This is not to pile on Paula Deen whose public excoriation for using the N-word has been well covered, but to clarify something about Southerners and the N-word in general.
In some accounts there is the suggestion that because Deen is from the so-called Old South, there may have been a time where it was acceptable to say n***** (rap artists and Richard Pryor notwithstanding).
Well I’m from the Old South, too, many generations of it, and it was never okay to say that word in our house. Never.
My Southern friends and I have been discussing this as you can imagine, and we rankle at all being tarred by the same brush. Yes growing up we heard the n-word used plenty, but not by us and not by our mamas. It was forbidden in our houses and for all the right reasons. Many of our parents’ generation may not have been socially or racially liberal, but they were respectful, and they had manners.
We couldn’t say “shut up” in our house either, but that is what Paula Deen should have done a while ago.
From The Daily Beast, here Paula Deen’s Apology for Using the N-Word is Ridiculous, here Food Network Fires Paula Deen, and Details From Her Deposition