Thursday, June 27, 2013

Paula and Prop 8 and Trayvon! Oh My!!!!

I am a former reporter and anchor, and I know that these past few weeks have been a newsmaker’s dream.  Paula Deen, the famed butter queen of the Food Network, admits to having said the N-word. Then, in two separate rulings, the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriages in California, while ruling legally married same-sex couples must receive the same federal benefits provided to heterosexual couples. Last, but not lease, the murder trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of killing African-American teen Trayvon Martin, got underway amidst a flurry of lights and cameras.  There is no shortage of opinions on any of these, so I’m throwing my two cents in, as well.

I’ll begin with Paula Deen. I DON’T CARE. I know this is not the popular opinion among most African Americans, but I am actually surprised that people are surprised.  She is a senior, Caucasian woman who has lived her entire life in the South…the Deep South…the O-G South. I honestly don’t know why people wouldn't expect her to say it. She said it happened 20 years ago, and maybe she is lying.  But, I want to give her props for admitting it at all.  Is it right? No. Does she need to issue an apology? It wouldn’t hurt.  But we have politicians, athletes, and Wall Street investors who lie, steal and cheat every day. They haven’t so much as missed a good night’s sleep, much less lost their means of income. Wal-Mart bailed on Paula, but is known for cutting corners and taking advantage of its employees. Who’s worse??

The fight for equality in same-sex marriages is a little more complicated for me. Whether I agree or disagree is purely a personal decision. But should we, as a country, let personal preferences affect the way we govern our constituents? I tend to think not. Should we deny people the right to get married?  I believe there was a time when slaves were denied the same right. And as for benefits, if you put in, you should get out, right?  If you have been a part of your spouse’s/partner’s life, you should be given the right to make decisions, make hospital visits and receive death benefits, right? Same-sex marriage is not for me, but neither is cauliflower. I don’t know if that means I should keep you from doing what’s best for you. I feel like we, as a society, are in a tight spot. Last I read, freedom was the premise for the founding of this country. We can’t stop following the rules now. But with freedom comes responsibility. And that’s always the hard part.

If Paula Deen hasn’t set black folks back 20 years, the Trayvon Martin murder trial has. A young African-American teen, wearing a hoodie and walking home from the store is considered to be a suspicious character. Because of this “unruly behavior,” he is confronted by George Zimmerman. An altercation takes place and Trayvon is killed. As the mother of two young boys, this scenario bothers me much more than Paula Deen’s slip of the tongue. When does WHWB, wearing a hoodie while black, mean you’re a criminal?   And the trial is no better. The star witness is a young girl who has a bad handle on the English language because English is her second/third language, thanks to Caribbean parents. But the prosecution has no problem mocking her and putting her on display for the nation to ridicule. Instead of being a trial about accused killer, George Zimmerman, it has quickly turned into a circus surrounding Trayvon’s friend. And if we’re not careful, this verdict will be determined by entertainment value rather than facts.

Indeed, it has been a busy news week. Everything from World News Tonight to the Wendy Williams Show has had something to say about the hot topics in the national news. What do you think about what’s happening?  Let me know.