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So, I responded to a Facebook conversation about Paula Deen yesterday. Now many will believe that this is where I made my first mistake and…well, you’re probably right. But at the time, it actually seemed like a sound idea. Despite the fact that there were mostly comments by white men and many were defending Deen, I still thought: rational conversation. After all, we are Facebook friends, right? And there was just no way that this could go wrong.

Here’s how it went down, with commentary.

The post began, “Anne Rice is right” about Paula Deen. For those who are not aware, Anne Rice, the author of Interview With the Vampire, made statements that she felt Deen was being publically “lynched” because of racist statements and business policies that Deen had enacted within her restaurants.

As you can imagine, comparing Deen with lynching, in which whites would hang, burn and castrate blacks who dared to challenge them, did not go over so well. People were naturally upset that a person who made her living using words, could be so careless with them. Now this person defended Rice, who defended Deen. So I commented that, “it’s really interesting to see people defending and feeling sorry for poor Paula Deen and how she's being lynched and crucified--as if her use of the "n" word once in her life is the problem. If you want to feel sorry for someone, how about feeling sorry for her poor black employees who were forced to enter and leave through back doors and use separate bathrooms than whites....”

The oddest response in the history of responses followed: “Chesya, in spite of yesterday's ruling, it's still not legal for people like me to get married, a right that every race, creed, and religion enjoys, that convicts and mentally incapacitated people enjoy. Furthermore, when people like me point it out, they're told to check their "white privilege." Please, let's not go there with the victimization Olympics, at least until we have a gay President in the White House….”

Um…okay. Your gay rights are being trampled by…Paula Deen…oh, no, by the people who are calling out Paula Deen for racist policies? Okay, I admit, I don’t make the connection, but…actually, why are we talking about gay rights, again?

Because, he said, “the double standard that seems to apply for public outrage of this magnitude is ludicrous and noxious” and “it stopped being about "racism" days ago.” Okay, but I don’t think we should dismiss what Paula Deen has said and done because gays aren’t getting a fair shake.

Then the white male upset: “No one is dismissing what she said, but the fact that you need to manipulate what my post actually says speaks to the weakness of your own position.”

Manipulate? “By saying that Anne Rice is right,” I told him, “I believe that you are dismissing what Paula Deen has done. After all, Anne Rice dismissed it herself by saying what Deen had said wasn't a problem because she only said it to a white woman. This is dismissive because it pretends that Deen's actions are somehow no big deal.”

Then more white man upset for the poor, rich, Southern, white woman while pulling the whole, you’re-just-a-youngen’-stop-trying-to-talk-with-the-menfolk card: “Anne Rice did not say that, sorry. Again, if we could stick to actual facts rather than distortions, that would be terrific. You've already distorted what I've said, now you're distorting what Mrs. Rice said. These entry-level political tricks are tedious, and I was watching them happen before you were born. They're tired.”

So I quote Mrs. Rice: “[Paula Deen] made the remark privately to Lisa Jackson. She did not say it to a black person to offend that person or hurt that person. She isn't the one to broadcast that comment to the whole world.... Lisa Jackson did that. And she's white by the way."

I think I did a fine job of summarizing what Anne Rice said, actually. And I said so.

But he responded: “That is not what she said.... You stated that she said the comment "wasn't a problem because she only said it to a white woman." As you yourself just quoted, that is neither what she said, nor what she meant.”

Now, I know that words have meaning, and I know that it’s important to get to the root of the meaning, so let’s figure this out. How does Anne Rice’s words that she said it to a white person, so as not to hurt a black person not mean the same thing as it wasn't a problem (i.e. hurtful) to black people because she only said it to a white woman? I don’t know, but I really need someone to explain this to me.

Oh, but this gets better.

