I have been following with interest the whole Paula Deen Saga as it unfolded. The impression I have formed is that clearly this is a woman who characterize people in terms of the color of their skin. She was perhaps raised in a culture where black people were only seen as servants and although time has evolved she has remained stuck in the past.
Even if she had used the N word a long time ago, the fact that Ms Deen should even consider the idea of having what she called a plantation style wedding for her brother where the serving staff would consist of black men dressed in white jackets and bow ties clearly illustrates that she is still living in the plantation days. It was no big deal to call blacks the N word and make jokes about them back then because it was considered okay. I do not get the feeling that Ms Deen is comfortable around blacks and that she feels they are her equal and because of this it is extremely difficult to apologize and sound genuine doing it.
It is not surprising that her apologies have not gone down well with a lot of people. The apologies did not seem to come from the heart and there were nothing in the words she spoke that gave one the impression that she was genuinely sorry. She should have nipped the tree in the bud from the moment she admitted to the world that she had made racial slurs. Instead of her weak apologies she should have come out with a strong apology and say it like said really meant it
I am no expert at apologies but maybe her apology could have read something like this:
I know that a lot of people are displeased with me and they have every right to be. I was raised to be honest and take responsibility for my actions. I admit that I did use racial slurs many many years ago and for this I am truly sorry. I apologize to everyone I’ve hurt by my unacceptable behavior. I should have known better and I should never have used those words. It is wrong to make jokes about people because of the color of their skin or their racial background. To all whom I have offended I am truly sorry and I hope you will find in in your heart to forgive me. I ask for a second chance to make amends to all whom I have hurt by my insensitive words and actions. Please accept my sincere apologies and I humbly ask again for your forgiveness.
What she has done so far was to try and convince people that she is not a racist and that she is a good person. That was not what people wanted to hear. They wanted a sincere apology.
Ironically the person who started all of this by bringing a racial discrimination suit against Paula Deen is in fact white. It is interesting to note that the action of one person can bring about the fall of an empire. Ms Deen worked hard over the years to build her empire and it a matter of days her great empire turned into a sinking titanic and everyone is rushing to get off board. No one is willing to go down with a sinking ship!
The Food Network was the first to get off board by not renewing her contract. Since then other companies have cut ties with her, among them are: JCPenny, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Smithfield Foods, Caesar Entertainment and Random House has cancelled the publication of her new book.
Do I believe Paula Deen deserves the harsh punishment being meted out to her? Probably not. At the same time I understand why the businesses did what they did. They understand something that up to now I don’t believe Ms Deen has fully grasped and that is, in business people are important irrespective of you ethnicity or racial background, they need the support of them all. Another valuable lesson learned is that friendship does not take priority in business. When situations like these arise people are going to do what is best for business, who know she probably might have done the same.