I actually think angels are weeping over the behavior of humans. Some days in this land of coronavirus in which we live it is hard to be anything but repulsed by fellow human beings. People keep saying over and over that this virus brings out the best and worst in people. Over the weekend I saw the worst again.
NextDoor is a social media platform that a lot of people who are on it for some reason don’t think it’s actually a social media platform. The end result are things that you wouldn’t even see on Facebook at times. Sociologically and psychologically it’s fascinating even when it’s terribly sad.
A conversation thread went up over the weekend of someone looking for literally Chinese takeout food. A lot of the restaurants are closed, one in particular may have lost their lease but no one is sure, and because of the horrible nickname COVID-19/coronavirus has been given, I think a lot of these places are closed because they’re scared of peoples’ reactions to their nationality.
The thread was humming along with people posting restaurants open and closed here and there and then boom! All of a sudden up pops this one woman who says something to the effect of she couldn’t believe anyone would want to patronize Chinese restaurants. this person goes on to write other things that can only be described as both prejudiced and racist.
Then a separate post pops up. From a gentleman who ironically claims to have an Asian descended wife. And it’s basically why would anyone want to have Chinese food they caused the virus and my Asian wife agrees with me. I am paraphrasing, but that was the gist of their post.
I sort of sat there gob smacked looking at it because this is a person whom I know to be intelligent and can be quite thoughtful. But sometimes they go off the rails and I guess this is one of those occasions. But to take an entire nationality to task over a virus that may or may not have originated in a particular country is just repugnant. I say originated because I don’t think anyone has determined the ultimate point of origin for coronavirus/COVID-19. And I think starting and originating are two different things.
It’s also the whole sick argument of if people look different so they must be different, therefore they must be bad and I just can’t stand it. And I just am amazed at the hate that is fomenting in this country even more so than before the virus took over our lives.
I am descended from people who were discriminated against in this country because of their nationality. Irish, Italian, and German. And don’t forget the religion – I’m Catholic. That’s been a huge problem here and there in this country as well. And not just today because of the issue of pedophile priests.
I have a step sister-in-law who is Taiwanese by birth. I have another good friend who is Taiwanese by birth. I have an honorary Chinese mother who is also actually Taiwanese by birth. These three women are all important to me and I feel very lucky to have them in my life.
I have other friends who are Indonesian and others who are Korean and Vietnamese. I do not look at any of these people with descriptive tags attached. Their cultures are unique and beautiful and they share them openly and generously with all of us. Just like my friends of other cultures like Poland, Romania, the UK and Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Latin America, and so on and so forth. My friends come in many different races and nationalities and isn’t that part of what being an American is about?
We are a country born of immigrants and founded of immigrants. Yet we seem to be devolving into a country of pig ignorant people. Racism and prejudice seems to be rampant right now. And why can’t we just take a breath and pause? Why do we have to be so hateful to one another? We are all affected by what is happening because of COVID-19/Coronavirus.
I also know people who have adopted children of different nationalities and even different skin colors than their own. These sentiments for lack of a better description terrify them. They worry how it will affect their children, if their children will be safe in this world in which we live. And can you really blame them?
We (again) are a nation born of immigrants. It’s our literal history. This country was formed because people wanted a better life and less persecution and religious freedoms.
Yet here we are.
Every time something goes wrong in this country instead of dealing with it you have some faction that goes off and place the blame game with races and religions.
My wish, heck my prayer for this country, is we stop and pause and use this time out of our control to better our country, to stop the hate.
Yes it’s a tall order. But we never seem to learn from our history how to deal with our mistakes. And among those that are the most grievous are racism and prejudice.
I’m far from perfect, you all are far from perfect. To be human is to be imperfect. But we just have to try to do better.
Please. We are stronger together than apart. And that is a big component of why things are so agitated right now. You have the whole economic fallout from coronavirus/COVID-19 and then there’s the emotional component. But we have to stay the course.
