Posts Tagged With: Savannah

Paulagate – The Downhill Slide of Paula Deen

Living in Savannah as I do, I have taken a keen interest in the whole Paula Deen fiasco. Paulagate, as I like to call it. I have watched the interviews and the local news coverage talking about the possible impact on our city. I’ve overheard discussions and participated in conversations. My favorite take was Wanda Sykes‘ on Jay Leno.
The whole thing reminds me of a giant snowball rolling down a mountain, becoming bigger and bigger and more distorted on its way downhill. Paula Deen going downhill fast

Kind of funny but mostly just unbelievable.

But the unpleasant episode has made a lot of people stop and think, including me. Not only about racism – the obvious topic – but about my own individual feelings and actions, whether they’re blatant or not. And how my personal history influences my thoughts and actions when it comes to dealing with people of different races and cultures.

I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, on a compound that was, in effect, segregated from the local culture. But my parents, who are both from the South, made a point of socializing with people from various different countries. Among their best friends: Indians, Armenians and Jordanians. I don’t remember ever hearing a derogatory or racist comment coming from either of them.

During our time there, we had a “houseboy,” who helped with cleaning and laundry and cooking. He came from Pakistan, and he was sending money back there to his wife and family, who he visited often. He was a part of our family, and I loved him dearly. He would tell me stories about growing up in Karachi. He was not a servant – he was doing a job to make his and his family’s life better. When I heard he had died several years later, I cried.

Then I moved back to the South. I spent more time with my grandfather, who told racist jokes. That both surprised and bothered me. What surprised me even more was that my parents thought the jokes were funny. But they just said, “This is the South,” as if that made it okay.

I attended UT in Knoxville for a couple of years. I didn’t know anyone there, so at first I hung around with the high school students that attended my mother’s boarding school. A lot of them were from the Middle East and Africa. I remember walking down Cumberland Avenue (aka The Strip) one day with one of them, a boy from Somalia, and I was almost attacked by a white male student. He yelled racial slurs at my friend and called me a whore. It was unnerving, and it made me feel very embarrassed for my friend. A year or two later, I met an African American and spent some time with him. He was actually surprised that I felt comfortable being with him!

I got out of Knoxville as soon as I graduated from college.

I’m not proud of it, but over the years, and on subsequent trips back to visit my family, I admit that I began to laugh at some of those jokes, and even tell some myself. It’s an easy thing to just go along with the crowd. Way too easy. But I never thought of myself as a racist. And I only used the N word once, when I was a kid, and I had no idea that it was a bad word. The boy I said it to almost beat the crap out of me (sorry Reggie)! I never uttered that word again.

Paulagate has brought all this up in me, as I’m sure it has brought the issue up with people all over the country. And I, for one, am going to be more conscientious about my own thoughts and actions. Going along with things is just as bad as doing them yourself.

My thoughts on Paula? She is a product of the South, yes, but she also knows better. And as a public figure with a significant empire, she is held to a higher standard. But the fact that her sponsors have been so quick to judge – and to drop her – is even more disturbing. Who among them is so faultless?

What I think is, she needs to do something to redeem herself. And I came across this “Open Letter to Paula Deen,” a post incredibly heartfelt and eloquently written by a fellow southerner, an African American. It offers the perfect opportunity for Paula to do something to make things right! Please take a few minutes to read the letter and see if you don’t agree.

I’d love to hear  your thoughts on Paulagate…and whether the whole thing has made you reevaluate your feelings on the issue of racism.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Saturday Night’s All Right

G and I went out with our dear friends on Saturday night. We helped them celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary. 28 years together – how awesome is that?

 D and S

Our friends, D and S

We started with cocktails at our favorite spot, Rocks on the Roof. It’s the bar on top of The Bohemian Hotel.

Cocktails at Rocks on the Roof

Me and G at Rocks on the Roof

It’s super cool – it has garage doors instead of windows, which are open if the weather is good (which it usually is, we are in Savannah). The four of us sat out on the patio, admiring the view over the river and the impressively large bridge that connects Georgia to it’s northern neighbor, South Carolina. If you go, you must ask for a blueberry mojito. Mmm mmm!

After our cocktails, we walked the short distance to Garibaldi’s for dinner. It was our first time at the local favorite, and we were immediately impressed. The place was packed at 7:30. It was very dark inside, and finding our way to our table was like maneuvering your way through a movie theater after the movie has started. But it wasn’t too dark not to be blown away by the beautiful tin ceiling!

We decided to have another mojito, just because we were all so satisfied with ourselves for being in such a fabulous place.

Dinner was excellent. S had the specialty of the house, the Crispy Flounder. Yum! Crispy Flounder

G had a Veal Chop, and it was perfectly done. Yum Yum! Veal Chop

D and I both went for Crispy Duck. I think between the two of us we ate a whole duck – quack, quack! Add a side of mushroom risotto and fresh green beans and I was hap, hap, happy! Crispy Duck

Oh, I forgot to mention our appetizer – tempura soft shelled crab. I didn’t manage to get a picture because we all gobbled it up as soon as it landed on the table.

And dessert? Puh-lease! A “Berry Basket.” Berry Basket  Dee-lishus!

Afterwards, we went in search of an after dinner drink. We went into a bar that used to be called Venus de Milo. G and I had been there a couple of times and thought it was a cool place. It had changed hands and it’s called Rogue Water Tap House now. It’s a college bar/dive. But we were not about to search any further. We sat down at the bar and when the young college boy asked us what we would like, we all looked at each other like idiots. What we really wanted was a nice glass of wine, but no dice. No wine at Rogue House. So we looked around, looked at each other some more, and looked at the offerings on the chalkboard menu behind the bar. The young college boy wandered off, then reappeared. We still didn’t know what we wanted. He suggested Apple Cider. D tasted it. We all looked on in a stupor. (I think I started to get a little embarrassed at this point.) G stepped up and ordered a Jamesons. The college boy suggested adding a Fireball to the cider, which made a drink called “Angry Balls.” What the hell. D and I both went for it. Not to be left out, S ordered a water. After dinner drinks

Saturday night was definitely all right!

PS We took a cab home.

Categories: Delectables, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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