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Savannah Courts: Are Paula Deen and the N-Word Being Used for Race-Baiting?

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death

Blog Category:
7/1/2013
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I started out my career as a lawyer some 30+ years ago. As a lawyer litigating in the civil courts (as opposed to the criminal courts) I saw the opportunity to fight for equality for both women and blacks among others. But now I’m not so sure how this equality thing is working because I’m now at the point where my focus for equality has to switch to whites, not blacks. Paula Deen’s litigation is ugly to say the least. Just reading the Complaint makes me uneasy. But there are a lot of things that make me uneasy in litigation so this is nothing new. At some point the allegations in the Complaint must meet proof and that is where the rubber meets the road.

But what about Paula’s use of the n-word?

When did she say it? That's my first problem with this alleged "controversy". No one has asked when the word was spoken.

The way news and entertainment shows (newsatainment) are using this word it encourages me to want to switch sides on this issue. Frankly it angers me the way it’s being used by black and white anchors to obfuscate what is really going on. This isn't about someone saying nigger, it's about fighting over TV ratings and increasing market share. The networks and TV anchors are race baiting and I can prove it. See if you agree.

First thing is the use of the word itself; was it nigger or nigga? I am not sure because in my world it all depends on who is using it and how they are using it. There is no context to how the word was used. Are you talking to someone who is white or black and how do you intend for it to be understood? Black and white youth believe it’s alright to call each other nigga or nigger. So why them and not her? What's so important about it being used by this white woman?

But more importantly in the case of Paula Deen when was it used? Good journalism asks who, what, where, when and how. So how come no one on any channel is asking about when Ms. Deen used the word and in what context? When did when become not so important in journalism? Why when is not so important for TV anchors clearly indicates they don’t care because the answer to this question would probably destroy viewer interest and therefore ratings.  When and how are important and if we were all honest we’d be demanding to know more about the use of the word not just that at some point in the past it was used. So, how come no one is asking this question? Would the story not be as sensational for news-a-tainment programs? From the standpoint of the major news outlets is that the point of this entire story? That this isn’t really about saying nigger or nigga, it’s about viewership and increasing ratings.

And Then There Is Nigga

I see this as nothing more than a media event, but there are bigger issues here that really rub me the wrong way. Who gets to say nigger or nigga and why?  I've listened to kids use the n-word about each other. The black kids use it more than the white kids. At one point I told my son's friend who was standing in my kitchen to knock it off and asked why he thought he could call his friends nigga but that white kids weren't supposed to. His answer was nonsense. And then there is the pejorative use of it in rap music intended to sell music.  I've sat at a traffic light with some kid in the car next to me listening to rap music bellowing out nigga, nigga, nigga. So is it alright to use the word if you're a rapper selling cd’s, but not if you are a white woman selling cookbooks for a living?

And Then Came Our Not So Civil Rights

And then there is my litigation practice. I represented a mixed raced couple who were being discriminated against in the predominantly white community and asked why they didn't live in the predominantly black neighborhood. She (white) said, "If you think it's bad in the white community you wouldn't believe how racist the blacks are towards mixed raced couples. The blacks care less if you accuse them of racial discrimination becausse no one will believe you." So why don't we hear about it and why do we hear about it only when it's a white woman with deep pockets?  Has anyone ever asked Jessie Jackson if he's used the word nigger? Where are the black skinned people who hear it being said in the predominantly black communities by blacks with nothing to lose but we never hear a word of criticism? How come they line up for the apology tour when it’s a successful white person? After all I thought we were looking to Paula Deen to learn how to make a pie, not how to be socially proper.

And Then Came Super Equality

And here's another one that bugs me. Mixed raced children applying for college aid and putting a check mark in the box declaring they are black. How can that be? If you mix the colors black and white you don't get black and you don't get white.  The mixed race kid gets a full ride by checking off black, while the white kid with better grades receives no scholarship money. How is that right? Isn’t that using race to make a buck? Isn’t that a lie? On this issue I ask who is being discriminated against and why? Is it because they are white? I thought I was fighting to eliminate racial discrimination?

Pick up a copy of the opinion section of Saturday/Sunday's WSJ (June 29 - 30, 2013) The Woman Who Fought Racial Preference and ask yourself if as a society we should want to fight for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary? Not a chance in Hell. 

Circuit-court oral arguments are normally low-profile affairs, but the subject of racial preferences had generated such wide interest that the court required that observers have tickets to attend. A Detroit-based outfit with the unwieldy name Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary—BAMN for short—"bused a ton of kids" from Michigan and gave them counterfeit tickets.

When Ms. Gratz and Barbara Grutter left the hearing, they found themselves surrounded by "all these screaming kids." Ms. Gratz feared for her safety when she heard someone shout: "Racist bitch!" On the way to her hotel, she stopped to talk to a TV reporter. A BAMN member stood behind the camera, she says, and lifted his sweatshirt to reveal a holstered gun.

And Is Black Really Beautiful?

Here is another one that bugs me. Iowa has a beauty contest titled “Miss Black Iowa USA”. Really? Really… you get to have a beauty contest that discriminates based on color, gender, age and … what is left? I asked a lawyer how this can be and he told me it’s just because. Just because of what? Like I said, I was fighting for equality not just some equality. The idea wasn’t to punish those who did nothing to discriminate. I had no idea this was going to turn into punishing white kids.  Miss Black Iowa Candidate has high hopes, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. At one time I too had high hopes, but not so much anymore.  

