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RACISM/ Albacete: A sin, that requires absolution. But from whom can it be expected?

LORENZO ALBACETE comments on the case of Paula Deen and the allegation of racial discrimination. Racism is a sin, not only of whites, and needs to be absolved. But who can really do this?

Paula Deen (Archive image) Paula Deen (Archive image)

Paula Deen is an expert in Southern cooking, known as the Queen of Southern Cooking, who built a multi-million dollar empire selling cooking-related literature, recipes, supermarket chains, and above all, a daily cable TV show. As I write this column, Paula Deen has suffered an array of financial disasters because she said the wrong word.

The forbidden word is referred to as "the N word" in order to avoid having to use it in conversation and in columns like this one. In the world of Caribbean Spanish where I was born, the word simply means "black," and is used as a term of endearment , as in "negrita," referring to a woman you find beautiful . In American English, the word has become the greatest racist insult against African Americans.

On May 17, Lisa Jackson , a former employee of Paula Deen Enterprises brought a court case against Deen for which Deen wrote a written deposition in her defense. The deposition, which was against Deen and her brother, Earl “Bubba” Hiers. Jackson alleges several instances of sexual and racial workplace discrimination. However, it was her remarks on race that hit her hard. She had used the N word in reply to questions from a lawyer who asked her whether she ever used the N-word.

Deen acknowledged that she had, and then made reference to many popular songs today which contains this word and so many others like it. And yet the same chains sell these with smiles on their faces. The same media outlets treat these 'performers' like they were high and mighty. Why is it that nobody was calling for a boycott of these offensive performers and their offensive music and lyrics?

On the other side of the debate, Rev Jessie Jackson joined many others around the globe to denounce the hate towards Paula Deen and try to promote compassion and forgiveness.

"Blacks understand southern white ignorance, tolerance and compassion. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is asking all WHITE AMERICANS to STOP and THINK before you SHOP at WAL-MART, SEARS, TARGET, HOME DEPOT and QVC. How many times have African Americans insulted whites?!? with words like Cracker, white bread, etc.. We all need to be respectful of each other and not insult anyone. The word should not be used by African Americans if it is wrong for us to use it. If it's offensive then it's offensive point blank!"