Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Paula Deen Speech Never Heard

Dearest friends, my thanks for all of your love and all of your support. During these difficult times for my family and for me, your kindness has meant the world to me, and given me the courage to keep on going and pick up the pieces, and the courage to think deeply about my life, my values, and my nation - the land that I love.

Your willingness to stand by me in my time of sorrow has heartened me, yet I ask you this much: Don’t overlook what I did and what I said. Don’t excuse me on any of this. Don’t minimize what happened. 

What I did and what I said was wrong - flat out wrong.

It’s the way I was raised, the values of my culture - the words we used, the attitudes we held - so much of it, good and beautiful, and a lot of it deeply stained by the evil of racism. Period.

All of of us grow up in a certain time and place, and we receive from family and the culture around us, words and values, some of which are wonderful, and some of which are hideous. In the thoughtless moments of my life, I allowed the worst to overcome my best. 

It happens to all of us, and that’s why all of us have to think deeply, and if we’re religious, pray mightily that God will keep on removing what is broken and hurtful from our lives, and the ways we think and live.

As you stand with me in these trying times, help me think through my life, and help me stand tall, setting aside self-sorrow and self-pity, in order to reach for a better day - for myself and my family, and for my nation.

Racism is a terrible blight on our land, and its terrible threads of hatred and hurt touch all of us.

We must be mindful of such things in order to move ahead.

So, dear friends, I thank you; I thank you from the bottom of my little ol’ Southern Heart for your kindness - so much better than butter.

But join me, please, in the effort to be a better person, to rise above the corrupt values of racism and bigotry … help me to write a new recipe for goodness and the right, and believe me, it’ll taste good, for all of us!

Thank you.

Paula Deen.

Written by fellow cook, The Rev. Tom Eggebeen, Los Angeles
September 24, 2013