attitudes (e.g. wanting black servants at a wedding), and not whether she used some unmistakable variant of the ‘N’ word decades ago.

  18. 18
    Hoodie says:

    Seeing Deen go down gives me hope that the kind of faux southern bullshit she represents may also be relegated to the dustbin of history. She’s an example of an ahistorical kitsch that has more to do with strip malls, Walmart, Bass Pro Shops and other forms of commercial exploitation that pretty much destroyed the south I grew up in.

  19. 19
    Guys topher says:

    Having barely followed the story, I don’t find most of what the media has latched into all that offensive. Use of the n-word in some unspecified context? Meh. Even the wedding plans — although there I might be guilty of thinking that if she could have gotten the waitstaff all the same shade, carefully picking out uniforms, there might be a nice aesthetic to it, similar to picking out bridesmaid dresses — seem only dubious.

    Tolerating her brother’s porn at work? Paying people in beer? Not referring the manager who was screwing underage staff to the police? Not letting the darker skinned staff be waiters? All of that is way more damning.

  20. 20
    cmorenc says:

    @sbjules:

    vI’m older than Paula Deen and have never used the N word. I was born & I was born & raised in California

    California neither is, nor was, the deep South where Deen grew up. Having grown up in a small town in eastern North Carolina and had close cousins out in California whom I visited growing up, the cultural differences between the two environments was vast, to say the least, especially on day-to-day issues of race.

    It isn’t what Paula Deen was then, many decades ago, but what she still seems to be much more recently, that is a proper subject for concern and possible condemnation.

  21. 21
    sublime33 says:

    I am totally convinced that the whole Paula Deen uproar has to do with money. She wasn’t fired – her contract was not renewed. My guess is that her camp wanted a lot more money than Food Network wanted to pay, things got nasty and Food Network went nuclear with the racism issues. Face it, a very high percentage of people over 45 years old have used the “N” word at some point in their lives – even up to 25 years old. If you disqualify every one who has uttered that word even once, there will be a lot of vacancies on the Fortune 500 executive suites and in the board rooms. Follow the money – there has to be more to the Paula Deen story.

  22. 22
    Botsplainer says:

    @cmorenc:

    Instead, they pronounced “negroes” as “nig-ras”, as if that somehow made a substantive difference (or would be heard much differently by blacks from the “N” word itself).

    That was my first grade teacher.

  23. 23
    xjmueller says:

    Ms Deen was around 10 when Little Rock schools were integrated. She was around 20 when MLK went down. Obviously, these didn’t open her to a larger view of society. It’s the culture she’s from and that still exists. Making excuses for her because she’s of an older generation is just BS. The younger generation from her neck of the woods aint much different. Her feelings are hurt because nobody ever told her she’s a bigot before. Who in her circle would?

    She’s been a southern small town bigot all of her life. Who else in his or her right mind would think an ante-bellum wedding reception featuring house negroes in short pants and bow ties was a cool idea? It didn’t matter when she owned a local restaurant, because her customers share(d) her POV. However, when she made the big leagues, it finally bit her in the ass. It doesn’t matter how “sweet” you are, if you’re an established bigot the invisible hand of the market will hold the invisible nose, while the invisible foot kicks you to the curb. Big advertisers don’t like to be tainted with the smell of it.

    BTW, I never thought too much of her recipies. Putting mayo on corn before roasting it just ruins the corn. The sweet corn we get nowadays is so good that only a goober would do something that stupid. Everything she does is overblown. I suppose that appeals to some tastes – paging Louis and Marie, your table is ready.

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    @sublime33: This is my thought behind the Food Network decision. It’s not like her programs are off the air.

    And it’s only racism and bigotry if white people are troubled by it.

  25. 25
    RSA says:

    …the scrutiny that has destroyed Deen’s career.

    How many other victims with a net worth of more than $10 million will political correctness claim?

