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The Real “N” Words

I wake up every morning happy for where I am in life. It’s not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute by using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks.

Paula Deen

I (Traci) have been watching the Food Network since its inception and have been aware of Paula Deen only from that venue. I don’t know her in any way other than what the PR people want me to know. My kids and I have mocked her and found her shows to be entertaining and her success story to be inspiring. Now, there is news that she admitted using the “N” word at some point in the past and has been fired from her television shows, lost corporate sponsorships, and is suffering a severe fall from grace.

I don’t know what Paula Deen did or didn’t do. I know what she admitted to doing… I don’t know if she’s a racist or not. I don’t even know the woman. I just know that her food looks good and unhealthy and fattening.

I do know that I wholeheartedly disapprove of the use of that word, and any other word that disparages a group of people. Those are MY values. Sadly, other people have different values.

The interesting thing to me, though, is how we as the public aren’t even questioning our own assumptions about the situation. When Paula Deen (or Martha Stewart or Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant) is at the top of their fame, we adore them. We assume that they are superhumans who have no faults or flaws. Then, when they do something wrong (sometimes VERY wrong), we then automatically jump on the bandwagon and assume that they are guilty. “Of COURSE she’s a racist.” “I bet he cheated on his wife the whole time.”

Why do we do this? Why, instead, don’t we step back and look at our assumptions. Just because someone is famous for doing one thing very, very well we cannot assume that we know ANYTHING about them. Unless you know someone personally, you only know the image that they want you to know.

Not questioning assumptions are the real “N” words because they can lead to actions that devastate people and groups of people. If more people would just ask themselves, “Is it really true that…” so much pain could be avoided!!!

Am I defending Paula Deen and her admitted use of the N word? No way. I am, however, asserting that we need to question the things that we assume to be true. We need to determine what is most important to us and then base our opinions and actions on that.

Does Paula Deen’s use of the N word weigh more heavily in your mind than her donating food to food banks? If so, great. That’s your choice. Maybe not. That’s your choice too. But the key here is to CHOOSE your own opinion. Don’t automatically assume things because you hear them in the media. Question assumptions. Look at your values. And, then, make up your mind based on that–not what you read on Twitter.

How can we combat racism and other forms of ignorance? By learning to challenge the assumptions that lead to them.

“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

To learn about the ACES Decision-Making Technique and how you can use it to make decisions, visit our website:

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