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Sep 15, 2013 05:03 AM

Paula Deen makes first public appearance

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    1. re: youareabunny

      I thought the same thing when I heard this story.

      1. re: thimes

        Because Texans are open minded and don't make judgments about people based solely on geographical location?

        1. re: thimes

          This really upsets and annoys me. So the first thing you thought when you read this story was "Texas" Please, pray tell. Tell me why. That's all I ask. Perhaps I am making incorrect assumptions. I wait to hear why you read this story and immediately thought "Texas"

          1. re: Firegoat

            She did say several times that she chose Texas as her first appearance because it was friendly.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              There really is no good answer as to "why", especially on this type of message board - but it was what I thought and as it turns out, I was right. Race relations and the dynamics of them are very different across the country (this isn't to say that racism doesn't exist across the country, unfortunately it is far from a "southern" thing) but if I had to bet who would give her a standing ovation (which is how the story was first presented to me) I thought Texas.

              I would also point out that Paula Dean at this point is a multi-million dollar brand and this story has greatly hurt the earnings of that machine for the time being. The location of this first public appearance was most certainly not left to chance. The PR and image consultant machines spent a great deal of time and money to find the location and event that would be the most supportive of her - and they also chose Texas - and they were also right.

              That said - on a side note - I also think she got a really bad rap on this one. Though I'm not a fan of hers, I don't think the original story was all that shocking or warranted all the backlash. Her handling of the situation after the story broke, however, was shocking to me. I couldn't believe she couldn't handle the interviews she did, many of which I thought gave her softball questions.

              1. re: thimes

                I think your last paragraph echoes my sentiments exactly. She needed better handlers. I don't doubt she has them now, and maybe she's suing the old advisors. Not that I give a pass to old school racism, but I had a few relatives that i loved very much, except for their old-school racist behaviors. I rolled my eyes at their jokes and it didn't make any difference in their thinking. Maybe I should have gone further, but they're all dead now. And I still love them for their better traits, which were wonderful.

            2. re: Firegoat

              Firegoat ~~ It's called Southern Bias. Synonyms include
              bigotry, intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice. It's alive and well on Chowhound.

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                I was trying to be nice. Although I didn't try too hard. I get tired of the anti fly-over state attitude on Chowhound If someone may or may not have called someone a name on a receipt it's a big deal! Call them out! But people can be regionally bigotted here with not response.

                1. re: Firegoat

                  I'd say the reverse is also true. There are a whole host of people who didn't post about the offensive racist term but have gotten worked up about regional stereotypes. It goes both ways. Seems like plenty of people have defended the south here and complained but were quiet about the use of the racist word.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Who is going to post to defend the N word?

                    1. re: Firegoat

                      It's already been done on another PD thread. Usually brought up in the context of: "well, blacks use it in their rap lyrics, so why can't we?"

                2. re: Uncle Bob

                  Do any of you live in Texas? I wouldn't think that most Texans (or even most Americans) consider Texas as being part of the South (or at least the definition of "south" being implied in this mini-thread).

                  1. re: calumin

                    Yes, it was obvious that the previous comments being referenced was written by someone who isn't well educated on the South. They clearly have no idea of the demographics of Houston which is where her appearance was.

                    1. re: calumin

                      No. I don't live in Texas. Nor do I consider Texas as part of the South. I am well educated enough however to understand the bias demonstrated here is against the 'Southern Culture' wherever it exist.....Even in Texas.

                      1. re: calumin

                        The seven states of The Confederacy are/were:
                        South Carolina

                        That makes Texas about as "southern" as you can get. I live in Texas. I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter of the Confederacy. But I do live in Texas.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          That's an interesting point. The Texas delegation, in signing their secession document, wrote the following:

                          "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable."

                          1. re: calumin

                            Interesting... THAT never showed up in my history books in school.

