Yesterday, at the grocery store, I heard someone say, “Hey, Miss Opinion.” It was someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of decades so I didn’t realize who it was at first. It was said in fun and I laughed. I mean, it’s not like it isn’t true, right?
You’d think someone who yaks as much as I do and who IS as opinionated as I am – I would have an easier time explaining myself. But there are instances when it is difficult to verbally reconcile the dichotomies wrestling in my muddy mind. But that is what I am about to attempt today.
There are two Facebook conversations that are lingering about in my thoughts this morning. And they kind of tie into one another.
The first was a post I made yesterday regarding the Paula Deen story. I should preface this by saying I do not know every detail of this case, of the deposition nor do I know what really happened or when. I do know that she is being accused of having used racially insensitive words and comments in her past. How often or how long ago, I do not know. I do know she has admitted to some things and has been on a media rampage apologizing her chicken fried head off.
She was fired from The Food Network – the company that made her famous and very, very rich. She was also dropped by Walmart. She is taking some major financial and social hits. And her world has got to feel like it is crumbling. Having been the object of accusations, I know to some extent how this feels. And when I was in the worst of it, I seriously contemplated suicide. So, it is difficult NOT to feel some sort of empathy for her.
However, that does not mean that I am certain her actions did not warrant these consequences.
I said this on Facebook yesterday:
So all of this Paula Deen coverage has me wondering some things. I wonder if she really did just make some stupid mistakes many years ago and has since recognized her errors. I wonder if her entire career should be ruined for said mistakes. I wonder if perhaps she still deep down doesn’t think she did anything wrong.
Most of this we really can’t know for sure. But I sincerely hope I am not judged now by the really dumb-ass shit I did long ago.
Here is an older piece I wrote on the topic:
My Name is Heather and I May Be a Racist
And here is the follow-up (they kind of go hand in hand):
Racism: Alive and Well in Wisconsin
There are a lot of people who are coming to Paula’s defense and are angry about the reactions to her words. They think people need to mind their own business, give her a break and stop being so politically correct.
However, I wanted to make it clear that my uncertainty about her level of guilt or about what her “punishment” should be by no means condones what she has already admitted to saying. Whether it is using the N-word or planning a plantation-themed party including “slaves” – it is wrong wrong wrong.
I do hate the sensitivity level to which we have risen when it comes to political correctness. I have said in the past that the one thing that often stands in my way of being a true “liberal” is my love of inappropriate comedy. With the right audience, the right tone, and the right intention…I think it is possible to find humor in just about anything.
But this does not mean I think it is okay to say whatever you want at the expense of a person’s dignity or spirit. Legally, yes, you can say whatever you wish. And being a writer, an over-sharer and a lover of comedy (and not to mention being insanely opinionated) – I appreciate the 1st amendment like nobody’s business. So – sure. It is a “free country” and anyone CAN say whatever they please. But there will be reaction and there will be consequence. I have paid plenty for my words and I am sure that I will again.
Do I think Paula should have her entire world destroyed? Probably not. From what I DO know about the case…these things happened a long time ago. And none of us live lives free of stupid ass mistakes. NONE of us. But that doesn’t mean it is okay or that she is completely undeserving of public reaction. I find it to be sad and I do hope she is able to do something good with this and pull herself out of it while learning AND teaching a lesson.
The other above mentioned conversation had to do with the recent DOMA ruling. A friend on Facebook posted an update because she was disappointed with how some of her anti-gay marriage acquaintances were reacting to the ruling – saying it is a sin…yada yada. She is a lesbian but also quite religious so she appears to have considerable tolerance to this type of talk. Yet, seemingly, her feelings were hurt, which anyone could understand.
My comment to her was this:
Girl I don’t know how you could allow that toxic bullshit into your life. You’re a bigger person than me because those people would be axed from my list toot sweet. That is one of the things I cannot tolerate. And just MHO….I don’t believe in the concept of sin. Instead of sin is a sin is a sin…I say life is life. We’re all just human trying to make our way through 🙂
A following commenter and mutual Facebook friend mentioned that he was surprised I would delete someone for their opinion…most likely because I have so many opinions of my own. I can see why the initial confusion. But it really does make sense to me.
I DO completely support anyone’s right to their own thoughts, feelings and views. I would never say that someone should not be allowed these things. I mean, that would be ridiculous. BUT on my own Facebook wall…in my own personal world…I do not live under a Constitution. I can make up my own rights and regulations. And I do.
If I see someone on Facebook spouting racial slurs – DELETE. If I see someone bashing or even regurgitating hateful ignorance – DELETE. If something really pisses me off, I see no reason to keep that bullshit in my view. And honestly, any REAL friend I would have wouldn’t say those things anyway. So why keep them around? Fuck that.
Life is very very short, people. And when I have the chance to choose who I can let into my life, I will do so. There is a reason I don’t have 1000 Facebook friends. I discriminate in my own way. There are so few chances in life where we CAN control what and who we allow in to our worlds. There are not many instances when we can choose to keep the toxicity at bay. So when I do have an opportunity to do that – you bet your ass I will.
Do they have the right to say and think what they want? Sure as shit do. But I don’t gotta see it. The power to delete, to erase, to walk in another direction is a power that can definitely improve one’s life. And I certainly won’t apologize for using that power.
So, does that make any sense?? Words mean something. And whether if it is something Paula Deen said 30 years ago or something some dickhead says on Facebook…we are allowed our reactions just as much as they are allowed their words. And while I think Paula’s whole life being grilled to death may be a bit too much, there is still consequence for what we say and one of those consequences may be as simple as being de-friended on Facebook.