In the wake of Titanic-sized PR disaster that was Paula Deen's deposition in 2013, a New Jersey-based company doubled down on the much-maligned celebu-chef, adding a second Paula Deen-themed cruise for her fans and supporters.
The ship left from Miami and hit a bunch of spots in the Eastern Caribbean. Of the 3,030 people that could fit on the ship, 100 and change were a part of the Paula Deen package, having spent an extra $700 to be included in 12 events featuring and/or sponsored by Deen herself.
Among the Deen cruisers was Caity Weaver, a Philly girl and Gawker reporter who wanted to see exactly how racist the folks on the Paula Deen cruise would be.
Turns out, pretty racist.
In her essentially eternal profile of the Deen cruise, Weaver lists everything she ate on the cruise, lists every place she heard someone say the N-word, and describes her interaction with a number of different folks she met on her trip, most of whom are older widows from the American South.
She also writes of Paula Deen's friend, African-American Brad Turner, who goes by The Grill Sergeant.
Whether you support Paula Deen in spite of her racism, condemn Paula Deen for her racism, or blindly accept her apology and new black friends as proof that she isn't racist, Weaver's account of the Paula Deen cruise is worth a few minutes of your time (most of the rest of your afternoon).
As with much of the media coverage of Paula's fall from grace, cruisers in our group focus single-mindedly on her use of a racial slur, rather than her (quickly abandoned) idea for an elegant antebellum-style wedding staffed exclusively by black attendants.
"Have you ever... used a derogatory term?" one woman asks me at dinner. "Not toward a gay or a black or a Jewish person or a person that was handicapped or anything?"
I tell her, honestly, that I don't recall ever doing so. Perversely, I feel bad that I can't give her the answer she wants, because I like her.
A man at the table, who is traveling alone, argues with me about the alleged offensiveness of the N-word.
"They use that word to each other," he says, meaning black people. "It's in their music."
I suggest to him that there is a difference between a black person saying it to another black person and a white person saying it to a black person, comparing the circumstances (admittedly, not very convincingly) to the difference between telling a self-deprecating joke about oneself and being subject to mockery from others.
"Don't you think that's a double standard?" he asks.
"And you're OK with that," he says. (It's not a question.) [Gawker]