Embattled and disgraced butter shill Paula Deen is the gift that keeps on giving, if you consider an uncannily chipper older woman whose face is always an interesting color and who can't quite manage to stop saying shitty things about minorities despite a career-upending scandal tied to her racism a gift. (You do. That's why you're here.)
This week's People cover story focuses on Deen's attempt at a comeback. "I've learned a lot," is the quote on the cover, which is funny, because after you read this quote you'll wonder if she in fact learned anything at all:
I feel like "embattled" or "disgraced" will always follow my name. It's like that black football player who recently came out. He said, "I just want to be known as a football player. I don't want to be known as a gay football player." I know exactly what he's saying.
Oh man, so much here and it's all so unhealthy, it's as though each of these words has been chicken-fried by Paula Deen herself. Any sort of neutralizing effect that Deen's professed empathy with Michael Sam might have is destroyed by the implication that "embattled" and "disgraced" will also follow his name for being a gay black man. People who aren't bigoted don't see it that way. (Note: "Embattled" and "disgraced" generally precede Deen's name—see above.)
Really, that association could be a matter of bad word placement. Also word choice. "That black guy?" Learn his name or you're just the slightly less racist lady who still says "that black guy."
But the main thing is that Deen doesn't get it at all. She lost whatever good name she had through her actions: admitting to having said the word "nigger," and also, in the often ignored and utterly nauseating part of her scandal, her desire to hold an antebellum-themed wedding for her brother Bubba, in which black servants dressed as slaves. When Michael Sam says, "I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, instead of Michael Sam the gay football player," he is asking for the very opposite of what Deen is asking for here: to be judged not for what he is, but for what he does. In the court of public opinion, sometimes you pay for your bigotry, but you shouldn't ever have to pay for your sexuality.
Elsewhere in the story, Deen says on the fallout of her scandal, "When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again." Aw. "I think twice about a joke," she says, the poor thing. Can you even imagine, having to think about your words?
[Image via Getty]