Let’s Talk About Paula Deen, Y’all

HOO-WEE!

Talk about your classic “take foot –> insert into mouth” scenario.

The Queen of Butter has officially given her brand a nose dive thanks to a lawsuit that asserts her recent usage of racial slurs and sexual harassment (c/o her brother) in the workplace. People are shocked and shaken that Walmart, Target, Smithfield Ham, etc have booted her from their endorsement deals.

Maybe I can help shed some light on this particular racially charged kerfluffle:

Paula has admitted to, and apologized (however insincerely some people may consider it) for her use of such language past and present.

Allegedly, while talking to a former restaurant manager, Paul described her perfect idea of a plantation themed wedding party for her brother–one equipped with “n*ggers” (Paula’s word choice) dressed in pre-Civil War era costumes as waiters.

Basically, slaves.

Slaves as waiters at a wedding.

This isn’t like Colonial Williamsburg where having paid actors perform as slaves helps educate the masses. This is a hypothetical event that wants to bring back the south’s “Glory Days” where blacks were oppressed into serving meals on silver platters to people that truly believed that they owned them. She’s romanticizing slavery.

Newsflash: RACISM IN AMERICA IS ALIVE AND WELL. 

She said it, admitted to it, and people are coming to her defense.

COMING TO HER DEFENSE:

“I get it, believe me,” Ms. Green [a patron of Deen’s GA restaurant] said. “But what’s hard for people to understand is that she didn’t mean it as racist. It sounds bad, but that’s not what’s in her heart. She’s just from another time.”

Y’all, she is an old Southern White Woman. What do you expect? <– is basically what that defender is saying. 

And I agree. I believe that for the older generation, and some of the younger, racism is ingrained.

But that doesn’t mean that all of the companies that hired her brand have to associate with that. I’d drop her like a hot tamale.

“Oh, but rappers say it all the time and black people say it to each other, too.”

1) I am insulted by your generalization–not all black people choose to use that pejorative term, and

2) Many people held Paula in a much higher regard than your 10 top rappers combined. Does that mean she should stoop to using racial slurs? No, because it changes people’s image of her and, in essence, changes our image of her brand, and

3) It’s all about context. Rappers claim to use that word in order to dull it’s meaning–to claim it as their own to lessen the sting when it’s used by racists. Youngin’s these days don’t remember a time when that word was hurled from whites to blacks more powerfully than a 90 mph curve ball to the gut. Paula meant it in it’s original form, and the fact of the matter is: it is NEVER ok for anyone to call someone a racial slur. So Paula does not get a “pass”.

I really do like this lady’s cooking shows and I don’t doubt that Paula Deen is a nice woman. However, being from the south, let me just clarify that it’s completely possible to be a nice person and a racist. Just like it’s possible to be a homophobe and a nice person.

Considering the Supreme Court’s recent decisions re: the gay community, what do you think the backlash would have been if Paul substituted the “N” word for “fa*got”? I am one to think it would have had the same results–as it should.

I happen to agree with the message all of her endorsement partners are sending: bigotry doesn’t sell.

Photo Credit | The Cagle Post

Photo Credit | The Cagle Post

Yahoo! Boo Boo? Attacking the Working Mom?

I’m late to the party on this one, but I really wanted to throw in my two-cents re: the end of Yahoo! employees’ ability to telecommute.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Photo Credit | Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Photo Credit | Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

The long and short of it is that Yahoo!’s newest CEO, also a brand new mom who built a nursery in her office, put a universal ban on the work from home option. Most critics cry “NO FAIR!” on the privilege of having her child in the office, but I’m assuming that nursery comes stocked with a team of nannies. Also, this is Corporate America where there is still very much a hierarchy that comes with perks. Note: Yahoo does provide employee childcare options.

It’s hard to find a “just the facts, ma’am” article on this change, since by now everyone’s thrown their opinion into the mix, or else I’d provide one. There has been speculation of rampant abuse of the telecommuting option by Yahoo! employees and Mayer seems to have recognized it and acted accordingly.

Keep in mind that Yahoo! is currently a “sinking ship” and may be trying to model mega-giant Apple’s requirement that everyone be under one roof (Google also strongly encourages it).

Being someone who now  works primarily from the comfort of my couch (and bedecked in my pajam-jams) I will be the first person to advocate for working outside of the office.

In this instance, though, I think it’s a good idea for Yahoo! to try every avenue they can to get their company off of life support.

In all of this, Mayer has been accused by many of attacking the working mother (or parent) by taking away their option to work while simultaneously caring for their young children.

I think that’s bunk. And this journalist also happens to agree with me (check out this article–she takes the words right out of my mouth). Here is its crux:

“Marissa Mayer is a CEO first and a woman second. Indeed, she is a role model for many precisely because she made it to the top job. And as a CEO, her first job is to save her company. If she fails in that, the employees she is insisting come in to the office will have no jobs to come in to.”

I only want to address the part where people are accusing her of assaulting the sensibilities of family-focused employees:

Being a former live-in, full-time nanny (as I’ve mentioned multiple times, previously) has me convinced that there is absolutely no way one can effectively work an office job from home while wrangling rug-rats younger than school-aged. I can not imagine having to juggle the two. Well, I can imagine it, but it ain’t pretty. Here goes:

Wake up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy…wait, no, just kidding. Wake up in the morning feeling like crap because your 1.5 year old is teething and refuses to sleep in more than 3 hour spurts. Instead of getting dressed and joyfully dropping little Johnny off at daycare, you’re bracing yourself for a day from Hades as your partner makes a B line for the front door. You feed Johnny and his 3 year old sister Katie, do full diaper changes and bottom wiping, and make sure sippy cups are filled. By now it’s 8am: time to get to work.

