Paula Deen and Racism in America
There has been a lot of press about the Food Network's announcement in June that it was dropping Paula Deen's contract after the celebrity chef admitted she had used racial slurs, such as the N-word. Deen, who apologized in a video statement after the incident, continues to be both denounced and defended by fans.
In her blog yesterday, Kristen Howerton wrote that she does not just view the controversy in terms of whether Deen used the N-word, but rather as a reflection of the underlying issues of racism in American society:
"I think that [Paula Deen's] attitudes about race exemplify the covert racism that pervades in society today, and warrant discussion. Most of us recognize that walking up to a black person and calling them a n*gger would be absolutely abhorrent. But what white folks in the company of other white people is another matter. Paula’s admissions reveal that, in certain circles, racism against black people has simply gone underground, and given way to a more slippery version of racism that is harder to nail down. In a society where racism has (thankfully) become less socially acceptable, racism has gotten more obscured. And well-meaning white people are enabling it."
Howerton states that "if our country ever wants to heal from the racism of our past, we've got to stop denying that it's still an issue. We need to own it. To step up and start a national conversation about race. That starts with being honest."
In a Crosswalk.com article entitled "How to Turn Racism into Gracism," Whitney Hopler explains that "simply avoiding racism isn't enough to bring reconciliation between people." She writes:
"You can do more than just ignoring differences as if they don't matter. Instead, you can become a gracist -- someone who uses the differences between people's color, economic class or culture as an opportunity to show God's love to others. While a racist uses distinctions between people to hurt, a gracist uses them to heal."
How do you think should Christians address the issues of racism in our society? How should we respond to controversies like that of Paula Deen's comments?
Anna Kuta is the editor of ReligionToday.com.