Will the controversy around Paula Deen open up an honest dialogue on race?

July 1, 2013

I’m black, and I forgive Paula Deen
In this thoughtful article from Salon, Robin R. Ford, an African American woman, talks about having been a fan of Paula Deen for many years and her great disappointment over Deen’s using the N-word and planning an Old Plantation theme for her brother’s wedding.  “Still, I can’t bring myself to dislike her,” says Ford who is convinced we are definitely not living in a post-racial society in spite of what the Supreme Court said last week. “Certainly there is less discrimination today than in 1965,” she writes, “but to say that this is a post-racial era is to invite scorn from anyone who has ever been pulled over for ‘driving while black’ or been followed by a security guard while shopping, or failed to get a job because her name was LaKisha or Shaniqua. And I could go on, but I won’t, because it makes me angry to think about how so many died to get the right to vote without restrictions, and to see the highest court in the land eradicate those protections because it refuses to be honest about the real state of race in America.” As for her feelings toward Paula Deen, Ford says she’d love to sit down and talk with her about “the legacy of slavery and the power of the N-word.” She thinks Paula would listen. But, she adds, “That’s more than I can say about Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas.”  (Robin R. Ford directs the Center for Teaching and Learning at Medgar Evers College, CUNY in New York City.)

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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