EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 1, 2013

Deen's quick fall from grace


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — The Butter Queen has fallen.

Paula Deen, a long-time Food Network darling, fell from grace recently when she admitted to using a racial epithet. Deen admitted during a lawsuit deposition that she’d used the N-word. The lawsuit, which alleges sexual and racial harassment, was filed by one of the employees at her Savannah restaurants. The suit names Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier.

Lisa Jackson worked at Deen’s Lady & Sons and Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House for more than five years. She claims in her suit that Deen and Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her employment at the restaurants.

Deen’s lawyer has been quoted as saying the allegations are completely fabricated.

Soon after the news broke, Deen issued an apology for “the wrong I’ve done.”

“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” she said. “I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg your forgiveness.”

Yes, Paula, people make mistakes. But using the N-word in this day and age is just unacceptable, regardless of how it is used.

One could argue that rappers use it all the time, so what’s the difference?

The difference is, well, there is no difference. It’s unacceptable, whether you’re rapping, ­joking or using it as a racial slur. No one should ever use the N-word. Period.

Those around Deen, including her sons, have said she was just being honest while under oath during the time of the deposition. They’ve said she’s not a racist – just honest.

The fact of the matter is that in any given situation, if you go there, it means the attitude is there, even though buried. So if she’s used the racial slur, the racist attitude is there. That’s the bottom line.

So while it may be harsh that she’s been dropped by the network and those ham folks, let’s remember what my Mama always says...Chickens always come home to roost.

Congress failing voters

Congress under George W. Bush, in 2006, voted overwhelmingly — 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House — to extend the Voting Rights Act, including the existing preclearance provisions for certain states, for another 25 years.

Yet, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to effectively halt enforcement of the 1965 act, which requires advance approval of changes in voting laws in places with a record of discrimination.

In 2006 and again in 2009, the court told Congress to revise the VRA because it has not changed for nearly five decades. Congress was also to study how states and jurisdictions were subject to preclearance. The VRA mandated that some states, as well as counties in other states, were subject to special federal enforcement in an effort to make sure that racial discrimination against voters was not affecting their rights at the ballot box.

The VRA, in our opinion, worked to bring about greater participation by minorities in the voting process. It is indeed one of America’s great civil rights advances.

Yet Congress simply kicked the can down the road and now the Supreme Court, with this week’s decision, is kicking it back. In doing so, it sets up the perfect storm for potential chaos.

The VRA was founded on discrimination against blacks. Discrimination hasn’t gone away, but we acknowledge that its victims may have changed as well as the way the preclearance should be handled.

Unfortunately, the current Congress seems so polarized that it would be incapable of updating a voting rights law.

Congress must quickly move forward to protect voting standards and thwart changes to state laws that will make it difficult or impossible for individuals to vote, whether that be because of race, religion, gender or age.

Until then, we fear we no longer have a champion at the polls.

- See more at: http://www.cnhinews.com/cnhins_opinion/x1763646865/EDITORIALS-Paul-Deen-Congress-and-voting#sthash.lw4F2hAI.dpuf