Paula Deen fans divided on racist language - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Paula Deen fans divided on racist language

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A woman who has made her career on one word -- y'all -- now seeing it brought down by another. 

In the wake of her admission that she used arguably the most serious racial slur in the past -- in anger and in jokes -- Paula Deen's fans are divided, like much of the nation, over what impact that "n-word" really has.

"When you say things that are insensitive to any race, or any culture of people, it's offensive," said Miriam Lewis, a tourist from Chicago WTOC interviewed Saturday on Congress Street. "I'm not going to spend my money there."

Sophia Starnes did. WTOC caught up with her Friday night, after she'd eaten dinner at The Lady and Sons. Starnes and her friends came from Atlanta, and it was her fourth visit to the restaurant, just hours after the Food Network announced it was dropping Deen's three shows.

Asked what she makes of Deen's admission, she said, "I'm able to forgive her because we do it in our own culture, and you guys do it in your own culture. You have words that you use for each other, and that's why I don't take it so personal because I know that's not who I am."

But for the Miriam Lewis an her husband Michael, Allowing anyone to use the *n-word* is insulting.

"For (younger African Americans), it's okay, almost like a term of endearment. Right. But for us, it's an insult. So to hear it one way and then to hear it another, that's the lost generation, and I understand what they say when they say we lost a generation."

Starnes and her friends say Deen's video apologies, released Friday on YouTube before the network dropped her, seemed heartfelt.

"I think it's good for us to forgive her and to move on and just embrace her," Starnes said. "And I think this is a learning lesson for her as well as for the people who do forgive her."

But the Lewises aren't so ready to absolve. 

"She can apologize as many times as she wants, but it doesn't change the fact of what was said," Miriam Lewis said.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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