Weakened Apologies

My Dearest Blog Followers,

It is with a heavy heart that I apologize for failing to write for two months. I know that my faithful few look forward to me sharing my thoughts, life experiences and social commentary. To those, my heart aches for the neglectful behavior I have demonstrated towards you. Unfortunately, I was swept away by the circumstances of life and made little  to no effort to communicate with you. From this day forward, I vow to write regularly and consistently in order to bring to you the humblest truths from the Kat’s eye.

It seems that the past week ended in celebrity apologies.   Obviously, their fan base extends far beyond the few who visit my blog site and their influence impacts exceedingly more people than I can imagine. But in the big scheme of things, their public apologies prompted by their personal shenanigans are as inconsequential as my 0wn.  Regardless of who you are and where you come from, you are responsible for your actions and the decisions that you make.  Although apologies are often warranted, appreciated and expected, they can also be avoided if people consider the things they say or do before they do them.

Tennis great Serena Williams decided to comment on the Steubenville, Ohio rape case in which a drunken 16 year old girl was brutally raped by a group of her male peers and further humiliated by having videos posted on all the latest social media outlets. According to Miss Williams, everyone was wrong in the situation, but the young lady should have known better than to put herself in such a situation.  Shortly thereafter, Serena implied that her words may or may not have been taken out of context and she was reaching out to the victim’s family to offer her apologies. Really Serena? I can imagine how much more degraded the victim felt to have a prominent world renowned sports figure publicly state that it was her fault she was savagely taken advantage of.  The truth of the matter is that Serena Williams should have refrained from commenting on a matter that was none of her business in the first place. Just because a journalist asks you a question during an interview doesn’t mean that you have to answer it.  The phrases “no comment,” or “I plead the fifth,” leave no room for misinterpretation.

Then we have the Exodus International CEO Alan Chambers.  After years of forcing reparative therapy down the throats of homosexual men and women, Mr. Chambers has an epiphany.  Suddenly, he is sorry for claiming that homosexuality can be cured. He regrets the pain and suffering he caused. Lives were lost by suicide, people jeopardized their families, jobs, churches and more importantly honor because they invested  all their time, money and resources in the ministry of Exodus International. They unequivocally believed in the message that was preached by Alan Chambers and he claims to be sorry that he conveniently left out from his message his own struggle with same sex attraction.  Really Alan? For the record, nowhere in the Bible have I ever read that you can be “cured” of homosexuality. So at its core, the doctrine of reparative therapy is erroneous. The Bible does say however, that God will give us strength to overcome temptations whatever they may. He has also given us our own will to make the decisions that we will ultimately have to live with.  The Bible does not just condemn sex between same sex couples, it condemns heterosexual sex between unmarried couples as well.  It seems to me that  Mr. Chambers was using the platform of Exodus International to mask his own temptations that he did not have the strength to overcome.

Finally, there is the southern belle and master chef Paula Deen who is no stranger to controversy. In early 2012, Paula was in the line of fire for continuing to cook and promote food slathered in bowls of unhealthy ingredients while she took a healthier approach to eating after being diagnosed with diabetes.  Fast forward to June 2013 when she once again is on the hot seat for her admitted use of the “N” word in times past and her idea to plan a plantation style wedding in 2007.  Paula offered a broken and contrite apology begging the public’s forgiveness for the offensive language. She stressed how she nor anyone in her family tolerates discrimination of anyone on the basis of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. It is unfortunate that the very entities that helped propel Paula Deen to critical claim are now the catalyst for her slow demise. The Food Network dropped her like a hot potato, choosing not to renew her contract at the end of the month. QVC is mulling the possibility and Smithfield foods severed ties. But like a multitude of loyal fans, I am sticking by Ms. Paula Deen and fully accept her apology.

As a black woman, I am not in the least bit offended by her confessed use of the racial slur. In fact,  I am more offended by how it is loosely used in our communities, schools and entertainment industry by people of color. Where is the outrage in those scenarios?  I agree with Zora Neale Hurston who stated, ” Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?”  In my own words, slavery days are over and I have been set free from any situations, circumstances or opinions that are designed to keep me in bondage. I also believe in the word of God that clearly states that “God sets free is free indeed.”  With that said, freely, under oath, Paula admitted to the use of  derogatory term but can fully recall the last time it was used. The mere fact that she admitted to its use shows her courage, bravery and integrity. How many with her celebrity would place themselves in a position to be judged harshly by millions? I am of the mindset that he or she who is without sin, let them throw the first stone. As far as I am concerned, she gets a pass.  I understand that she is a product of her environment as many of us are. Raised during a time and in a place where racism and segregation was engrained in the culture, such behavior can be expected.  But I do not find it hard to believe, that just have times have evolved, that Paula’s belief systems and/or her awareness of being culturally sensitive towards others has also evolved to mirror today’s culture and climate.  Furthermore, if Kenya Moore of  Housewives of Atlanta fame can be “Gone with the Wind fabulous” then why can’t Paula Deen plan a fabulous Gone With the Wind plantation style wedding?

I cannot fathom why this particular apology is getting more media coverage than the weakened apologies of  Serena Williams or Alan Chambers. Their words and deeds directly impacted its intended targets.  On the other hand, aside from the racial discrimination and sexual harassment suit brought about by Lisa  Jackson, I have yet to hear anyone come forth and say that Paula Deen herself called them a n***** and they were highly offended and deeply traumatized.  I strongly believe that Paula Deen and her establishments would benefit from diversity and sensitivity training.  Racial discrimination of any kind as she stated should not be condoned and dealt with swiftly. .

I am open to the public discussion of race relations in America, civil and equal rights for all regardless of differences and of course world peace, but not if we have to vilify individuals to make our case.  Paula Deen does not deserve the backlash she has received, the Steubenville rape victim does not deserve to be publicly condemned for her misguided actions, and the former participants of Exodus International did not deserve to be exploited. From the Kat’s Eye, this is a modern day witch hunt and Paula Deen has the dishonor of having the scarlet letter branded on her chest and I am sorry to have to watch it run its course.



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