Karla’s Korner: Apologies, Forgiveness and Moving On


Apologies, Forgiveness and Moving On…

The past two weeks have been less than favorable for television chef and business woman Paula Deen. She has been brought to her knees for admitting that she used inappropriate words some 30 years ago when referring to African Americans. She has lost her contracts with various corporations and is being dubbed a racist. Having been a fan of Paula Deen for many years I have found myself feeling sad for her situation and in wonder at just how all of this happened. Depending on which interpretation you read in various news outlets but it appears that our country is divided on this issue. First let me say that the words that Paula has admitted to saying are not only inappropriate but unacceptable. I do not use that word or other words used to describe people that society would deem as “different” or “minority”. I believe that people are people no matter the color of their skin, their vocation, the size of their paycheck, house or car or who they love. You see, I am of the opinion that I am the only one responsible for my life and what I do with it; it cannot be up to anyone else to decide how I live, what I do or who I love.

As I watched Deen appear on the Today Show this past week my heart broke for her because no matter what she says I believe she has already been tried and convicted by the media and corporate America. For me personally, I applaud her for being open and honest enough to admit her shortcomings instead of choosing to lie under oath as some had suggested she should have done. She could have lied and said that she never used that hateful word and gone on with her life and all of its successes. Instead, however, she chose to tell the truth and face the consequences; which have been less than pleasant for her and her family. What does this say about society, or part of our society, that instead of extending forgiveness and mercy to those who do the right thing and admit their wrong doings, fess up if you will we try to ruin them and bring them to their knees personally and professionally? What about all of the good things Deen has done for others throughout the course of her life? It seems that none of that matters right now; a fact that I believe is beyond sad for all involved.

Should doing the right thing, admitting our faults and mistakes be the reason we deem someone a horrible person? If that’s the case, then I doubt anyone of us would be considered a good person. I believe that forgiveness, grace and mercy should be extended to Paula Deen for the things she did in the past. None of us are perfect; however, we have chosen to expect others to be. Looking back through history we have had presidents who have committed adultery and have remained in office and have moved on to prosper and be successful. And how many celebrities have behaved inappropriately yet we continue to pay to watch their movies and hold them in high regard. What makes Paula Deen so different than those who use that horrible word in rap music or when referring to their peers?

I wonder what our world would be like if forgiveness was practiced more and condemnation less? I wonder what our world would be like if everyone stopped trying to find a way to knock someone to their knees for something they said or did instead of trying to accept apologies and help that person learn from their shortcomings? Noted author Shannon Alder once wrote “Every person has a dark side. What defines a person with good character is not a spotless life of constant kindness, smiles and even temperament. But rather, it’s the yearning to learn from your mistakes, applying it, making amends for them and choosing not to repeat them that define good character. These are the friends to keep in your life because they have stared adversity in the face and became a better person because of it.”

Living with more heart and less hate I believe would help our world be a better place.




I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles for more thought for the week here. Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Topic: Forgiveness

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  1. Sandy Cain says

    I don’t feel she has been treated unfairly. It is up to her sponsors as to whether they want her representing their companies. It’s not like she’s been thrown into jail – she just lost some $$$$ due to poor judgement. It happens every day. I don’t feel that “forgiveness and mercy” is the issue here – it’s strictly business. As for her telling the truth and not lying about saying the “N-word” – if she HAD lied, be sure the truth would have come out sooner or later. Remember Mark Fuhrman? He swore (literally!) on the Bible that he never said the N-word…..but you know what, the truth always rears it’s (sometimes) ugly head. This whole issue does not define Ms. Deen – it’s just part of day-to-day life. You screw up, you pay the piper. Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox now!

    • Karla Robey says

      Yes, she has lost and I am sure will continue to lose money, however, her character and reputation have been put on the line as well. I do believe that business is part of the issue but I also believe that there are many in our society who are waiting for the opportunity to bring people down; something I think is happening here. She says that she said the N word nearly 30 years ago and she is having to pay the piper now…how many of us can say that we never said or did something in our past that would not be looked on favorably today? I think that extending mercy and allowing her to prove that she is not a racist would be beneficial to all involved, including society as a whole. Bill Clinton did horrible things while serving as President of the United States yet he got to keep his job and has prospered ever since. Mark Fuhrman is a news correspondent and is seen on cable news quite often. I just wonder what it is about Paula Deen that makes this situation so different?

  2. Mary Beth Elderton says

    Paula Deen is not under fire for uttering an inappropriate word 30 years ago. She is under fire for allegations of fostering an *on-going* environment of racial discrimination in her work place–in particular, she is under fire for her offensive and unapologetic response, via deposition, to those allegations. Her somewhat hysterical “apology” came only after her sponsors began to leave her.
    This is not about love and forgiveness for Paula Deen. This is more about what attitudes we wish to condone and reward as acceptable in our national discourse. On a personal level, I might find Deen to be a nice lady with outmoded ideas about race and try to forgive–just as I do with members of my own, deep-south family. But Paula Deen has a very large presence on the national level as an icon, teacher, role-model, and as such, must carry a large responsibility for what she represents publicly.
    I am grateful that Deen’s sponsors and partners are distancing themselves from her blatant racism and are refusing to reward that attitude.

