“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me.” That was a bit of wisdom my mother shared with me when I was a small child. I have never forgotten it. I am bringing this up because of the recent problems suffered by southern cook and restaurateur Paula Deen. Paula has been accused of apparently using the “N-word” at some time in her past. She didn’t use an N-stick or an N-stone. She used an N-word. She has been fired by her employer, Food Network, and has lost several sponsorships. She is being crucified for using a bad word. The best reporting is that her multi-million dollar empire is crumbling.
At the risk of being crucified myself, I am going to comment on this issue. If my empire crumbles, it will be considerably less than a million dollars.
What is in a name? What is in a word? Why have the PC and thought police gotten so powerful that people like Deen can be so brutalized by something that happened many, many years ago? Like Paula, I was raised in the south and over the years different groups of people have chosen to be known by different names. The so-called N-word was common in my early years. I know things change so how individuals choose to identify themselves today is their business. I don’t care. I have a sister-in-law who is African-American. She isn’t black, but she was born in Morocco which is a country in Africa and has since become an American citizen. I am sure you will agree that most black people who live in America were not born in Africa. But if they want to be called African-American, that is their business.
Homosexuals want to be called gay. Personally I don’t see anything gay about a homosexual lifestyle, but that’s their choice. American Indians prefer Native American. That’s okay with me. I have some Cherokee Indian heritage in my bloodline and I was born in this country. You could say that I have an identity problem. I guess I am a Native American Native American. Oh well.
This is the point. How people choose to identify themselves is their business. Because of our freedom of speech, we, the people, are not required to use any particular name for any particular group. As free people we can address anybody by any name we choose. That is our right. Granted some people are going to be offended. That is their business.
Apparently there are groups of people so devoid of self esteem that they are somehow harmed by name calling? I am not black and have never been, so good judgement says I probably shouldn’t comment about black people, but good judgement has never gotten in my way before. Therefore it is my opinion that black people need to get over themselves. They need to get rid of the race hustlers who are intent on keeping all of them on the plantation.
If you are black and you want to succeed, you don’t need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Pull your pants up, speak proper English, educate yourself, and emulate successful people of both races. The NBA is composed of very few people. If you are not seven feet tall, you might want to find a different line of work. We are all the product of our choices. The white majority is not the demon the hustlers would have you believe. Sharpton and Jackson have their agendas and it is most certainly not the improvement of the status of the black race. Their livelihood and continued fortune depends on black people looking to them for leadership and they are probably the worst possible examples of leaders one could imagine.
Finally, words in fact are neither “sticks nor stones.” They are only words. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” In other words, no one can offend you unless you allow it.
Ron Scarbro July 10, 2013