                            1. re: emily

                              Not sure when you went to school but


                              "The changes, which were preliminarily approved last week by the Texas board of education and are expected to be given final approval in May, will reach deeply into Texas history classrooms, defining what textbooks must include and what teachers must cover. The curriculum plays down the role of Thomas Jefferson among the founding fathers, questions the separation of church and state, and claims that the U.S. government was infiltrated by Communists during the Cold War."



                                1. re: youareabunny

                                  No one ever said things have to make sense in Texas. In fact, something making sense in Texas is pretty much an oxymoron. I know. It's where I live. :-\

                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                      We were two short weeks of moving to Tehran, Iran, when the Shah fell and Raytheon landed us in Texas by default. I often wonder what my life would be like if Ayatollah Khomeini had become a shoe maker instead of an imam... <sigh>

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Tehran is my dream destination. In that dream, the country is not ruled by a tyrant. The Persian culture is beautiful and foreign (to me).

                                  1. re: youareabunny

                                    I had a lot of personal issues in 2010, so I completely missed this story. That's horrific.

                                    1. re: JonParker

                                      It continues. Recently tried to rename slave trade to trans-Atlantic trade. Settled on trans Atlantic slave trade

                                      Now trying to teach creationism alongside evolution.

                                      I'm going to lay fetal position and suck my thumb in the closet now.

                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                        Dip your thumb in sugar and vanilla first. It helps. I feel your pain...

                            2. re: Uncle Bob

                              It's not just Chowhound, Uncle Bob. It's everywhere. I've lived in New England for 30 years, but my parents are southern. (My dad just passed away, but he's still an "is" to me.)

                              People who haven't met my parents don't hesitate to make rude jokes about the stupidity of southerners or assume they're all bigots. Any time they want to portray a dolt on TV, they give the character a southern accent.

                              While it may be true that bigotry is more overt in the south (well, this is what I've witnessed among my relatives and their community), I'm not sure that covert bigotry (the kind more commonly practiced here) is any better.

                        2. re: youareabunny

                          Apparently she should have gone to Georgia. Did you see the related link in the story saying Georgia Republicans had a higher favorability rating of Paula Deen over MLK?

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              I see the comment about Texas not as a comment about the diversity there as much as the likeliness of finding PD supporters there. They have a strong tea party base in Rick Perry. She doesn't need to appeal to the whole state and she probably wouldn't in Austin. She just needs a few strong supporters. She's more likely to find that there than, say the SF bay area. Not to say she's unlikely to find any supporters in the SF area, just less likely.

                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                  Isn't Queens part of New York City? They were second. Read the link and the comments from NPR, it doesn't have the usual trolls commenting. Hard to believe with all the oil wells, cows, and tumbleweeds in the desert but it is an incredibly diverse city, with the huge Medical Center and Port petrochemical complexes drawing people from all over the planet. Do a little checking, you'll be surprised. Oh, and the ethnic food scene is equally diverse, it's not all Tex-Mex anymore, which is outstanding if you haven't had the real thing and not some pathetic knockoff that dots the country.

                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                    Yes Queens is part of NYC and it is often cited as the most diverse area in the United States. I am not questioning whether Houston is diverse, just whether it is the most diverse city in the nation. There's been an increase in diversity all across the nation but nowhere have I seen what I see in Queens.

                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                      I haven't been to Queens since the 80's. When was the last time you were I Houston and which neighborhoods did you check out?

                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                        Two years ago I did a tour of the southwest. Central Houston.

                            2. I saw a bit of this on the news last night. To me, it seems she fully played it up for the cameras, milking it for every last drop. YMMV.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit



                                People paid $400 to be there. That should tell us something.

                                Having the boys there was a nice touch.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I didn't see 'it' on the news...Would have had no interest to me. ~ People usually see and hear what they want to see and hear.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    So what? TV is/was/has been a large part of her livelihood. If I was caught in a self-immolating stupid mistake, i'd probably do the same thing. As it is, nobody gives a shit enough about me to try to throw me under the bus, and besides, I'm not racist. But I've said some stupid, stupid things in my life, thank God I haven't pursued the broadcast media or politics as a profession.