8:01: Johnny has a blow-out-diaper that’s quickly inching up his back. Take a moment (at least 15 minutes) to clean him up.

8:21: While you weren’t paying attention to Katie, she’s gone and played a solo game of tic-tac-toe all over your office memos and the client contract you were supposed to fax…yesterday. Redirect her attention, re-print all of the documents, break up a fight over who gets to play with the blocks first.

9:00 am: Put Johnny down for his A.M. nap and try to convince an ultra-clingy Katie to look at some picture books by herself.

9:10am: You’re getting nowhere with this negotiation so you promise to read just one book to her that quickly turns into 8.

9:40 am: Plant Katie in front of the T.V. because, darn it, you need to do some work! But not before you throw in a load of laundry and clean up the mess you left in the kitchen from breakfast. Might as well prepare lunch while both kids are occupied.

10:15 am: Sit down at your computer and wonder where the morning has gone. Send the belated fax, read your newest barrage of emails, check in with your manager and start your day.

10:20 am: Except, you don’t because Johnny is getting to that age where he’s giving up his morning nap and he wakes up earlier than expected screaming to be rescued from his crib.

10:40 am: Johnny is isolated in his playpen and it’s time for round three of ‘Dora the Explorer’ for Katie. “Would her time have been better spent in morning preschool?” you begin to wonder.

11:00 am: You’ve just signed-on to an ‘all important’ conference call when Johnny’s molars decide to rear their ugly enamel. Screams to rival a banshee shatter your eardrums (as well as everyone else’s on the phone call) and you shamefully bow out.

11:30 am: The teething gel kicks in and Johnny is finally quiet. Back to work? Nope–it’s lunch time. And there goes your productive morning–out of the fashionably draped bay window of your home office.

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Baby-Making Class for Babies: Chicago’s Sex-Ed for Kindergarten

Photo Credit | ABCNews.com

Photo Credit | ABCNews.com

If you were looking for your daily dose of Knee-Jerk-Reaction, you’ve come to the right blog.

Just a few moments ago, I read an article on ABC News that details the Chicago Public School System’s newest bright idea: introducing sexual education to Kindergarteners. This program is apparently based upon one used in Scandinavia; however, I’d posit that comparing the US to relatively peaceful and homogenous Scandinavian countries is akin to comparing apples to oranges. Or æble to appelsin.

Part of the program, I agree with entirely: the part that deals with children fifth grade and older. However, this program would introduce children at the ripe old age of 5 to topics such as basic anatomy, inappropriate touching, and reproduction. As in sexual reproduction. As in sex.

My first reaction: “No…No, no, no, no, no.”

My second reaction, after having considered the circumstances a little further: “NO.”

First and foremost, I think it’s important for children to know the distinction between private parts and neutral areas. It’s crucial that they know that there are certain “no-no” places on their bodies that people other than their parents, caregivers, and themselves are not allowed to touch. It’s also important that kids learn to respect the bodies of their peers and others.

I personally feel it’s the duty of every parent to train their child in these matters, but realize that sometimes teachers do step in when an occurrence may happen at school. Being a nanny and a former teacher, I admit I’ve been groped by tiny little hands before and I’ve always handled it with a “No, thank you, that’s my private part and I don’t like to be touched there.”

Apparently, boobs are magnets for kid-sized hands.

That’s not the part with which I take issue.

Should little girls and little boys be introduced to the penis and the vagina at such a young age? Why not? Most have siblings that they bathe with or have parents of the opposite gender that they may have seen naked. An easy distinction is: vaginas are what girls pee with and penises are what boys use.

Fine, I personally don’t mind. But there is a plethora of conservative religious people utilizing the public school system that I’m sure won’t want their small children introduced to this topic at such a young age. That’s their right and I think the public school system has to respect that.

Lastly, and this really raises my hackles: sexual reproduction class for Kindergarteners.

It should be the parents’ right, and privilege, to introduce their children to the birds and the bees when they feel their child is able to comprehend such subject matter.

Traditionally, schools wait until the 5th grade (when children are roughly 10 years old) to have “the talk”. By that time, if you haven’t instructed your child on the ways of men and women, I think it’s fine for the school to take matters into their own hands. By then, the students are generally mature enough to handle the subject matter and are nearing puberty (some are early bloomers, I realize, but chances are, if you start your period before then, you’re parents are going to help you out).

But 5 years old is a whole different ball game. If I was one of those parents, I wouldn’t want the threat of my child’s school outracing me to teach them about sex. In order to ensure that they are the ones having this extremely personal conversation with their child, every Chicago Public School Parent will need to preemptively teach their 4 year old about baby-making. I guess they’ll have to sneak that dialogue in between nap time and Yo Gabba Gabba.

I realize a lot of these measures are being put into place because some parents don’t ever take the time or effort to talk to their children about such topics. Yet, I don’t think responsible, communicative parents should be robbed of this special moment with their children because of the negligence of others.

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