Pay it forward when you can. If you can’t just do your part and stay home. And try not to blame other races and nationalities for something that is beyond the world’s control at this point.
Social media is a window into the growing use of Juuls. In June, there were 10,000 Juul-related posts on Twitter. By December that number had climbed to 150,000, Dobbins said.
Locally, a video of two Conestoga High School students that has made the rounds on social media, more for the use of racial slurs, also shows one of the girls using a Juul.
In an email, officials at the Tredyffrin/Eastown School District in Chester County stated that using a Juul “would be considered a code of conduct violation, which would be enforced.”
Calls to local school districts, including Philadelphia, about Juuling on campus went largely unanswered — though two Montgomery County districts acknowledged the use of the product in their schools.
On Tuesday, wellness counselors in the Lower Merion School District sent a letter to middle and high school parents about the Juuling trend, suggesting parents talk “openly and honestly” with children about not only Juuling but also drugs and alcohol.
Ok now two excerpts from articles on the whole N-word situation:
DEVON >> A video featuring some Conestoga High School students casually using the N-word is now the focus of a school board investigation.
The video, which was not made during school, is going viral – and not in a good way.
The video shows two white, teenage girls who are apparently vaping, using the N-word and laughing. The video has been widely shared on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The two girls have not been identified.
I received several copies of the recent live social media post by two Conestoga High School girls with racial slurs. The ‘white’ girls use the “N”-word multiple times in the racially offensive video which has since gone viral.
For African-American students living in some parts of the country, the use of the N-word by their white peers may be routine. But I admit that in 2018, living in the T/E School District, I found the racial vitriol of the video shocking and extremely disturbing. Am I naive to think that this video by a couple of Conestoga High School students is an isolated situation or … is it symptomatic of a bigger problem in the school district?
Following the video going viral, the T/E School District families received a letter from Superintendent Gusick which contained the following message, “T/E School District strongly condemns this and all forms of racist language. Although this video was not made during school, it has hurt and offended many in our school community. This is unacceptable behavior, and it will not be tolerated. The school will investigate fully and apply consequences as appropriate. T/E School District will continue to stand for respect and inclusion, with schools where all are welcomed to learn and grow.”
Now one of the girls wasidentified. And her father posted a public apology. One has to feel his pain as a parent.
The actions of two teenage girls are going to have very extended consequences. As I peered into the social media of it all, I was struck by something profound that a friend said to me:
I’m not saying in any way that what these girls did was OK – but the level of hate towards them is close to a lynching mob.
I have to agree. Hate begets hate but somewhere we all as a society need to pause and think, don’t we?
Someone else said:
A number of problems have surfaced in this district but schools generally reflect the norms of their community rather than form them in a vacuum.
Also somewhat true.
I feel I have to ask why is it that only the girl who was the field hockey phenom on a fast track to UNC as an early field hockey commit was named by name? Two girls are in that video.
And let’s step back and look at the other lesson here: two teenagers have learned that actions indeed have consequences and words do wound.
Words wound. Actions have consequences. Teenagers are of the invincible age. They imagine they are like teflon and nothing bad can happen.
Uhhh d’oh. Just because you think it’s cool to be an ass on social media, it doesn’t mean it won’t follow you.
Kids today live in a different kind of scrutiny filled world. Instant communication is great, but now look at two teenage girls who have in essence, tanked their cozy little worlds for transmitting ignorance.
Someone else said to me today:
These girls were probably at home when they posted this video, not at school. So I don’t quite understand how it is the fault of the school district and not the parents. …There are so many good things that happen at Conestoga and so many amazing kids that go there. Just hate to see them all affected by the foolish actions of 2 students…please do not throw all the kids into one bucket. Take it from me, there are a lot of good things happening at Conestoga, You just don’t hear about them!
So we are back to the power of the Internet. Which, incidentally, is why we all hear about the negative things so often at Conestoga. And we have heard about a lot of negative incidents coming out of this school and the corresponding school district over the past couple of years, haven’t we? And while not indicative of every student, every teacher, every coach, and all parents it certainly does make one pause and wonder about an unpleasant culture that pops up every now and again, doesn’t it?
