Regarding the scandal about Paula Deen's past use of a racial slur: The celebrity culture hurts us as individuals and a nation. There is something sinister about creating a kitchen goddess and plastering her name and image on books, magazine covers and television, pretending that she's the end-all and be-all of Southern cooking, only to switch things overnight and create a new label as racist.
Our consumer culture has this thing about worshipping an image, and publicists and cable TV executives capitalize on this. I find it a major dumbing down of America when these events capture our collective imagination.
The work on race relations is done every day, in ordinary ways, with ordinary people who don't make the headlines. This media-induced outrage strikes me as hypocritical.