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Updated Aug 13, 2013 - 1:32 pm

Final Word: Forgiving racist language is tough sell

The latest headline in the Paula Deen lawsuit story is that the claims of racial discrimination by the plaintiff have been thrown out.

These are the claims that led, over the last few months, to Deen losing much of her culinary empire. The Food Network, among others, dropped Deen after her own testimony in response to the claims in the lawsuit. She admitted using racial slurs in conversations with her husband.

In response to the allegations, retailers stopped carrying her pans, stores dropped her cookbooks. She burst into tears on the "Today" show, a venue that had been nothing but friendly to her.

Now we find out that the claims of racial discrimination have no standing. Why?

The accuser is white.

As in not black.

As in can't be harmed by racial slurs, at least, not financially.

But, as is often the case, the damage is done, and Deen's reputation took a hit that may still turn out to be fatal for her career.

Once you're branded as a racist, which Deen, by the way, may or may NOT be, you have a really tough time recovering in this country.

It's easier for wife beaters, cheating spouses and bank robbers to clean up their reputations than racists. And while racism is disgusting, I don't think it's any more a condition a person can't recover from and learn from than those others.

Maybe it's an even more temporary condition than those. But we don't tend to treat acts that smack of racism, or the people who commit them, with any tolerance -- think Paula Deen and Riley Cooper -- even if, as we find out, the accused outs themselves for no real good reason.

Maybe it's time to ask ourselves why.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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