                                  2. If you don't like PD, then the best thing to do is to ignore her.

                                    1. Let's clear some things up here.

                                      Paula Deen has not been shown to be a racist. Rather, she made a racist remark. The two are not the same.

                                      Texas is not "the South". And, certainly, Houston is about as far from "the South" culturally and socially as Seattle is.

                                      With that out of the way, please continue to post with utter disregard of the facts.

                                      31 Replies
                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Let's clear up something here. She not only admitted to having used the "N" word, she also wanted to dress up black men in white tuxedos because she thought it would look good in a Southern themed wedding. Maybe you don't consider that racist, but I and a lot of other people disagree. It's certainly not a "fact."

                                        No, Texas is not the South, although it is south. But I spent most of my life in Oklahoma and Texas, and there's no denying that there's a stronger strain of racism in those states over the Mid-Atlantic (the other place I've lived). You're welcome to deny it, but by no means is it a "fact" either.

                                        You don't get to label your opinions as facts and then accuse other people of disregarding them.

                                        1. re: JonParker

                                          I just want to point something out to you from what you directly said;

                                          "she also wanted to dress black men in white tuxedos", "she WANTED",

                                          She never in fact did. She reportedly got the inspiration for this from a restaurant she visited which had an exclusive black male wait staff, which wore white jackets and black bow ties. While she admit's to considering doing this for a wedding, she decided it wasn't a good idea and in fact never did it.

                                          There is no denying the fact she used the "n" word, and you can judge her fairly on the context she claims to have used it. I don't find it fair to label her being a racist for considering something, then coming to her senses, and never following through on it. If her inspiration for the "white jacket/black male" ensemble for the wedding was P Diddy/Sean Combs notorious annual White Parties", would it still be considered racist?

                                          If I were judged solely on the bad idea's I've had, but never followed through on, I should have probably faced the death penalty by now. She thought about it, thought better about it, never did it, or followed through, yet we label her a racist for NOT actually doing it? I personally don't think people should be judged on thoughts, especially ones they come to realize aren't the wisest of thoughts to have.

                                          This whole thing reminds me of a song recently put out by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J, called Accidental Racist. Look it up, worth a listen and delivers a very poignant message about both races in the current south.

                                          I'm not saying Paula Deen isn't racist, I'm also not saying she is. I'm saying I really don't know the woman, and I don't think it's fair to sit in my glass house and judge anyone.

                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            Diddy's white parties are for men and women, and every race.

                                            And according to Jackson, Paula decided against the idea because "the media would be all over me about that."

                                            I'd consider "but I can see how people would view it as insensitive" as 'coming to her senses', but not what she said...

                                            1. re: youareabunny

                                              I'm well aware of Diddy's white parties, my point was she didn't originate the idea for the concept, it was something she saw while dining. It wasn't something she just dreamed up with the intention of humiliating black people.

                                              Again, personally I prefer to be judged and to judge others by their actual actions, not their proposed thoughts. That's also why I said, judge her on using the "n" word, that's fair game she did it, but she didn't host a party with black men in white jackets. Whatever self centered reason she had, she came to her senses and didn't do it. In retrospect she was correct, look at the field day the press and public had just with her mentioning the idea.

                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                A person can be racist without acting upon those thoughts in an obvious manner, i.e. by more subversive means than humiliating or physically attacking someone based on race. It can be about withholding opportunities, using peer pressure or influence, etc. It can be words, it can be body language, it is contextual.

                                                Racism is about actions, practices and beliefs. I am not passing judgment on Paula Deen, but let's not kid ourselves that thoughts do not mark a racist.

                                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                                  I would sincerely appreciate if you could show me where I said that thoughts cannot mark a racist.

