Comfort food, uncomfortable topics
July 1st, 2013
06:00 PM ET
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Good things happen when people gather together around a dinner table - and recent news has given us an awful lot to chew on.

Race has been front and center in the headlines recently. Businesses distanced themselves from celebrity chef Paula Deen after she admitted to using racially charged language. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on affirmative action and gutted the Voting Rights Act with the admonition to Congress that "things in the South have changed." The Senate passed historic immigration legislation. And the testimony of Rachel Jeantel in the George Zimmerman trial was filled with controversy.

Eatocracy's managing editor Kat Kinsman and Alicia Stewart, who covers issues of identity for CNN, invited a few expert guests to offer insight into some controversy that has arisen around issues of race, identity, food and redemption, and invited commenters to weigh in.

Meet our guests:

Adrian Miller is an attorney, a former Deputy Director of the President Clinton's Initiative on One America, a former board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the author of the forthcoming "Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time" that will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in August 2013.

Tricia Rose is the incoming director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Some highlights:

Kat Kinsman: Does a person get a pass if they were "just raised like that" or "came from a different time" as Deen's defenders have said?

Adrian Miller: "Absolutely not. Though one's social circumstance may go a long way to explaining a mindset, there's still the question of what causes a person to act a certain way. I know white Southerners who were raised during the same era as Deen and they abhor the use of racial slurs. If we believe in progress, then people have to show the capacity to change.

I would add that we've also a desire to move on from the past. Some want to take a shortcut and not talk about racism while others want to roll up their sleeves and do some reconciliation work."

Tricia Rose: "
I think this is strange. You could give everything a pass with this logic. But, let me also say that I DO NOT think Deen should have become so radioactive and nor do I think all her endorsements should have been so quickly pulled based on using the N Word. But I DO think she should be challenged and her apology criticized for the reasons I've offered."

Commenter iReporter Omékongo: In a world where we have the ability to learn what we do not know about one another, no one should get a pass for being "raised like that." As the saying goes, "It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at." Deen needs to get with the new time we live in.

Kat Kinsman: "So, for someone like Paula Deen, how would you want to see her go about that?"

Commenter iReporter Omékongo: Deen has access to anyone she wants to talk to if she is interested in having a genuine conversation. Dr. Maya Angelou & Oprah are available to her and could talk with her in a completely non-judgmental manner.


See more highlights at Chat: Comfort food, uncomfortable topics on CNN Living

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Filed under: Cultural Identity • Culture • Paula Deen

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soundoff (14 Responses)
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  3. Margaret

    Maybe we the people need to drop wal mart and qvc and the rest of the places that drop paula Deen I have done that all ready w w G d

    July 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  4. Sir Biddle

    Blocked from posting?!?!?! Nice touch.

    July 2, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Sir Biddle


      July 2, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Hrm? No blocked posts that I can see!

      July 2, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  5. Jerv

    If the case has nothing to do with the N word, according to Lisa Jackson-Deens accuser, then why didn't Deens sponsors and critics wait until after the case was concluded to either drop or keep her? Total bs.

    July 2, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  6. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Kat, Y U NO on TV except when I wurk?!?!

    July 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      This chat was online. But I'm maaaaade of peeeeople!

      July 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫ @ Kat

        Oh, dayum! You should give us a longer heads up next time. I could have looked like I was feverishly working at my computer when instead I'm goofing off. lulz

        July 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • Sir Biddle

        You need more stacks of cookbooks on your desk.

        July 2, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  7. Breaking News!™

    News media slant is being exposed by the beating to death of the Paula Deen story, while the Alec Baldwin homophobic threats go relatively ignored. Nice job there CNN!

    July 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      The whole point of the chat was to move beyond Paula Deen and out into the culture so we could have a substantive, calm discussion about words and culture and how they intersect. She was just the jumping-off point. Read through the transcript if you'd care to:

      July 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Baldwin, BTW - not ignored:

      July 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
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