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I’m black, and I forgive Paula Deen

I love Southern cooking. My parents are from the South -- Tennessee and Alabama -- and I grew up with fried chicken, black-eyed peas, corn bread, collards and peach cobbler. So it’s not difficult to understand why I would become a Paula Deen fan. I liked her the first time I saw her -- topping a gooey dessert with ice cream and whipped cream.

It was more than her food. It was her voice, with that easy Southern twang, her megawatt smile, her self-deprecating sense of humor, and her feistiness. She embodied the best of the White South. Her home base may have been Savannah, Georgia, a city with a history of discrimination, but I never saw any indication of the racism so stereotypical of Southerners. She often had black guests on her show, and she was on Oprah more times than I can remember. I cursed Anthony Bourdain when he attacked her fat-laden recipes -- calling her “the worst, most dangerous person to America” (a little extreme, no?). So last week, when I read that she admitted to using “the N-word,” I was more than a little disturbed.

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