ESSENCE Poll: Can People Change Their Views on Race?
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Celebrity chef Paula Deen is the latest star in the hot seat for making racially offensive comments. According to a recent deposition in a sexual and racial harassment lawsuit against Deen and her brother, the southern kitchen maven admits to having used the “N” word in the past.

When asked if she’d ever used the “N” word, Deen simply replied, “Yes, of course.”

When TMZ leaked news of the deposition findings yesterday, many Black fans, news outlets and community leaders expressed instant outrage over the candid nature of Deen’s less-than-sympathetic confession.

“Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable,” her lawyer, Bill Franklin said. “She is looking forward to her day in court.”  

Deen denies having ever told racial jokes. When asked if she had, she responded: “No, probably a conversation between Blacks. I don’t–I don’t know. But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do.”

Other reports have begun to surface that claim she once wanted to use make-believe slaves at a wedding dinner with a “plantation” theme. While some are offended, outraged and requesting her sponsors and The Food Network drop her immediately, others seem less surprised or affected by the news—even making light of the matter on Twitter using “#paulasbestdishes.”

Do you feel that someone who grew up during a time where racism was the norm can ever truly change his or her way of thinking? Simply put: Do “racist” thoughts and feelings ever change? Let’s discuss. Take the poll and leave your thoughts on the controversy below.

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