Paula Deen called Obama the N-word but campaigned for him in 2008
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Paula Deen called Obama the N-word but campaigned for him in 2008

Las Vegas : NV : USA | Jun 21, 2013 at 5:21 PM PDT
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Paula Deen Video

Is Paula Deen truly a racist or is she just a culturally ignorant old woman? Regardless of which, the hurtful words she spoke can never be unspoken. The damage has already been done to her image and to the African American community, especially her fanbase. But how does President Barack Obama feel about the latest controversy surrounding her use of the N-word and other racially insensitive behaviors?

Deen reportedly called Obama the N-word around her employees, alleges the now-infamous lawsuit against her. However, she campaigned for Obama back in 2008 and even made a friendship with Michelle Obama. Why would a racist support a black man for president?

It seems the problem here is that Deen comes from an out-of-touch attitude that is ingrained in Southern culture. She may not personally feel racist or want any harm to come to people of different races, but her upbringing likely shaped her vernacular. It seems hard to believe that someone who became friends with Michelle Obama is an actual racist, but the media and the public are tearing her to shreds right now over this controversy.

Regardless of whether or not she's racist, Deen's ideas about "authentic Southern plantation dinners" and the hate-slang she uses is not acceptable in modern society. Racism is still prominent in the United States, and if we tolerate innocent insensitivity for other races then it's a slippery slope that may lead to tolerating flatout bigotry -- and that can't be done.

The Food Network has decided to not renew Deen's contract, essentially firing her from her longtime presence on the network. Some of her fans are outraged by this, but it's probably safe to say that they do not grasp the scope of the damage her words have inflicted -- and that's something that you can't really force people to understand.

Deen's words did more than damage her credibility and harm the fight against racism in general; they attracted more negative attention to Southern culture. There are plenty of people in the South who are not racist and try every day to prove to the world that Southern culture isn't all about stereotypes, and this kind of controversy does nothing but set those efforts back and inspire hopelessness among those who really want to make a cultural difference in the South and in Southern culture.

Deen has apologized for her use of racial epithets, but is sorry enough this time?

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Paula Deen
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Chelsea Hoffman is based in Henderson, Nevada, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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