Did you hear the story? Paula Deen got caught saying the “n-” word. I don’t know all the specifics and really, I have about half an hour to write this post and play on facebook so I don’t want to dig it all up. That’s what google loves you for.
But what happened was she got caught.
There was a great interview with Paula, explaining everything, and here that is: Bacon Wrapped Donuts and Racism: My Interview with Paula Deen
The Food Network “fired’ Paula by not renewing her contract and there are all these groups now clamoring to forgive Paula, she just made a mistake, we all make mistakes, yada, yada, yada. Peace, love and forgiveness! We all make mistakes, right?!
Because yeah, the ‘n-‘ word is something we all think? We won’t saaayyy it; we just think it?
Like the word, “retard”? We just go on and think it. Doesn’t count, right, if we just think it?
And it’s okay if people slip up and say it, so long as they know they are not supposed to say it?
So if people are ‘slipping up’ and saying the ‘r-‘ word all over the place and if that’s okay – peace love and forgiveness! – then how about applying that to Paula Deen?
The ‘n-‘ word is “nigger” which is a derivative of “negro’ which means ‘black’ and was once a perfectly acceptable word for a person of African descent.
The ‘r-‘ word is “retard” which is a derivative of “retarded” which means ‘slow’ and was once a perfectly acceptable word for a person with an intellectual or cognitive disability.
Neither word is acceptable any longer.
Both are offensive.
We let people off the hook all the time for saying the ‘r-‘ word (helllooooooo Jennifer Aniston!). If we are going to do that, let them off the hook for saying it, well then, fair and square, let Paula off the hook. It’s the same difference, right?
Or maybe, if you really want to hammer in the point, NAIL Paula to the hook!
Say, yeah, you know what? Peace, love and forgiveness – we forgive you for saying something that is offensive but it’s NOT OKAY and you knew better, Paula.
It’s the same for the ‘r-‘ word and I hope that others will stand up with us, the community that is by and for Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, if and when the time comes to tell (yet another) celebrity that NO, it’s NOT OKAY to say the ‘r-‘ word and they knew better.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.