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Arizona's Noon News & Karie Dozer

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


Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.

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