Expressions of hate aren’t cute little things to be tossed around while giggling with your friends. Words wound and these are words that are just a big bag of wrong.
People speak of social media boot camps. I think they should develop them for middle school and high schools everywhere. Make parents, educators, and students attend.
And as for the parents who will say things like they didn’t know. Ok look, I am the step-parent of a teenager. They are the secret society. They communicate by text and various social media platforms and via their gaming systems . But we are the adults. And while we should resist the urge to be prison wardens, we need to be present.
Parents need to be clear that actions have consequences. Parents need to set boundaries. Have difficult or awkward discussions at times.
Teenagers need to realize that social media can and will follow them. Even adults are turned down for jobs and even relationships because of what people see on social media.
Trust me, I know. I am a blogger.
I have the video the girls posted. I was going to include it on this post, but decided NOT to include it.
I want to have a different conversation, and that is the conversation of how we can all work together as an extended community wherever we live to strive towards ending this crap.
We as the adults in the equation need to set a better example for the future generations. We live in a crazy volatile world, as well as a crazy politically volatile country.
We need to teach our children well.
We need to appreciate differences in other.
And from the Lord’s Prayer:
And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.
I don’t know what else to say except, this whole situation saddens me. I feel like this country is spiraling out of control and it is reflected on every level of society and age group.
I am going to sign off now. I have struggled with this post for hours. I felt I had to write, but even now I wonder if in this situation are any words the right words?
Hate should have no home here, Chester County. Not at Christmas or at anytime. The photo you see is READER SUBMITTED. It came to me a little before 9:30 AM on Christmas Eve (this morning as I write this.)
It was in response to a message I received overnight after midnight and posted this morning:
Hello. I came across some racist graffiti in Exton. It’s under the underpass at rt 100 and 30 bypass. It’s new as I travel the area frequently and don’t think it’s more than 2 days old. Not sure how to have it removed.
Apparently they tried to call the police yesterday, but calling the non-emergency number after hours, is well, after hours. That is the problem with a centralized 911 system – you can’t just get someone from a local police department easily on the phone. In the old days, you could just simply call a local non-emergency number to report things like hideous graffiti.
I don’t expect a Christmas miracle out of West Whiteland Township on Christmas Eve, but either they or PennDOT need to remove this as soon as possible. Hate should truly have no home here, especially at Christmas. Say a prayer for the person who did the graffiti because they need to lose the hate in their own heart that drove them to tag in such an awful way.
2017 has been a brutal year. My Christmas wish is for peace at Christmas and in 2018. All of this hate from coast to coast in the United States accomplishes nothing…except it foments more and more hate. Somehow it needs to stop.
This graffiti in Exton isn’t art, nor is it a political statement. It’s just hate.
Please stop the hate. Hate has no home here at Christmas or any other time.
At first I was horrified when I heard about Paula Deen and her purported use of racial slurs past and present. I don’t cotton to racism in any form, but now I have to wonder is Paula Deen partially a victim of the political correctness police in this country? A scapegoat for a conversation no one, let alone modern southerners, wants to have?
Face it the topic no one wants to discuss ever in this country is racism. And no matter what you say on the topic, someone is going to be pissed off or offended. Discussing racism is the ultimate no-win conversation.
SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Food Network said Friday it’s dumping Paula Deen, barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted the first of two videotaped apologies online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.
The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word. “Yes, of course,” Deen said, though she added, “It’s been a very long time.”
The Food Network, which made Deen a star with “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2002 and later “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2008, weighed in with a terse statement Friday afternoon.
“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month,” the statement said…Court records show Deen sat down for a deposition May 17 in a discrimination lawsuit filed last year by a former employee who managed Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, a Savannah restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers. The ex-employee, Lisa Jackson, says she was sexually harassed and worked in a hostile environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs.
