Racism, Paula Deen & The Blues Brothers

Racism, Paula Deen & The Blues Brothers

The whipped up Paula Deen racism controversy is a bad thing because real racism does exist and it’s awful. To set Paula Deen was the standard for racism lowers the bar so much that actual celebrity racists with recent history of such racism like, let’s say, Mel Gibson and his misogynist, racist crazy abuse of his girlfriend must be laughing manically in Malibu somewhere. Of course, Mel was probably doing that anyway. By the way, I believe Mel Gibson absolutely should have been condemned for what he said.

The controversy over what Paula Deen said in 1986 reminded me of the shock I had watching the 1980 film The Blues Brothers recently. I hadn’t seen it in twenty years, at least.

The Blues Brothers script was written by Dan Aykroyd, who is not only white but also Canadian, which I believe makes him extra white, technically. At one scene early in the film, the character played by music legend Cab Calloway–who is black–says to them:

“What’s one more old nigger to the board of education?”

I was take aback for a second when I heard that line. Whoa. Times have changed.

I don’t believe for a second that Aykroyd would have written that in a script today. He would have said the same thing in some other way. It took me out of the film for a moment; it was that jarring.

But in 1980, I don’t think it caused a stir. I don’t know why. It was a different time. I don’t think Aykroyd is a racist for writing it. I don’t think the audience in 1980 was racist for not freaking out about it. I think the shock today is progress.

I don’t believe Paula Deen is a racist but more to the point, I certainly don’t think she’s more racist today than she was 30 years ago. Her public beating has helped nobody.

2 Comments

  1. I have seen The Blues Brothers over 70 times. It’s my all-time favorite. And I believe you’re right that line that Cab says would not be written by Ackroyd today. But here is the odd thing (to me anyway): back in that same year the movie was made, 1980, the word “redneck” was a term for a white racist. It conjured images of members of the KKK.There was a stigma attached to it.

    What happened? Jeff Foxworthy took the power away from that name. He took the racist stigma away from it to the point where I’ve heard black people call themselves rednecks. It could be just as easy to do the n-word in like that too, but the race hustlers who love to control speech will not allow that to happen. For if the power and the stigma of the n-word were to disappear, so would the perceived need for a race hustler like Rev Al or Jesse.

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  2. I concur, Total Witch Hunt. The Standard seems to get tighter & Tighter, if You happen to be white & Looser & Looser If you happen to be black, or a hollywood lib.

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