Dear Tell All: In defending celebrity chef Paula Deen, whose cooking empire crumbled after she admitted to using the N-word, Southern Cooking Fan told you about her own older relatives, who occasionally used the N-word themselves ("In Defense of Paula Deen," 7/3/2013). How astoundingly arrogant of you to judge her relatives as having hate in their hearts. I'd agree they are insensitive and old-fashioned, but how can you know they hate, just because they privately use the N-word?
Words mean different things to different people in different times and places, and you are in no position to judge why people use the words they do. I recall an NPR call-in show back in 2008 when Obama was first running for the presidency. The topic was "Can a black man really be elected?" A young woman called to say she was hopeful because when she asked an elderly Southern relative whom he would vote for, he replied, "What's the name of the n——r? Yeah, he's the one I'm voting for." Did he have hate in his heart?
Your closing comment about Deen shows your muddled, holier-than-thou thinking: "When an American celebrity uses the N-word, it's time to usher her off the public stage." The only information we have is that Paula Deen used that word only long before she was a celebrity, so your comment does not apply to her.
Dear Tell All: I want to thank Dr. J for his insightful comments about the Dalai Lama, whom he calls out for his views on sex, abortion and women ("Unmasking the Dalai Lama," 6/14/13). Without casting further aspersions on the Dalai Lama, I do want to say that Madison already has an active, engaged Buddhist group that, unlike the Gelugpa Order, believes in the equality of all people and supports diversity of all kinds, including gay and lesbian people. People interested in how Buddhism can help them and their families become happy can check out the local SGI chapter at sgimadison.org.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.