Because during this whole ordeal, this “gentlemen” continues to use the “n” word over and over again. But don't worry, he always put it in "quotations." In several different post, even within post back to back to back to back to back, as if to make a very important point about how he’s not racist. And evidently how he didn’t want to appear racist while talking to a Black woman about racism and using the “n” word over and over and over again. It didn’t matter that “I” never used it; it didn’t even matter, evidently, if I was offended by it.

If I had pointed this out, I probably would have been accused of whining. How do I know? Because soon after, I was accused of whining. When he asked me to “prove” that Paula Deen had admitted to many of the allegations during her deposition, I said there was no point “because it will probably be ignored or claimed that a direct quote does not say what it actually says or that I've misrepresented something.”

The response: “Chesya, please don't whine. If you have an example of her admitting to "many of the allegations," just post them. Don't play the victim here, it's not necessary.”

Then another white guy: “I know I'd like less whining and more posting of FACTS.”

So I’m perceived as whining. Although I didn’t start a conversation about “racism and sexism” and then turn it completely around and make it about my own oppression, complaining that I can’t get married and black people can or that there’s no gay president in the white house. But these dudes tell me to stop whining? Let me guess, I’m a woman, so I whine. He’s a man, so he….what?

Again, I need help with this.

Eventually, for some reason, Anne Rice is linked to (as if he expects her to bring down her rain of truth on me) and her son is spoken to as if he’s commented (I have no idea if he did): “Note to Christopher Rice. I did not need another reason to love your mother, but she has been so stand-up in this instance, I applaud her. Even more.”


Then there was some half ass thank you to “everyone, for the thoughtful, respectful commentary.” I assume he means other than constantly using that derogatory word in his responses to me or accusing me of whining—you know, like a girl.

Things I learned from this conversation, Paula Deen was actually being “quite complementary” when she said she wanted blacks dressing like slaves, and if I like Jesse Jackson I’m a hypocrite and I don’t know anything about race or history (the last two must be true, because a black guy said it).

Eventually, I stopped responding because, let’s be honest, there was no point. Whining again, sorry! But I have a few thoughts on the conversation that I tweeted throughout yesterday and many people responded to.

But none of this matters because, you know, it’s easier to just dismiss me as whining. That means you don't have to address your hurtful ideologies.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
Who ARE these ass hats???

Well, I know who Anne Rice is: an author on my "unreadable" list, but otherwise . . .
Jun. 28th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC)
I lost all respect for Anne Rice as a writer after Memnoch the Devil.

As a person, I am only wryly amused by her. Many authors get bitchy towards their critics and make the mistake of fighting with people who don't like their books (hell one just unfriended and blocked me on Facebook because she saw that I gave her a bad review on Amazon - after sending a snotty letter), but they don't call it Ricing Out for nothing.
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
I love you and I'm now following you on twitter.
Jun. 28th, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
<3 What's your Twitter name?
Jun. 28th, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
sorry. should have added that. It's orasimcha (my Hebrew name is orasimcha batdina).
Jun. 28th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
Language and Hyperbole
An author friended me on FB and the first thing I see is him going on a rant against Fascists and Nazis who supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I can see not agreeing with these words, but I really wish people would stop invoking the Holocaust for everything they don't like.

I used the Anne Rice lynching example as the reason why I like to have some clarity in language.

As for this Paula Deen thing - I just see it from a PR perspective (I suppose it stems from the belief that if I wanted to quit writing term papers for a living and get a real job that I should go to school for Public Relations - but then that would mean giving up on the publishing and writing fiction) in which I wonder WHY Deen couldn't just apologize. It would be SO easy for her to get out of this one. Just a "I wish that I hadn't used that word and I like to think of myself as an open minded individual who accepts everyone, but that incident really brings home just how much racism I've absorbed. I apologize to everyone whom I've offended with my careless words," with some verbiage about hoping to learn and grow as a person.

Then maybe donate to the NAACP or the Negro College Fund.

Hell, if Tracy Morgan could get out of his homophobic not only relatively unscathed but actually looking contrite and intelligent and self-reflective, almost anyone could do it (well not Michael Richards).

