Talked to my friend Gloria on Wednesday. We had lots to talk about: gay marriage, Trayvon Martin, the change to the Voting Rights Act and … Paula Deen.
I told Gloria that I was amazed at the pity party that Deen was hosting for herself. The tears … the throw-the-first-stone stuff. C’mon, I said, enough.
Gloria, on the other hand, was amazed that Deen owned up to her error in judgment. She was honest, said Gloria. Gloria feels sorry for Paula. She says that every day, people get out of bed, go out and about in their communities or workplaces, never say “that word”— and they are mean, nasty people.
You see them every day, she said. They can be sarcastic, uncompromising — just plain not nice to be around. And the color of their skin, or yours, doesn’t matter. They are equal-opportunity nasty. Look at those in Congress, she said — no one ever says “that word,” yet their behavior reeks of unspoken racism in action.
Gloria believes that actions do speak louder than words. If you can act like a racist, but “that word” doesn’t pass your lips, are you exempt? It’s just a word, she said. It’s how you treat people that really matters. Oh, by the way: Gloria is African-American. I’m not.
Karen Schott, Excelsior
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