The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: The (White) Elephant In the Room

Posted on: July 11, 2013

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

I have noticed a dearth of conversation about Trayvon Martin and Paula Deen on the blog, and I thank you for respecting my Southern sensibilities, but that is not really necessary. For the most part, even older white Southerners are not big fans of racism in any form or fashion.

Consider the recent media castigation of Paula Deen.  She is two years older than I am, and from the same state, although from the opposite end.  She is from Albany, which is deep in southwestern Carter Country, and I am from northeastern Rabun County.  The two are – or at least were different worlds back in The Day.  In fact, the whole state was a different place back in The Day, though mercifully free of  horrific incidents during the civil rights era.  Georgia is and always will be my much-loved home, but she does carry some indelible stains on her soul.

Paula went to high school with a colleague of mine, married young and had two children as was the custom at the time.  She divorced, developed agoraphobia, yet had two kids to support without much education to fall back on, so she stated a home business which made and delivered lunches to local offices.  The business was successful, she opened her restaurant and took off from there.

In a recent deposition she admitted using the N-word in a conversation with her then-husband thirty years ago.  She had been robbed at gunpoint by an African-American male, and was probably somewhere between frightened and furious at the time that the statement was made.  I’m not going to pass judgement on the statement, other than to say it was inappropriate, but I do have to question whether or not Paula Deen may have done something to redeem herself in the past thirty years.  Her restaurants have provided employment  (yes, including the infamous “Old South” wedding), and her television show has featured a number of AA guests, including Kris Jenkins of the Carolina Panthers.  Jenkins had this to say about the situation in an interview with MetroNY”

He said he was surprised to hear the recent issue surrounding Deen and when asked by Metro, said he never experienced any of the behavior alleged against Deen during his appearance on the show.

“I enjoyed her. Her not being on the show, it’s a drag, but it’s out of my control,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes it strikes me odd that when you give an opinion, everybody wants to condemn for an opinion but if the same shoe was on the other foot, the same people would want to play.”

Nevertheless, the media hype has continued to the point of being utterly laughable.  Yes, I know that Chris Rock avers that it’s just fine for African-Americans to call themselves the N-word, but it’s wrong for any other group to do so.  (So it’s fine to disrespect yourself while demanding that others respect you, or is this part of “the soft bigotry of low expectations”?) I even sat through an excruciating commentary where an Ivy League professor postulated that the use of the N-word was appalling on the part of Paula Deen some thirty years back, but the latter day statement by Trayvon Martin that he was being followed by some “creepy-a** cracker” was perfectly fine by ghetto standards, even though he suspected that some rural white Southerns might object.

Wow!  Where do I begin?  First, Trayvon did not live in the ghetto, he was from Miami Gardens.  Our ghettos are Overtown, Brownsville, and perhaps a few parts of Liberty City.  I have lived and worked in an ER through three hum-dingers of riots, and I know from whence the victims came. Miami Gardens is part of North Miami Beach, and if I were to get in my car and drive south for about 15 miles, then turn left at the iconic Coppertone billboard, I would find myself in Miami Gardens.   Further, his mother is an educated woman who works for Miami-Dade County, and his father drives a truck and lives in a gated community.  Anything smack of the ghetto to you?

I could easily give Trayvon a pass for being an adolescent, however.  Anyone who has had a child or a younger sibling can tell you that your sweet baby goes to bed an adorable munchkin and wakes up as an adolescent.  Adolescents do and say the damndest things.  However, it really isn’t okay to call someone a cracker, as most white Southerners are somewhat offended by being called poor white trash.  I’ve never lived in the rural South, but I’ve lived in towns with populations ranging from 1200 to over a million, and have yet to find a soul who felt complimented by this term.  Now, I have heard white Southerners say something to the effect of  “Shucks, ma’am, I’m just an ol’ cracker”, and I cringe.  They are usually millionaire politicians attempting to convince the masses that they are just plain folks.

My parents did not shine on the N-word, but not on a purely racial basis.  They felt it was part of a spectrum of hurtful names for other ethnicities and religions that just did not belong in polite conversations, and I honestly believe that they were correct.   I could easily qualify for slurs such as mick or papist, and I can assure you that I would not be thrilled with either.  In fact,  I had dinner with a Jewish couple who have been my friends for thirty-odd years  a few weeks back.  He had apparently had a difficult day in court and was not in the best of moods, with the problem being that “the goyim are all alike.”  I wondered if I should be flattered that he was comfortable enough to speak freely around me, or appalled that me and mine were held in such contempt.  I’m still mulling that one over.