Instead she went insane.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)
Re: Language and Hyperbole
Seriously. It's not that hard.
Jun. 29th, 2013 01:19 am (UTC)
I feel your pain. I am so frequently burned out by dealing with bigots of all stripes, whether racist, sexist, queerphobic, etc. But I keep going back... :(

Anyways, like I tell myself, it's not your responsibility to save the world, especially with people who just aren't going to listen.

Maybe I'm saying that to also convince myself. I recently had a few of those myself. (;^_^)
Jun. 29th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
The only way to deal with people on Facebook with silly opinions is to troll them as much as possible. And as subtly as possible: today I decided to troll the internet by stating that Canada doesn't have states, it has prefectures.

Some people actually argued with me.

Anyway, the point is that most bigots are totally unaware of context and lack the self-awareness to think about what they are saying. It is an attitude that is frankly, very...uncool. The hallmark of the racist to me is not so much the hatred as the utter lack of sense or style. They are, in short, TACKY. Now, I know that you might be befuddled here: how can a woman who has her own line of flavored butters at Wal-Mart be tacky. Incredibly enough, it is possible. Just like it is possible that a once talented writer who somehow thought that an editor trying to cut out her meandering tales of incest, BDSM and dimestore existentialism was inexcusable might also be lacking in taste.

And, as they say, there is no disputing in matters of taste. Or tastelessness. You won't win these arguments anymore than you will win an argument with someone who wants to wear a "I am only here for the beer" shirt to a funeral. Mockery is your only remaining option.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
Honey, I'm a Southerner. (Can't you tell?) They have raised tackiness to an art form, even when they're trying to be classy. I mean that in the most affectionate way possible, but there it is.
Jun. 29th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
But none of this matters because, you know, it’s easier to just dismiss me as whining. That means you don't have to address your hurtful ideologies.

Jun. 29th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
You're not insane, Chesya. You are right and they were wrong. I stand with you.
Jun. 29th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
I'm seeing a meme going around asking why Paula Deen is getting trashed but its ok for Lil Wayne to set the flag on fire. Every time I see it I think to myself I want to respond to this because those two things have nothing to do with one another so you can't use them in an argument but I can't figure out a way to say it where somebody can't just come back with an easy, shitty one liner. Why does everyone insist on comparing shit that does not go together??

Jennifer Gniadecki
Jun. 29th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
Jennifer Gniadecki: Quite honestly it's infuriating and is basically meant to shut down all descending voices without having to address the issue at hand. It's really difficult for some people to believe that, no, Lil Wayne's burning the flag has nothing to do with Paula Deen. And guess what? His use of the "n" word has nothing to do with her business practices. I think they compare stuff that's off topic because they feel somehow it supports their own ideologies so they don't have to do any heavy thinking on why they have hurtful views.
Jun. 29th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
I agree 100% - If the person believes it enough to post it, they aren't open to discussing it. Not publicly, anyway.

It took me over an hour to explain to one of my closest friends this wasn't about her saying that one word that one time back in the day. It is a systematic thought process that is SHOWN by using that word - a process that led to actual monetary and emotional harm to certain humans ONLY because of their skin color. It exists outside of GLBTQ* prejudice, sexism, and any other injustice. This is about THIS. People are trying to deflect it by swishing around in the swamp and muddying the water with these other issues.

Like when I argue with my spouse and he switches the argument to the accuracy of the last sentence instead of the point of the argument.

Jennifer Gniadecki
Jun. 30th, 2013 02:22 am (UTC)
i have long resigned myself to the fact i will lose white friends over race issues because they're really good at hiding their true feelings or the matter for some other reason isn't brought to the fore right away. recently dropped a distant friend, and recently dropped another friend who's also a colleague for his racist remarks. c'est la vie.
Jun. 30th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
Jul. 1st, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
The black guy
Yes, I'm the black guy who said you didn't understand shit about history or race if you forgave Jesse Jackson. Was I speaking Farsi? What part of that was hard for you.

