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Paula Dean May Have Shown Us That Racism Is More About Skin Color Than Race

Heather Lawton Heather Lawton
June 25th, 2013 10:35pm EDT

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(Opinion) Is racism more about skin color or is it really about being African-American?" Celebrity-chef Paula Dean may have shown everyone what racism is really about.

Coming off the heels of Dean being called out for using the n-word, on Monday, talk-show host Wendy Williams aired a clip of Dean giving a jarring interview in front of an audience to the New York Times.  In her conversation with the journalist, Dean stated that she believed the south had progressed regarding racism more than any part of the country. She also claimed that she had a black man in her life whom she was very close to and that, "he is as black as this board" (as she pointed to the backdrop of which she sat in front). 

She then told her black friend, "Stand up, we can't see you because you're in front of that black board," insinuating that because he was standing in front of the black board his black skin made him disappear. Regarding white people and their wanting to use the n-word, it is unclear if their bewilderment or anger is about them being told by blacks what they cannot say. Does this reveal that racism is more about skin color?

There are many derogatory words that describe different races of people.  However, almost everyone seems to be itching to use the n-word to describe black people.  For those who argue, "Well, Black rappers, comedians, and the average black person on the street use the word all the time, so why can't we use it."  The answer is simple--because you're not black. That word, which was created by whites to dehumanize black people, for some blacks, now means the antithesis of what it means to whites.  What about racial slurs that degrade other races?  Why isn't the conversation ever about, "why can't we use the h-word to describe Jews?"  Probably because race is about skin color. The darker the skin, the more people want to degrade.

Racial epithets for Jews, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, and Native-Americans exist and they are used, but the n-word is always front and center of controversy. The reason is probably because racism is about skin color more than race--the darker the skin; the more people take notice and judge. For instance, if the skin is dark, he/she must be unhappy, vile, criminal, etc.  We are a visual society so we see skin color before we find out to which race a person belongs.  

Whoopi Goldberg stated on The View last week, "Everyone can say anything they want to say, as long as they know there may be consequences to their actions."  Another piece of advice to all those non-black people who want to use the n-word is to ask yourself, why do you want to use that word?

Photo Credits: PR Photos