The controversy over Paula Deen is one that should cause us to consider one another for what we are — now — not what we were many years ago. I do not know Paula Deen and, to the best of my knowledge, have never used any of the items that I understand she sells.
I am a bit older than Paula, and I was raised in the same general area, i.e., near Albany. When I was young and growing up, the “n-word” (one cannot say that, even in a letter to the editor, although my dictionary does contain it) was in common usage. I would probably have a hard time believing that anyone in Georgia, in the South and probably in the United States who even approaches Paula Deen’s age has not used this word. That does not mean that the person using this word intended any kind of slight or degradation. It was, at one time, simply the common way of saying “Negro.”
Of course it was, at times, used in a derogatory manner and, as a result, it has come to be considered a taboo word. My own personal thought is that I will not use that word simply because society in general considers it to be a term of degradation. For the same reason, I would not fly the Confederate flag. It is not my intent to hurt the feelings of anyone. In like manner, there are many thing I would not do because they may hurt someone.
The people in positions of authority who can punish Mrs. Deen, as they have taken action to do, are in the same general group as Mrs. Deen and myself. This causes me to wonder about their motivation. Maybe they have always had such high moral standards that they have never done anything similar, but they have not be subjected to the same scrutiny, and so that conclusion is not evident. What is evident is that their actions appear to have financial reasons lurking in the background, which are considered more important than being truthful.
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Too late for that.