I am particularly offended by Ms Deen's behavior because it exposes the scars that I bear of having been raised by a racist. My father was indiscriminate in his discrimination. He hated everyone who was different. I don't believe that I heard words like “African-American” (“black” was in vogue when I was a boy), “Asian”, “Italian”, “Pole”, “Chinese”, “Japanese”, etc. All people who were different were identified by racial epithets in our household. All people except Germans. He adored all things Germanic. He self-identified as German even though all his predecessors were Slovak. He was obviously ashamed of being Slovak.
Unfortunately, some vestige of my father's bigotry persists in my family and I find it difficult to be around them. Even though they have been warned that I will not tolerate hate speech, let alone hateful acts in my presence, there are slips that lead to uncomfortable confrontations.
Thus, it is no surprise that my first novel dealt with racism. Racism rears its ugly head in the main plot line and we learn that it has been the guiding force in U.S. Foreign relations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Apparently, Americans of European descent have little more regard for Iberians than they have for Africans. A subplot in my novel is also an outgrowth of racism wherein my protagonists pursue romance and marriage even though faced with antimisogyny laws that forbid their union.
Now, Ms Deen is sorry, very sorry indeed. She has been fired by FoodNetwork TV. More than the loss of income, she will suffer from the loss of public exposure that has driven her successful enterprises in selling books and kitchenware. Such retribution will escape the attention of those who argue that racism continues to thrive in America. They will continue to fan the fires of racial division and unrest, and all America and our progeny will continue to suffer.
Will bigotry ever be put to rest? Unfortunately, no. It thrives in the dung heap of ignorance. Although we may stifle its influence in our law and our public institutions, we will never completely eradicate it from society. That is why it is not enough to simply refrain from its practice. It is not enough to shun bigots. All people of good will must speak out against bigotry and discrimination and act decisively to stop it.