More than a year ago, another young black male life was snuffed out.
While there was a great deal of hand wringing,tears and sadness, not a whole lot was done. Laws were not reexamined and destroyed with new ones taking their place. A murderer walked free and we all collectively shook or heads at the shame and brutality of it all.
My frustration level regarding the state of Florida for its stupidity, bigotry and flat out allegiance and complicity with white supremacy and violence continues to engender feelings of impotent rage.
I know that I am not alone in this troubling and haunting upset.
The powerful machine that is domination and oppression is always ready to serve us a "crumb banquet" that keeps us sated, confused and well distracted.
This new distraction in none other than the queen of Southern Cuisine and everyone's favorite, sweeter-than-Tupelo Honey-Grandma, Miss Paula Deen.
By offering Ms. Deen's head on a platter, we (black folk and our allies of all hues who fight for justice and fair treatment world wide) get offered a welcome, nonthreatening distraction.
We are encouraged to believe that a statement uttered thirty years ago is far more important than a young black life being snuffed out.
We are being sent the message that racism and bigotry is unacceptable and we (the white moneyed community) will not tolerate it and will punish one of our own to prove a point.
It has been entertaining though.
The tears and heartfelt apologies look great on morning chat shows and you tube admissions of guilt.
We understand that what is important in this country is money and not black lives. This is the message when we immediately take the focus off a young life and its annihilation and focus on an incident that happened three decades ago.
Paula Deen may or may not be a racist.
Americans have allowed another fine opportunity to discuss race and privilege in this country to go unexamined and instead opted for scapegoating and finger pointing to replace deep discussions and grappling with personal responsibility and race relations.
While I was amazed by all of the hullabaloo surrounding Ms. Dean's admission of using the "N" word, I am not shocked.
When I began reading her biography seven years ago, there was something that was not being addressed. It was clear that she had a very complicated relationship with the black community and those that were in her service.
Many folks want to punish her.
As a nation, we want to believe that we've come so far and yet when we hear young teenagers, irrespective of their color, refer to each other using Dean "speak" we never stop it nor question it.
Ms. Dean used the term and was fired.
Black kids use it and get record deals by the same conglomerates that own a stake in the Dean empire.
We won't allow an old white lady to say it and feel justified in calling her a racist and yet when we refer to each other using the same handle we(black folks)call it love.
As the great Dr. Angelou stated : words have power and this particular word was created to demean and dehumanize.
Ms. Dean may or may not be a racist (a person can practice certain thinking and behavior, be influenced by certain behavior and still have the option of practicing some serious self awareness that leads to change).
As a culture steeped in white supremacy and privilege, we have missed another opportunity to have a serious look and conduct some serious conversations about racism in this country.
Here is an opportunity to discuss why we (black folk), in the opinion of Dr. Bill Cosby,have moved from : Black is beautiful to n***a please.
For our white allies, this presents the challenge of looking at their racism (courageously)and the ways they gain benefit from it.
When the fear of being labelled a racist is eliminated, a real conversation around race and its effects can take place.
When we allow Ms. Dean to be the poster child for our guilt and gullibility regarding rewards and punishment, we simply allow racism to go unchallenged and thinking to stop.
While everyone jumped on 30 year old remarks, there is no organized, results oriented outrage when our young black males are murdered, records are released peppered with the dreaded "n" word and dark bodies are slaughtered globally.
We should all look at the timing and media frenzy this disclosure allowed.