                                                  I do believe the only things I have stated are my personal opinions about judging someone on their actions rather than their thoughts, or more specifically, thoughts which they later retracted. If you perceive that as me somehow condoning racism or racist thoughts, so be it, however I've never uttered any such thing.

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                    "She thought about it, thought better about it, never did it, or followed through, yet we label her a racist for NOT actually doing it? I personally don't think people should be judged on thoughts, especially ones they come to realize aren't the wisest of thoughts to have."

                                                    As I said, even if someone doesn't follow through with thoughts, he/she can still be racist based on those thoughts. You are confusing the issues, being racist and acting on it. That being said, it's far better if a racist person DOESN'T act on their thoughts.

                                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                                      "I personally don't think people should be JUDGED on thoughts"

                                                      I'm not, nor have I, ever said that people's thoughts don't contribute to their racism, of course they do. My only point is I, ME, PERSONALLY, don't judge people on thoughts. We all have dumb thoughts, we all have thought we had a great idea, then later realized it wasn't so bright. (mine for some reason always seem to involve vodka)

                                                      My only point is I try not to judge people on thoughts. Judge her because she used the "n" word, because she DID it. She had a thought and acted on it, I think it's fair to judge someone on their actions.

                                                      As you said;
                                                      "Racism is about actions, practices and beliefs." I agree completely, however someone can have racist beliefs, *black people are inferior to whites, *blacks are a sub level human to the white race. If that is someones beliefs, their thoughts, their true feelings on the topic but they have black neighbors who they are civil too, they don't act out on their thoughts or belief's then who am I to judge them? I certainly don't agree with them, but if they don't act on their thoughts I have no problem. You will NEVER fix ignorance.

                                                      I don't find fault with people for their belief's, I find fault when they act negatively in conjunction with those beliefs. Until then I'm a live and let live kind of person.

                                                      *this is just being used as an example and in NO WAY meant to convey my personal feelings or views on this matter.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        I understand your opinion on judging others based on thoughts vs. actions, in the present instance, I would disagree with judging based solely on explicit evidence of actions rather than thoughts.

                                                        When you have a) a public figure b) a person of influence and power c) a person that profits off an image of amiability, there is greater scrutiny of that person's thoughts and character.

                                                        Celebrity and wealth are not rights, and they should come with equal responsibility, duty and scrutiny. When they are not paired, you have an accumulation of power in people who can disproportionately injure society.

                                                        For instance, let's say you have a man, with particular racist thoughts, though no obvious actions. Would it be wise to aid this man in accumulating the power to act on those thoughts with impunity? History has many examples of where this has ended poorly, and justice/fairness does not always prevail.

                                                        I personally, wish to avoid supporting those who even express racist tendencies, regardless of whether those persons engender racist actions based on those thoughts.

                                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                                          Again, I think we agree much more than our written words are representing. I agree completely, in my eye's she is now "exposed" and is paying the price for what I believe are some deep rooted racist views she has.

                                                          Now that all this has come out we all have the right to treat her and her brand as we see fit. Obviously her empire is paying a substantial price for all of this, and I for one, am not shedding a tear.

                                                        2. re: jrvedivici

                                                          Don't know if this qualifies as fixing ignorance but Floyd Cochran was a former neo nazi leader and now heads his own anti-hate group.

                                                  2. re: jrvedivici

                                                    <I'm well aware of Diddy's white parties, my point was she didn't originate the idea for the concept, it was something she saw while dining. It wasn't something she just dreamed up with the intention of humiliating black people.>

                                                    I won’t venture a guess as to what her intentions were, but based on her testimony it seems to me that she has a romanticized notion of “a certain era in America.”

                                                    Q. Why did that make it a - if you would have had servers like that, why would that have made it a really southern plantation wedding?