If I really thought that we could possibly erase the sins of the past, I would permit you to call me the contemptuous name of your choice.  Sadly, our history is our history and needs to be viewed honestly to avoid repeating past mistakes.  So, pretty please with Southern sugar on top,  let’s not take another thirty years to stop calling each other names.  It’s fine to have conversations about our differences, and it’s fine to have pride in whom and what we are.  However, it just isn’t fine to call each other names, and I would like to suggest that we agree to worry more about tomorrow.  The defense has rested in the Trayvon Martin trial, and I am not comfortable with how things have gone.  Neither are the local police departments, who are gearing up for problems while Lebron James is begging for “Calm for Trayvon”.

This is an open thread, and please do state your honest opinions.


22 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: The (White) Elephant In the Room"

Sadly chat, I’m afraid Paula Deen has been convicted by her own words no matter when they were uttered. I think she’ll “recover” from it because Americans seem to love to forgive a sinner who repents.

As far as cracker is concerned, we’ve been told that that word is not as offensive so I guess we don’t take in or consider the p.o.v. of the person it’s directed at.

There was a very good article about the Deen issue posted at TheLensNola by C.W. Cannon, who teaches at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Offensive is in the ear of the beholder, and that is indeed an excellent article. It poses any number of great questions with difficult answers.

I’m with you Chat about respecting human dignity — I’ve really been working hard on taking people as I find them and starting from there. It isn’t easy, but it is so much easier on the conscience.

In my dotage, I’m turning out to be just like a stuffed animal hanging in a carnival midway, just there to love the next person who comes along. It really is a pretty good feeling.

@3: Absolutely. Enough already – I am reminded of Sammy Davis, Jr. when he asked why everyone could not just leave everyone else the hell alone.

Two excellent statements there:

I’m turning out to be just like a stuffed animal hanging in a carnival midway, just there to love the next person who comes along.

why everyone could not just leave everyone else the hell alone

Off topic, but Hillary has a new hairstyle which looks fantastic on her.

Socal said she read somewhere that she had some work done on her face also. Eh, she’s entitled. if that’s what she wants.

The hairstyle is great. Maybe a tiny lifestyle lift, but it;s subtle. Looks good.

chat@7: yeah, I just looked at an older pic of her and I can see it now. Thank goodness she didn’t go to any extremes with it.

It looks like the Ready for Hillary group is getting serious. Two of Obama’s former field director types have joined them. I’ve gotten any number of emails from them and of course asking for $$s. I’m still at the “extremely leary” of contributions to them unless i get some kind of sign from HRC herself that she’s given them some sort of blessing.

I sent them $5 to cover my bumper sticker. That much I’ll do at this point.

Yes, the article I read about Hillary said she had some “light” work done, freshening up. She does look quite amazing now compared to when she had just gotten out of the hospital not too long ago. They also say she is working out and dieting. Getting in fighting form!

Very nice post Chat. I do think racial things can get blown out of proportion, and in the two cases you mentioned. My own opinion about the Martin case is fed by my life experience and common sense. I do not want GZ to get away with this becuz then the court will be saying its ok to carry a gun in public, start an incident, even to the point of stalking, kill an innocent person and then get away with it because you say it was self defense. That is so wrong. I will never believe he had to kill that kid. If he had to shoot, which I also don’t believe, he could have wounded him. Common sense. I saw the pix of his wounds taken on the same night. Every member of my family, including my mother and son have had worse head wounds from one fall or hit. There is no way he had his head bashed into concrete 25 to 30 times, as he claimed. Absolutely absurd. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as little blood for a “bad” head wound ever. My brother fell back on concrete after being punched and was in the hospital for two weeks and couldn’t work for months. He still has massive head pain from this injury several years ago. I have had far worse head and nose injuries myself than that guy got. I hope the prosecution remembers to remind the jury of his interviews after the crime, how his shooting the kid was “the will of God” and how he “wouldn’t have done anything different” if he could do it over. Not to mention his scamming and lying to the court over his financial situation over the massive amount of $ he raked in from his “fans”. What GZ did disgusts me and I do not see where any racial bias informs my opinion.

Here’s another POS that really gets my goat. Charles Koch foundation says if you earn $34000 that puts you in the top 1% of the WORLD. So I guess poor people should just shut the fuck up about the billionaires & corps paying so little in taxes.

