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.
Ms. Deen’s personal empire is worth more than 100 million dollars.
Do we really believe loosing a few contracts is going to
a) send her to the poor house crying and screaming
b) allow her some time to reflect and reconfigure her thought/behavior system
c) give the U.S and its denial based occupants an opportunity to look at the amount of shame and fear we still carry regarding young black folks or
d) bring Trayvon back and make the streets and our neighborhoods safe places for young black folks.
Ms. Deen will simply lay low for a bit and then reemerge.
When she reinvents and makes a triumphant return to the spotlight will we as a country be ready to fully discuss race, privilege and power in this country ?