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Where does it end?

Published 9:36am Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The recent revelation that celebrity chef Paula Deen — successful restaurateur, author, cooking show host and Smithfield Foods spokesperson — used a racial slur several years ago shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

But not because Deen was born in the south in 1947 and raised during the racially charged and contentious civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

No, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone because almost everyone, including most all who are reading these words today, have used language at least once in their lives that someone else might find offensive.

Does that make it acceptable? No. And the fact that it’s unpopular to publicly say so doesn’t make it any less true.

What should also fail to surprise is Big Business’ decision to immediately distance itself from Deen. Big Business has a long and distinguished history of profiting from celebrities it knows to have private shortcomings, only to cut ties when those foibles become publicly known.

We certainly don’t condone hurtful or offensive language, especially if it is used in such a way as to intentionally inflict bad feelings. But at some point the statute of limitations on a poor choice of words has got to run out. So too should the state of hypersensitivity that exists in our culture today.

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