Some of you may be appalled that I have even verbalized this thought of Paula-Deen-as-scapegoat/scarlet lettered woman, but the thing that gets to me about anything involving racism is we are all appalled at even the thought of it, yet it is politically incorrect to discuss it? How do we approach racism in modern society if we can’t or won’t talk about it? And are Paula Deen’s crimes so egregious that she should lose everything? Does the punishment fit the crime?
I am Caucasian. Or white. Pick your term. My genetic make up is Italian, Irish and Pennsylvania German. Am I offended when I hear slurs like “Wop” or “Mick” or “Dago” ? Yes. Hugely so. I also don’t like it when Catholics (which I am) are referred to by slang like “Mackerel Snappers.”
But does it make get up and sue people every time I hear something ignorant? And face it, my ancestry faced much racial and societal discrimination in this country in times past and here we are supposedly the land of the free and a melting pot. Don’t believe me? Look up the history of the Irish and Italian immigrants.
Am I a huge fan of Paula Deen’s? Not really. Should she have known butter than to use the N word? Of course she should have, but wow, perspective here: this is an older Southern woman who grew up in the south around the time frame focused on by the movie and book called “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett which was made into a movie by the same name.
Does where and how Paula Deen grew up excuse bad behavior? No but it explains a lot. On one level Deen would have to comprehend that it would be career suicide to spew racial slurs, yet on the other hand have we turned into a people so unforgiving that she should lose everything? It is easy to cast blame, it is really difficult to forgive and was she supposed to lie under oath?
I understand why The Food Network did what it did (She and her brother Earl Hiers are being sued by a former employee for sexual harassment and workplace discrimination), but is this a cut and dry topic or is it as a couple of writers I read today suggest, that there are other things to be considered?
By now, the whole world knows that Paula Deen is a racist. They know she used an ugly word and said some despicable things and holds some disgusting attitudes about African-Americans. She has lost her television show on the Food Network and has been roundly castigated in the media for what she said. If there’s anyone in this world that’s fit to hate right now, it’s Paula Deen. But, here’s the thing: if she’s a racist, so am I.
That last statement probably deserves a little explanation. Ms. Deen and her brother, Earl Hiers, are being sued by former employee Lisa Jackson for sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. While being deposed, Ms. Deen was asked by the plantiff’s attorney “Have you ever used the N-word yourself?”, to which she answered “Yes, of course”. I have to say, if someone were to ask me that same question, the only truthful answer would also be “Yes, of course”. Because I have said it. More than once.
While I grew up in the south, I didn’t grow up in an overtly racist home…Truthfully, my family has never seen any individuals different than ourselves…. In 1976, my grandfather was incensed when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, saying “Ain’t no nigger ought to break Babe Ruth’s record”….
Is Paula Deen guilty of the sin of racism? Yes, but that’s not why we’re pissed at her. We’re pissed because she reminded us (white America) that we’re not quite as progressive as we’d like to think. Because, when most of us read what she said, somewhere deep down in the recesses of our psyches, we agreed with her. When we read what she said about “ a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties” and how “in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around”, we smiled. And, when we read “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that”, we said “Damn right, they would.”
There’s a feeding frenzy over Paula Deen as a result of what she said in that deposition and isn’t because what she said was wrong (it was). It isn’t because white Americans are truly invested in “justice for all” (we aren’t). This feeding frenzy is happening because it allows us to ignore the ugly things we think and say and do when comes those who aren’t quite like us. We’re worried about the speck in our sister’s eye so we don’thave to worry about the log in our own. And, until we deal with that log, our cries of racism will continue to ring hollow.
This post really made me think. However, another thing that has been playing out on the Main Line between an Ardmore neighborhood and Iron Hill Brewery has also made me think about this issue or racism that is still an elephant in most rooms that people are afraid to discuss. In this thing between a historically minority neighborhood and a generally respected business that has a couple of Chester County locations it was inferred if not said outright (paraphrasing from reports of said meeting) at a local meeting that this neighborhood didn’t want yuppies from places like Gladwyne drinking beer and driving through their neighborhood and how is that not ugly? How is that not considered racist on the face of it’s twisted merit? Is that attitude ok?