@1o: You are absolutely right. Head wounds, even the smallest lacerations, bleed freely. The pictures that I saw do not comport with repeatedly striking concrete. At best, they are abrasions. Further, the ME stated that the kid had only a small abrasion on the side of his left hand. 30+ years in ERs tells me that that is not consistent with punching someone 25 times or more. None of this computes.

@10 and 12 — George Zimmerman was going to kill someone. He had been immunized with the travesty that is “stand your ground” and he was out hunting for hero status and an entree onto a police force. This trial has been a disappointment and had it been not for a strong Judge, it would have been even worse.

I think the best outcome possible is manslaughter at this point. I just fear what an acquittal would mean for other “stand your ground” safari hunters out there waiting.

@13: Agree completely, but there will be no winners either way. An acquitted Zimmerman may be a folk hero to some, but for the rest of his days he will be remembered as the guy who killed that kid. Like Casey Anthony, he will be shunned by some of society. Further, he and his wife also face a perjury trial, and will have difficulty playing the victim with their conversation so nicely recorded/ No police force will touch him, and his wife might as well leave nursing school if convicted, as she will never be licensed. His HOA forked over some money to settle a civil action, and I’ll bet they no longer want him on their Crime Watch, as their insurance rates will skyrocket. A convicted George Zimmerman won’t bring back the Martins’ son, either.

@14, Chat I agree with the sentiments, but I have been amazed at the “cottage industry” that has built up around those deemed “wrongfully charged” by the “gubment.” The stain of such things seem to be waning in a matter of weeks or months just to a state of amorphous notoriety.

The massive amount of funds underlying the defense of Zimmerman are astounding. That cartoon, virtual reality, reenactment runs into the six figures. His lawyers and experts are easily in the seven figures.

One of the things I think is very telling in the trial is the many strategic calls that have been made to protect against a civil judgment for wrongful death. His lawyers are protecting his book and movie deal.

working on my Guest posts Fredster sorry I have been slammed at work Have this weekend set aside…..

“One of the things I think is very telling in the trial is the many strategic calls that have been made to protect against a civil judgment for wrongful death. His lawyers are protecting his book and movie deal.”

I didn’t know this. Makes the whole thing sicker than ever. I have been trying to not pay too much attention to it for my own peace of mind. I find that Stand Your Ground law to be terrifying, and agree with you about more shootings of this type coming about if he is acquitted.

Another right wing anti abortion stunt:

“WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled North Carolina House pushed through anti-abortion legislation on Thursday, using as their vehicle a motorcycle safety bill that lawmakers had stealthily turned into a measure on abortion.”

Don’t know if you guys heard this one yet, but TMZ posted a video of Justine Bieber exiting a NYC nightclub thru its kitchen. He stops and pees in the janitors mop bucket (in the kitchen!!!), then on his way out, saw a pic of Bill Clinton on the wall, grabbed a bottle of spray cleaner and sprayed the the cleaner on the picture while screaming “Fuck Bill Clinton!”. This is one little tidbit in a daily digest of horrible behavior on the part of this little douche. (He claims to be a “Christian”) Anyway, to save face, he called Clinton to apologize and Bill reportedly took his call and forgave him, so of course Justine tweeted about it. Am I wrong to wish Bill had ignored him? You can find the story on Sorry I couldn’t get it to link.

@15: These are basically NRA-backed “a Howitzer in every pot” functions, although mistrust of the government does indeed run deep in these parts.
@18: “unborn” to be wild?

I don’t think an acquittal is in the works for Zimmerman, more likely the manslaughter conviction. Just my opinion of course. And as chat said, he’s toast no matter what.

Re: “the bebe”. Here is what is “mother” said:

His mother thinks he is a good kid just going through some changes.

“I think it’s the same with any parent of an adult child,” Pattie Mallette told “Fox & Friends” during an interview Tuesday. “You know, once they turn 18, 19, and they move away from home and they start making their own decisions. The parenting style changes and you hope to still be a voice in their ear and you.”

“You know, you’ve got to love them and encourage them and he knows what I think,” she added. “He knows the things that I agree with. He knows the things that I disagree with. But he also knows the many things that I’m really proud of him for. He does a lot of great things that don’t show up in the headlines.”

Of course Pattie, you know who signs your checks don’t you? 👿

Tell you what Pattie, take him back to Canada. We don’t really need or want him here. Oh I can’t wait for the crash and burn that’s inevitable. with that one.

Fuzzy@16: Understood. Sorry ’bout you being slammed at work but just wanted to touch base.

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