                                                    A. Well, it - to me, of course I’m old but I ain’t that old, I didn’t live back in those days but I’ve seen the pictures, and the pictures that I’ve seen, that restaurant represented a certain era in America.
                                                    Q. Okay.
                                                    A. And I was in the south when I went to this restaurant. It was located in the south.
                                                    Q. Okay. What era in America are you referring to?
                                                    A. Well, I don’t know. After the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.
                                                    Q. Right. Back in an era where there were middle-aged black men waiting on white people.
                                                    A. Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.
                                                    Q. Sure. And before the Civil War - before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?
                                                    A. Yes, I would say that they were slaves.
                                                    Q. Okay.
                                                    A. But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying that I loved their look and their professionalism

                                                    1. re: EM23

                                                      I appreciate you posting that however why did you selectively copy paste and not include how the Q&A actually started;

                                                      Q:Okay. So was Lisa ever present when you discussed with Brandon what kind of wedding you’d like to have?
                                                      A. [...] I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.
                                                      Q. The media might misinterpret it?
                                                      A. Yes, or whomever -
                                                      Q. Okay.
                                                      A. -- is so shallow that they would read something into it.

                                                      Look I'm not trying to come across as defending her, fact is I'm pretty sure she is a racist. I just don't think this is the best example people can or should come up with to support the argument she is.

                                                      As someone else mentioned I'm very surprised nobody has dug up what restaurant this is that they are creating or recreating an experience of this "era". It would be interesting to hear or find out where this establishment is and if it is trying to create a slave/plantation type experience.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        See, that's part of what's offensive to me. What part of dresssing black men up as a wedding decoration *isn't* racist? What could people possibly have misinterpreted there? Seems pretty clear to me.

                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                          I guess this is where we agree to disagree. *If she visited a restaurant where she saw this and thought it was impressive, so be it. I guess my view is she didn't originate this idea of "dressing black men up", she witnessed it, was impressed with it, then realized it's not a good idea.

                                                          If she sat there and said, "Hey wouldn't it be great to dress black men up in slave era serving attire and pretend we are having a pre-civil war era wedding, when we had actual slaves".......if she came up with that on her own, yes 100% racist. I just don't think an experience she had and was impressed with justifies her as a racist.

                                                          I'm all for judging her on using the "n" word as I've said. I just don't see this as being the best argument to support the cause. Again, I think we are on the same side of the cause here, I just don't see this as being the best way to present, or support the cause. That's all, nothing more, nothing less.

                                                          * I'm assuming the story of the restaurant is true, if she lied completely about seeing this somewhere and being in awe of how impressive this was, then sure she's a complete idiot.

                                                    1. re: LaLa

                                                      And according to PD:

                                                      Q: But you knew that if you did something like that, the media would pick up on it and have something to say?
                                                      PD: Not necessarily the media. But people around us. No, I knew the media was not covering Bubba's wedding. But just people around. It just wasn't worth -- it just wasn't worth it. If I could have brought the restaurant there I would have done that, but I could not afford to do that. If I could have hired that restaurant to come here -- Yes, I would have, but I couldn't afford.

                                                      So it sounds like the main reason she didn't go through with the plantation wedding idea was the cost?

                                                  3. re: jrvedivici

                                                    That song is so fucking awful I don't even know where to begin. Probably slapped together in 5 seconds, and LL must've really needed the cash / publicity for his then soon to be upcoming new album.

                                                    I wish I could unhear that piece of crap.

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      Hahahahahahahaha (I do agree with your assessment of the quality)

                                                      It's the lyrics and message I was trying to call attention to, I do agree with the message. I don't think LL could be that desperate he still has his NCIS gig going for him, he's getting paid.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        Oh, I was including both the lyrics & "message" in my assessment of it being fucking awful.

                                                        "If you don't judge my gold chains,
                                                        I'll forget your iron chains."

                                                        I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          I just heard it! Soooo dreadful. I'm just glad the room I'm in is oozing with paint fumes... Killed off just enough brain cells to not throw my phone out the window as it played.