See what I mean? Is it ok for some folks to say some things but not others? What is racism today?
Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another….Racism has existed throughout human history. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another — or the belief that another person is less than human — because of skin color, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. It has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes.
Racism is hate and hate takes many forms. But is Paula Deen the only person guilty of racist behavior in the form of racial slurs? Or much like Martha Stewart (who I am definitely not a fan of) when she went to jail following an insider trading scandal, is Paula Deen similarly another perfect scapegoat? Part of me always felt that although Martha deserved what she got that she received more harsh treatment than a lot of men had because she is a strong woman who has seen a lot more success than a great percentage of men.
I am not going all Gloria Steinem and am not burning my bra but I can’t help but wonder about all those helpful double standards that exist. It’s like the debate of strong opinionated women being called bitches versus the treatment their male counterparts receive.
The other thing that bothers me about this whole Paula Deen controversy is Food Network firing Paula Deen affects all the people who worked on her shows too. I mean let us get real, will they simply absorb all those people into other areas of the cable giant? That would be a negative. And of course on the heels of Foot Network’s decision comes Smithfield Foods (the ham people) dumping her and rumors of Chester County’s QVC about to do the same and what happened until waiting to see how this court case turns out? ( I will note that I am only discussing the racial slur aspect of the Paula Deen case. If her brother is proven to be a sexual harasser I have absolutely no pity or understanding there – pervs in the workplace are the worst , inexcusable, and utterly disgusting.)
Why fire her for telling truth under oath? Pushing fatty foods was her real crime.
So in my humble opinion as a woman who was raised by parents not to see color and as someone who has a wide range and array of friends of many nationalities and ethnicities it seems to me that Paula Deen’s troubles and the extremes of points of view we are seeing as a result, is that we are long overdue on an honest and open conversation about racism AND political correctness. I hate racism. I hate discrimination.
I don’t know. Maybe I am shooting at rainbows and unicorns here, I just don’t see this whole thing as cut and dry. After all do we remember how we treated Japanese Americans as well as Italian Americans in this country in World War II ? Where many Japanese had reparations made post World War II (Japanese and Italians were thrown into internment camps, had their property seized and were subjected to crazy surveillance in Canada and the US), Italian Americans and Italian Canadians did not receive such reparation.
Humans can be amazing and humans can be cruel and stupid.
Paula Deen grew up in Georgia. In the fifties. Her world was the one depicted in The Help, in which black people’s status as lesser beings was casually assumed. So, who is really surprised that she has used the N-word in her life? It would be downright strange if she hadn’t, and we can assume the same of pretty much any white Southerner of a certain age (not to mention more than a few Americans of other regions).
And yet the Food Network has fired her after revelations that Deen has been a normal person of her time and place. Even though she has leveled no fewer than three public apologies. The reason is the unique status of the N-word.
In modern America, we really have only a few genuinely profane words, and the N-word is one of them……..This taboo status, then, is why Deen is being fired for what her fans are decrying as “just using a word,” and also why Deen in her videos steps around even saying what she said. Yet this restraint on her part is also an indication that she, like most Americans, has gotten the message. Crucially, getting the message doesn’t mean becoming superhuman. Changing times cannot utterly expunge all traces in her of the old South’s assumptions. Old habits of thought linger, like eczema and asthma….People of Deen’s generation can neither change the past nor completely escape their roots in it… They can apologize and mean it, as Deen seems to. They also deserve credit for owning up to past sins, as Deen did candidly when she could easily have, shall we say, whitewashed the matter.
The taboo on the N-word, and associated attitudes, is appropriate. It’s certainly smarter than the goofiness of the 1800s when the terms white and dark meat emerged to avoid the possible sexual connotations of referring to breasts and thighs. However, we’re less smart when we turn taboo enforcement into implacable witch hunting, which is not thought but sport.