  26. 26
    Percysowner says:

    BTW: among more polite southern white society, people avoided using the ‘N’ word, which was considered a vulgar, crude usage of cruder strata of white society. Instead, they pronounced “negroes” as “nig-ras”, as if that somehow made a substantive difference (or would be heard much differently by blacks from the “N” word itself).

    I’m 60 and I have to admit that when I was a child the “polite” term was Negro. That was a step up(?) from the coloreds, as my Grandmother called them (Hungarian immigrant at age 14 so she went with what she learned when she learned English). Since NAACP was National Association for Colored People that was an upgrade on the N word. Then the 1960’s came around and the acceptable term was Black. Then it was pointed out that Black was not an accurate description of color and it changed to Afro-American. That later was updated to African-American to be more in line with similar ways of designating immigrant communities i.e. Italian-American, Irish-American or my Grandmother Hungarian-American. Now there is a broader category of People of Color to include other minority groups that experience discrimination due to not being of obvious European descent. I know all the different terms because as I librarian, we were constantly having to change the subject headings on books to make certain we were not being offensive.

    Through all the permutations, I NEVER thought that the N word or the supposedly better nig’ra were appropriate or anything other than offensive. I knew my grandmother’s term wasn’t much better, but I was under eleven and just let it go. She was a lovely person in general and if she had been told it was unkind to use that expression she would have stopped.

    Although it is nothing like the persistent discrimination against Persons of Color, when my first generation mother married my “can trace his genealogy back to the Revolution on his mother’s side” father, my paternal grandmother did talk about the polluting of the races. After all my grandmother and (who never went to church in all the time I knew her) and my mother (Unitarian my entire life) might be HORRORS Catholic!!! The fact that my maternal grandfather left Hungary to escape 1) the draft and 2) the church made no difference. How dare the spawn of an immigrant DARE to marry the son of a Daughter of the Revolution.

  27. 27

    I think Deen is largely ignorant, not malicious. That said, the issue remains her alleged toleration of a hostile work environment, not simply saying a word once decades earlier.

  28. 28

    Dreher can be pretty thoughtful on some topics. I enjoy his blog.

    But on racial and social issues, he serves to illustrate that social conservatism is tribalism upon stilts. George Zimmerman and Paula Deen are the Real Victims. Whites are under “assault”, constantly victimized. Blacks are too willing to wallow in victimhood. Etc.

  29. 29
    scav says:

    @Comrade Dread: I’m not entirely convinced by the simple ignorence claims either. She’s canny enough to have recognized that her tap-dancing ol’ style Disney South wedding wouoldn’t go over well in the media.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    @scav: You don’t create race-segregated bathrooms out of “ignorance.”

    For that matter, the media could tell the whole story and REALLY roast her, but I’m sure that would interfere with their beloved “both sides! both sides!” narrative.

  31. 31
    dewzke says:

    Shuffle off Deen and Dreher. They both suck and that is all that needs to be understood.

  32. 32
    Woodrowfan says:

    I confess I am somewhat amused that “colored people” is bad, but “people of color” is good. But there is a simple test for anyone who wonders if they can use the “n-word. Are you Chris Rock doing a comedy routine? No? then you shouldn’t use it. See? Very simple.

  33. 33
    Seanly says:

    Dreher is a weird freak. He converted to Eastern Orthodox because American Catholicism wasn’t conservative. He constantly moves his family with each new place being the Greatest. Place. Evah. for his oddball brand of conservatism. Roy Edroso used to have a lot more about him, but I think Dreher has slipped pretty low on the radar now.

    RE: Deen, I could’ve accepted someone using the N-word in the 60’s or 70’s but it was a verbotten word even by the early 80’s when I was a kid living in Little Rock. I think she’s just a mean bitch & gave everyone enough rope to hang her (and probably still an unapologetic racist).

  34. 34
    Nutella says:

    @cmorenc:

    Again, what Deen should properly be held to account for are the more recent things she’s done that exhibit residual unreconstructed attitudes (e.g. wanting black servants at a wedding), and not whether she used some unmistakable variant of the ‘N’ word decades ago.