                                                      2. re: jrvedivici

                                                        I don't necessarily disagree with much of what you say here. I don't know if PD is a racist. I do know that she's said some racist things. And I really don't buy the "didn't act on her bad idea" thing. I can't imagine ever thinking that was a good idea.

                                                        But what I really objected to was having people told they didn't have their facts straight, when the "facts" we were given were clearly opinions.

                                                        Also, I think Stephen Colbert had the last word on "Accidental Racist." Watch it all the way through, because it just gets better.


                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                          Gotta love Colbert! Good stuff.....

                                                          It looks like I'm being falsely accused of actually liking that song, my only point was I do agree with the over all message. That's all.....if more celebrities made the effort to bring the discussion of race AND tolerance to the forefront, perhaps we could make some true progress on the subject.

                                                        2. re: jrvedivici

                                                          I've found it ironic that in all the diatribes I haven't seen anyone in the media or privately go after the restaurant she visited that provided the "inspiration" for her consideration.

                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                            Here's an LA Weekly blog post suggesting that it might have been a place called "Pittypat's Porch" in Atlanta:


                                                            However, PD said in her deposition that the restaurant was "in TN or NC or somewhere", so here's a piece with some other suggestions (including in the readers' comments):


                                                            There seem to be quite a number of restaurants that could fit the description.

                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                              This reminds me of the traditional NY area steakhouses that only employed male waiters. Then there was a lawsuit. I still don't think it's changed much.

                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                Or the more notable Hooters law suit of only employing female servers with noticeable "assets". There was a lawsuit there as well.....but not much has changed.

                                                                On a similar note there is a new chain called "Tilted Kilt" which is sort of along the Hooters theme. Scantily clad women servers in very short kilts and tied up dress shirts as servers. They covered the ass though, literally and figuratively, by requiring all male employees to wear kilts as well.

                                                                Funny observation it seems the women's kilts are about 4-6 inches below the bottom of their buttocks, the men's kilt are about 2-4 inches above the knee.

                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                  I was thinking more of the "men in suits" aesthetic aspect but you are right as well.

                                                                  Personally I would pay good money to see a man work in crotch-sweating pantyhose all day for the same pay as a woman.

                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                    "... it seems the women's kilts are about 4-6 inches below the bottom of their buttocks, the men's kilt are about 2-4 inches above the knee."

                                                                    Perfectly non-discriminatory provided the distance from buttock to knee is 8 inches. :)

                                                        3. re: ipsedixit

                                                          While I agree with you on the "South" comment, I don't think it's a "fact" that Paula Deen has not been shown to be a racist. It is an opinion -- it's actually the reason why this is a touchy subject.

                                                          To some people, the things that Paula Deen admitted to saying and doing seem so foreign that they must be seen as the product of a racist mind. Yes she could be friendly, giving, and decidedly non-racist in certain respects, but racist in this respect.

                                                          To other people, these things might seem completely natural.

                                                          Then there's the question of whether it's both -- that a society that forgives this kind of behavior so easily is still racist on the edges.

                                                          I'm not stating my own opinion here, just saying that the question of whether or not Paula Deen has been shown to be a racist is more based on interpretation than on fact.

                                                        4. Perhaps I am making an incorrect assumption here, but did you post this expecting all responders to say "Hurray, well done Paula"? Probably not.

                                                          One of the first things a reader will do is find out where the public appearance happened - who is the audience? Right now some folks have a knee jerk reaction to the whole Paula Deen mess and have been expecting her team to carefully craft a comeback. They picked Texas and no one is surprised.

                                                          You have made your point, but you also led posters to it by the nature of your post. You waded into the fray with your eyes wide open.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ellaf

                                                            I actually posted this assuming anyone who paid money to go see Paula Deen would probably be happy to see her regardless of where she appeared. You'd have to be a pretty unhappy person to pay money just so you could go boo a person and walk out. Even in Texas. Unless it's a football game.