    • Karla Robey says

      What’s the difference between Paula Deen and all of the rappers and Hollywood celebrities using that word (and other words) and getting away with it? That word is used all the time in music, t.v. and movies yet it doesn’t seem to have the same effect? Shouldn’t celebrities carry a large responsibility for what they represent publicly just as Paula Deen? I’m just curious as to how that can apply to one but not all….

      • Ian says

        As Mary Beth said, it’s not about her use of the N word. I do agree that the use of the word is more than a little ridiculous. Here are the things that she and her brother are accused which have really been ignored a lot which is why everyone thinks it’s just about the N word.

        “Paula Deen, while planning her brother’s wedding in 2007, was asked what look the wedding should have. She replied, “I want a true southern plantation-style wedding.”
        When asked what type of uniforms the servers should wear, Paula stated, “well what I would really like is a bunch of little n*ggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around;
        Black staff had to use the back entrance to enter and leave restaurant;
        Black staff could only use one bathroom;
        Black staff couldn’t work the front of the restaurants;
        Brother Bubba stated his wishes: “ I wish I could put all those n*ggers in the kitchen on a boat to Africa”;
        Bubba asked a Black driver and security guard “don’t you wish you could rub all the Black off you and be like me? You just look dirty; I bet you wish you could.” The guy told Bubba he was fine as is;
        Bubba on President Obama: they should send him to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so he could n*gger-rig it;
        He shook an employee (Black again) and said” F your civil rights…you work for me and my sister Paula Deen;
        Paula’s son Jaime’s best friend managed the Lady & Sons restaurant. He threatened to fire all the ‘Monkeys’ in the kitchen. When Paula found out…she slapped him on the wrist and suggested that the employee visited Paula’s $13,000,000 mansion so he felt special and could be massaged.”

        These reasons have been copied from an article found here: http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php/opinion/14581-paula-deen-you-should-know-all-that-s-being-alleged-before-defending-her

  3. David Robey says

    This is politics all over again when people refuse to hold all accountable for the same acts. No one said she was treated unfairly based soley on her act. But she is treated unfairly when others get away with it because of their race. That is racism.

    • Ada Mangoes says

      No, that isn’t racism. Holding everyone, regardless of race, to the exact same standards of language use negates the lived experiences of those who are and have been the victims of the systemic racial discrimination endemic to US culture. Reclaiming words that have been used to systematically degrade your race and not allowing their use by members of the race who have historically been the abusers and degraders is not racism.

  4. Jennifer Beckman says

    As soon as the news has died down and the sponsors believe she can bring in a profit again, she’ll be back with a show and her product sales. Personally, there has always been something about her that has rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve never bought her stuff or watched her shows, but I wouldn’t wish her any harm. However, everyone is responsible for their own actions. The consequences from hers, from however long ago, have finally come around for her.

  5. Melissa P. says

    I honestly think it is ridiculous. Look at who we have representing our country. If they are going to fire Paula, then maybe our current President should be fired for all the things he did in his past as well like smoking weed, etc. As well as his current faults like lying about who his real father was. And yes, I am serious.

  6. David Robey says

    I could care less if Paula Deen cooks another burger. Yes, everyone is responsible for their actions. The problem is that not everyone is “held” responsible for their actions. BIG DIFFERENCE. I still don’t get any reasonable response as to why some can continue to use the “N” word and it is never an issue. And yes, attack on celebrities are selective based on many things. I know that Tiger Woods issues were different but he spent more time in the new club “Ho in one” and lost few sponorships and now it is like it never happened. I am glad he came back from that but so should others.

  7. pamela says

    Karla, I totally agree. I do not condone ANY of the wrong acts she has done, but it does seem that she is being unfairly treated, sponsors support all kinds of horrible practices, even openly, and we all turn our heads the other way and keep buying their products. Hollywood, politics, everyone does wrong-we need a little more forgiveness and a lot more accountibility!

    • Karla Robey says

      Thanks Pamela. The societal double standard here in this case in mind blowing. We also need to understand that what her brother did is his fault not hers. Do we really know what was said? It seems that she’s being blamed for all of it. My guess is that she relied on those she thought she could depend on and some of it has backfired on her. As a child growing up in the 70’s those types of words and behaviors were more prevalent and I heard it a lot. Unfortunately, there are still some folks from that era that use those negative words who have also perpetuated it within their own families and communities. I’m not saying it’s right or should be swept under the rug, I am saying this should be a learning lesson for society as a whole. If we want to change the world we need to be that change and we need to start with accepting people’s shortcomings, apologies and extend forgiveness. We also need to examine the media and the entertainment industry and wipe out all of the inappropriate language and behaviors. What’s is considered appropriate punishment for one (Paula Deen) should be good for everyone else.

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