Jackson has his own history of saying something racially offensive and repugnant but we all moved on. At the time, Jesse said...don't judge me by a dumb comment, judge me by my history, what I've done.

If you hadn't blocked me like the little church mouse you are (sound bold, run scared) you would have also heard me say ...that what Paula Deen "allegedly" said would be dumb but not worthy of all this time or attention. It's still not. But like the little mouse, you want the small piece of cheese and don't see the cheese factory.

You sound like the victim in this blog. What you don't sound..is rational OR remotely intelligent.

You are STILL indicting Deen over allegations in a lawsuit...unproven allegations. THAT is what Anne Rice, and Christopher Rise and me, the black guy, were saying.

Maybe you should trying ....listening.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:07 am (UTC)
Re: The black guy
why the fuck would anyone bother listening to someone that starts off with 'Was I speaking Farsi? What part of that was hard for you.'?
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: The black guy
I had no idea what you were talking about here but lo, we are on the Internet and wow, here's Google.

Upon an initial and cursory Google search, I'm seeing where Jesse Jackson made insensitive remarks about Jews back in the '80s. Also some other remarks that were more of a mixed bag*. But I'm also seeing where he apparently apologized for some, if not all of these statements. For example (from a website completely unsympathetic to him):

"In private talks we sometimes let our guard down and become thoughtless. [My use of a slur] was not in a spirit of meanness, but an off-color remark having no bearing on religion or politics. However innocent and unintended, it was insensitive and wrong."

It starts out with him sounding just like every white idiot who ever throws the N-bomb... but then he acknowledges his use of the word was insensitive and wrong, which is something whites slinging the N-bomb just about never do.

Including Paula Deen.

If Chesya were a "church mouse" she'd moderate anonymous comments and delete yours. She told me you are not blocked. (I didn't ask, she volunteered it.) Either you're a liar or you need to figure out how your little social media platform works, whichever one you think she's blocked you upon. Your lack of technical capability is not her problem.


*Like the one where he said some Jewish people admitted that they went too meekly to the showers. And yet, there were Jews who resisted the ghetto and the trip to the death camp. So maybe there *are* some Jewish people who feel this way about the Holocaust. It is really difficult to have these conversations, though, because EVERYONE gets butthurt and starts slinging poo. So much for accurate historical perspective--for people who DO believe the Holocaust happened and that it was wrong, mind you.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: The black guy
Still name calling, I see. I can only assume that you don't know how to have a reasonable conversation. I will try to respond to you, black man, as a fully cogent person. A dignity that you have yet to offer me.

Again, Jessie Jackson has nothing to do with this conversation. Nor does my like or dislike of him. This is about Paula Deen's actions. It's deflecting trying to make it about anything but that. You're also being dismissive by pretending that this is about what Paula Deen "allegedly said." This is about her alleged actions and behavior toward her minority employees. Because of your own behavior, I must only assume you are not capable of reading or understanding the accusations or Paula Deen's own deposition where again she admitted to many of them. And in case you don't understand, like Anne Rice, wanting blacks to dress up like slaves does reflect their work environment and her ideologies--despite whether or not she only said it to a white person.

Secondly, I did not block you or otherwise do anything so as not to see your post. I simply didn't comment on the post again. And...church mouse? Really?

I'm sorry that you do not feel that my blog is "rational or remotely intelligent." But I would like to point out that you are the one that cannot refrain from name calling.

I would also ask you to listen, but I fear that this is not the problem. Instead, I believe that your own internalized racism issues will not allow you to understand, black man.
Thandisizwe Every-Twentyeighthours Chimurenga
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
Anne Rice, her son, racism, sexism and homophobia, oh my!
"After all, we are Facebook friends, right? And there was just no way that this could go wrong."

HAHA! Silly rabbit!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )