Paula Deen embroiled in buttery brouhaha

In a large mixing bowl, add a pound of ground beef, an egg, a half cup of bread crumbs, a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, a pound or two of butter and – of course – a smattering of racial slurs and you have a good old-fashioned controversy broiling away in the oven, y’all.

Those very ingredients – particularly the racial slurs – recently got food icon Paula Deen in hot water, essentially cooking her goose both personally and professionally.

The controversy flared up when Deen admitted to using the N-word during a deposition for a lawsuit involving a former general manager of one of her Georgia eateries.

Deen immediately went on the defensive, trying multiple times to squelch the increasingly volatile fire.

It was too late as the Food Network quickly opted not to renew her contract. The food diva also lost her lucrative deal with Walmart, and shopping network QVC is reviewing the viability of continuing to peddle her culinary wares.

After the news of “Buttergate” broke, many took to social media and news websites to air their shock, displeasure and hatred for Deen and her inexcusable actions.

Despite Deen’s knack for being a lightning rod for criticism – remember the brouhaha over her diabetes diagnosis – she has now been vilified almost beyond recognition of her former southern belle persona.

At the heart of the issue is her choice to use such offensive language.

Racial slurs, no matter which ethnicity they are pointed toward, are utterly and completely inappropriate – especially in this day and age.

What many people fail to understand, though, is that Deen is far removed from the generations of people who now make up America’s conscience.

Deen comes from a time when racial slurs were commonplace in the South. Her peers – and those even older than her – continue to use what my generation would consider inexcusable language.

That language, unfortunately, is no worse than that used by modern-day rap artists, athletes and movie stars.

The people who are denouncing Deen’s actions, as horrific as they are, in fact are the same people who are slinging racial epitaphs in lyrics and on the playing field.

Also, let us not forget, everyone has the potential for redemption. West Virginia’s beloved U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd once was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, yet he went on to change his ways and mindset to champion reform and defend equal rights for all.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condoning her actions. The reality is I may detest what she said, but I will defend her right to say whatever she wants under the rights afforded to us all by the Founding Fathers.

Besides, doesn’t this country have more important irons – or roasts – in the oven to worry about than the actions and missteps of a butter-crazy, spatula-wielding southern restauranteur?

– Executive Editor Matthew Burdette can be reached at 304-636-2121, ext. 120 or via email at