I’m curious as to what others think of the whole Paula Deen brouhaha?  First of all, a couple of caveats:

1) Full disclosure: She and I do share the same literary agent, but that doesn’t color my opinion one way or another.

2) My opinion is based on what has been widely reported in media, if there’s more that is yet to come out, I may change my thoughts.

First of all, I would in no way condone the use of the “n” word or any speech that makes someone feel marginalized, hated, or bullied.  But we live in a diverse world with a gazillion different opinions and people.  People are not perfect.  Lord knows I’ve made more mistakes, exercised more poor judgment, and stuck my foot in my mouth more times than probably most of you combined.  But the Food Network is a place where cooks, chefs, and bakers gather to create culinary magic and prepare recipes.  Is the Food Network judging its TV personalities based on their bisque and bread or on their morals and mores?  If it’s the latter, fine, fire Paula. But, I’d venture to guess, the Food Network would probably have to fire most of their hosts if that is now the standard.

I also, personally, don’t believe Paula Deen is a bad person. I’ve never met her, I’m only judging her by what I’ve seen of her over the years on TV.  I respect a woman who by the sheer force of her personality and hard work later in life made it to the top.  At 66-years-old she is an imperfect person tinged with the unacceptable racial residue of Jim Crow’s twilight.  If Rachael Ray, a young New York native, uttered the “N” word, that would to me be a very different situation than a 66-year-old from Savannah.  I’m not giving Paula a pass, but I’m giving perspective.  The Imagereality is that as much as American institutions strive to create order out of disorder, life is a pretty gray place where decisions are shaped by a complex brew of impulsivity, history, and personality.  Most of us, I believe, strive to make the right choices and most of us hopefully make the right ones most of the time. But, I for one, am willing to forgive Paula Deen.  Thoughts?

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