    And that’s exactly what the Dreher, the media in general, and her supporters want us NOT to do. The separate entrances for black and white employees is one of many examples.

    They want us to feel sorry for the poor old lady who said something tacky many years ago when what we’re actually dealing with is a vicious millionaire business owner who treats her employees like shit and deliberately breaks the law in order to do that.

    Classic misdirection, aided and abetted by the media. I can only assume that racism is a value that they are determined to support.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    @Nutella: What might be interesting to watch there is the bifercation of media interests and other corporate interests. General business dropped her fast and hard, to my eye nearly in advance of public hue and cry. They don’t benefit from a long-drawn out circus, so my bet is they’re faster to reflect the actual generalized social norm (plus a bit of getting rid of a potentially fading star while the legal boilerplate minimizes pain for your side). Media benefits from keeping the pot boiling — so they’re in the business of keeping the unrest unrestful.

  36. 36
    Johnnybuck says:

    @tybee:

    i haven’t been by uncle bubba’s to see if the parking lot is full or not.

    Oh yeah, it was full Friday evening. Dumbass southern white racist fucks gotta represent. And the food sucks by the way. The food at Deen’s restaurant (Lady and Sons) isn’t anything you can’t get practically anywhere in the state for a lot less money and usually better quality.

  37. 37
    NickT says:

    @Seanly:

    Dreher has been trying to conceal his residual nastiness more carefully over the last year or so. He’s spent a lot of time talking about his sister’s death in a way that looks ever-more exploitational.

  38. 38
    Boohunney says:

    @tybee: We drove by Uncle Bubba’s over the weekend and the parking lot was pretty empty. And, yes, I ate there once and it did suck…

  39. 39
    gene108 says:

    From reading the 33 page complaint, Deen’s problem is she is nepotistic to a fault. Her brother, Bubba, was stealing money from the restaurant and the GM of the restaurant was still expected to make a profit after Bubba’s dipping into the cash drawer.

    She’s an asshole owner, who happily allowed those who became close to her to do whatever asshole things they though was a good idea, like the deeply Christian CFO imposing his values about marriage and other things on the management staff.

    She didn’t care about a damn thing regarding the work environment she created, as long as the restaurants were making money and her family was able to be fat and happy off the work of others, who actually ran the places.

    The fact she could put on a “friendly” “charming” face to the public is truly what is remarkable, because most people, who are such assholes as managers are assholes in pretty much every other facet of their lives; some are successful and folks put up with it because they’re successful (Larry Ellison, for example), while the rest just crash and burn because people don’t want to deal with their shit.

  40. 40
    Pogonip says:

    @Seanly: No, he says he converted because of pedophile priests and the bishops’ protection of same.

  41. 41
    gene108 says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    What’s interesting are Deen’s defenders, who somehow cannot comprehend racism at all, because black use the N-work “everyday”.

    It’s like blacks get up in the morning, go to the bathroom and start belting out the N-word like they had turrets, in the minds of these folks.

    I just don’t get what alternate reality these people live in because blacks do not use the N-word, even when talking to other blacks (at least the blacks that I know).

    Other than proving they do not know any black people, I don’t get what they hope to accomplish by defending the use of the N-word, because it isn’t coming back as an acceptable term to use in public.

  42. 42
    gene108 says:

    @Percysowner:

    Then it was pointed out that Black was not an accurate description of color and it changed to Afro-American. That later was updated to African-American to be more in line with similar ways of designating immigrant communities i.e. Italian-American, Irish-American or my Grandmother Hungarian-American.

    African-American, as a term, will breakdown if and when a large number of people from Africa, especially lighter skinned North Africans, start moving to the U.S.

    Technically these immigrants are African and in a generation would be African-Americans, unless we’d need to subdivide them into Moroccan-Americans, Egyptian-Americans, etc.

    Even Barack Obama isn’t African-American, in the intended use of the word, as he’s not the descendant of former slaves, but he decided to be identified with the African-American community.

