martin-luther-king-jr-9365086-2-402.jpg“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”

This quote from a guy who focused his career on ridding the world of race discrimination. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the rights African Americans but he also wasn’t big on the wealth inequity he witnessed in the United States among all races.

I thought of this when I was reading a New York Times story today on how Paula Deen allegedly didn’t spread the wealth she was raking in with the people who helped her climb to the top.

The article pointed out that Deen’s long-time cook at her popular restaurant, a woman she called her “soul sister”, wasn’t even making $10 an hour.

According to the story, Dora Charles, Deen’s soul sister,

“developed recipes, trained other cooks and made sure everything down to the collard greens tasted right.

“If it’s a Southern dish,” Ms. Deen once said, “you better not put it out unless it passes this woman’s tongue.”

But alas, the tongue wasn’t golden. Even as Deen rocketed to food stardom, Charles who lives in a mobile home in Savannah kept working for pathetically low wages. That is until Charles filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Deens upped her salary to $71,000 a year. “Whether that decision was connected to the EEOC complaint remains in dispute,” the article states.

What I find most interesting about the story is that Deen and her supporters don’t dispute what Charles was being paid for years, but they hotly deny that Deen was a racist.

Turns out, some think it’s not such a bad thing to underpay employees, even when an employer’s success hinges in part of those employees. Is it a bad thing that Deen has been spreading around the butter love but not her wealth? (To be fair, the Deen family offered to “fix a rotting floor in her mobile home,” the New York Times article stated.)

And I have to ask, which is worse? Racism or millions of Americans “perishing on a lonely island of poverty in a midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” as King put it.

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