Imagine for a moment the controversy and protests if there was a “Miss White Iowa USA” or a "Mr. White Universe".

And Then Came Litigation Strategy – Racism is Not a One Way Street

This case having now turned media event is turning into a litigation disaster. In litigation when you have a bombshell it’s worth more to the clients when you don’t publically let the cat out of the bag. Defendants pay for confidentiality not destruction. Whatever fire power the plaintiff's lawyers had is now long gone. Their leverage has already been spent because the financial damage has already been done. As soon as they publicized the deposition testimony it caused the defendant a loss of income and termination of contracts. Whoever leaked those transcripts destroyed whatever leverage the plaintiff once had.

Is there filling in this litigation pie?

Of course Paula Deen has yet to have her day in court and maybe that’s the problem. What if all of this leaking is a ploy because the plaintiff can’t prove her case so the trial team is trying to create pretrial prejudice in the court of public opinion? What if? In fact in this instance I’ll predict it will work just the opposite of what the person who leaked the testimony hoped. You might ask why. Well it has everything to do with common sense. We all know that we have all used the N-word at some point in the past. And if you say no you haven’t, then you are lying. And many of the blacks are the absolute worst offenders (and probably the biggest liars about using the n-word). And if you doubt me, just listen to the witness describe how Trayvon Martin was describing “the cracker” following him. Was that cracker, white cracker or cracka? Last time I checked cracka, cracker or white cracker was a racially derogatory expression against white people. A cracka is the white equivalent of nigga. Did anyone ask the plaintiff in the Deen case if she ever used these words? Where is her testimony for us to scrutinize? That’s why mother justice holds scales, to weigh the evidence from both sides of any case.

Cracker (pejorative) Wikipedia - Cracker, sometimes white cracker or cracka, is a sometimes racist expression for white people, especially poor rural whites in the Southern United States. In reference to a native of Florida or Georgia, however, it is sometimes used in a neutral or positive context and is sometimes used self-descriptively with pride.

My Apology

Ninety-eight percent of what goes on in my head I dare not say. As I tell my wife Barbara if you think the two percent you hear is bad you ought to listen inside my head to know how much nicer the 2% is than the other 98%. I really wish my mind didn’t hear all the hypocrisy in the news, but it does and maybe that’s why my cross examination can be so sarcastic. But on this issue I do see it and it makes me wonder why others don’t. Or is it simply others refuse to discuss it because black racism just isn’t profitable? So whoever I’ve not insulted by this blog I apologize and promise you that sooner or later I’ll get to back to you.

As for me being white and feeling apologetic about slavery, I don't. I wasn't alive during slavery and while I don't like it, I had nothing to do with it and for that reason alone I will not apologize. As a lawyer I will assist my clients of color when the issue presents itself but keep in mind that I'm fully cognizant white is still a color. 

I rest my case.


News-a-tainment Stories About Deen, Jackson and Martin

Paula Deen Litigation Complaint, Chatham County, State of Georgia, Civil Action No. CV120396AB, Titled Lisa T. Jackson vs Paula Deen, et al.

Paul Deen's biggest mistake - going it alone, AdMavericks
Claire Celsi of Lessing Flynn advertising company writes of Paula Deen's public relations nightmare this week. "As a professional communicator, I watched the train wreck with fascination and couldn't look away." Read her conclusion here.   

All the Good People, Father Jim O’Shea, C.P.

Paula Deen is an easy target. Temporarily destroying her career is a soothing balm for a national soul tortured by what to do about the current scourge of racism and inequality that is not a remnant of the past but a policy of the present.

….

For some reason, we just can't sleep well knowing Paula Deen is cooking, but, damn it, we seem to rest just fine as another generation of young people of color is left behind. God, we should really be angry at that.

Just listen to the teenage girl’s testimony of what Trayvon martin was saying on the phone before he was shot and killed.

The star witness in the Trayvon Martin case is no one I would want my children or grandchildren emulating.

As TSG reported yesterday, Jeantel, pictured above, maintains a Twitter account (@MsRachel_94) to which she has made more than 200 posts over the past five months. Many of the teenager’s tweets referred to drinking, smoking, and getting high. She also made references to Martin’s death, referred to acquaintances as “bitch” and “nigga,” and wrote about having “jackass lawyers on my ass.”

Yesterday afternoon, after TSG sought to contact several of Jeantel’s Twitter followers and Facebook friends, 14 tweets--and 13 linked Twitpic photos--were deleted from her Twitter account (which carries the personal motto “My Character And Action Describe Who I Am”). The removed tweets included references to drinking and a link to a sexually suggestive set of photos. Another killed tweet, from June 23, read “Court nails” and linked to a photo of fingernails (presumably Jeantel’s) with fresh orange polish. Additionally, several Twitpic images of assorted liquor bottles were deleted.

The scrubbing of Jeantel’s Twitter account, however, did not end there.

Twitter Account Gets Scrubbed In Zimmerman Case, The Smoking Gun



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