  43. 43
    henqiguai says:

    @Percysowner (#42):

    Then it was pointed out that Black was not an accurate description of color…

    Yeah, ‘cept the “Black” was more a political tag; basically, if ‘you people’ are “White” then the farthest from that which was achievable was “Black”. *Your* mileage may vary, but I was kind’a there when the change started taking hold.

  44. 44
    farley says:

    I’ve followed Dreher for many years, and even though I disagree with him much of the time, I love to read his stuff. He’s definitely not an asshole. He’s the kind of conservative I’d love to have a few beer with on the porch, talking politics and history and philosophy. I wish there were more conservatives like him. If your definition of an asshole is anyone who disagrees with you, then I think you’re the assholes.

  45. 45
    aimai says:

    @Comrade Dread: the hostile work environment argues malicious. I don’t get the excuses being offered up. Are people really under the impression that because she plays the “aw shucks” granny image crossed with southern belle that she is anything other than a ruthlessly exploitative business owner?

  46. 46
    Comrade Carter says:

    I grew up in a “nice” southern town (Hagerstown, Maryland), and the people were so nice I was glad the Lord (hahahaha) had answered my prayer and we were moved to Milwaukee.

    They were so nice, there. Of course, it was only about 40 years ago.

    What an idiot this guy is.

  47. 47
    Comrade Carter says:

    BTW: I grew up knowing that the use of the “N-word” was a non-starter because of my instructors in elementary school, St. Marys in Hagerstown.

    Now, they were from Milwaukee, so… Perhaps that was where they got their sense. (And they were actually from Elm Grove, which is about two miles from me in Wauwatosa.)

    My Mother was very glad they had the sense of a goose. My Mother was from Scotland. (And I was an atheist at that time, and am now, but they were dear to me.)

  48. 48
    majii says:

    @Gex:
    Thanks, for your insight, Gex. I live in the same neighborhood with people like Paula Deen. Although I’m better educated than many of them, and my kid graduated from high school and one of the best private liberal arts colleges in the South with honors and has a good job working for a major airline, it makes no difference to them. All they see when they look at us is our black skin. It amuses me that they seem to think being white makes them better than us. People like Deen and her brother Bubba see us but then they don’t see us. This is what makes it easy for them to say/do offensive things and think it doesn’t matter to us. I was reared under segregation for 18 years, and the word n!99er was one my parents would have scorched my and my siblings behinds for if they had caught us using it. This is why I get upset when I hear some whites try to sanction the use of the word in defense of Deen by claiming that all blacks use it. We don’t, and even when other blacks use it, it offends us just as much.

  49. 49
    Tyro says:

    @farley: I’ve followed Dreher for many years, and even though I disagree with him much of the time, I love to read his stuff. He’s definitely not an asshole.

    I’m a regular reader of Dreher as well, and I kind of disagree with this– he is an asshole. He has a lot of residual bitterness about gays and African Americans, specifically the demand that they be considered on equal standing with people like himself. He seems to have very clear ideas about how the social hierarchy should work, and he gets really, really pissy when the social hierarchy isn’t being honored the way he believes it should.

    I feel his entire socio-political journey, including his adherence to conservatism, is part of a lifelong demand on his part for “respect.” And the problem is that wherever he goes begging for it from — his hometown, the National Review, etc. — he never quite gets any. So of course he blames the liberals, the gays, and the blacks for his problems.

  50. 50
    NickT says:

    @Tyro:

    I think this sums it up well. Dreher’s always been an unpleasant little piece of work, but he’s managed to be a little more adept about concealing it in recent years – mostly by telling the world that he was really sad when his sister got cancer – so he must be one of the good guys. If you fall for that particular routine, there’s something badly wrong with your bullshit meter.

  51. 51
    Plantsmantx says:

    @xjmueller:

    She’s been a southern small town bigot all of her life.

    I suspect that would be the case if she was 20 years younger.

  52. 52
    Plantsmantx says:

    @majii:
    I hear you. I’m black, and I hear that word used with much less frequency than many whites claim to hear it.

  53. 53

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