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Southern TV chef Paula Deen
June 27th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Opinion: Half-baked apology is recipe for racial indigestion

Editor's note: Tricia Rose is the incoming director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, where she teaches Africana studies. She is the author of "Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America" and "The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop - And Why It Matters."

By Tricia Rose, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As Paula Deen's apology tour continues, it becomes more and more disturbing to watch.

With each heartfelt tearful statement, Deen seems completely uninterested in the broader contexts of her comments, missing ample opportunities to address the reality of racism today both in the form of cultural and social interactions, but even more powerfully by policies and actions.

I heard her speak very little about the extraordinary injuries and injustices black people face, I have not heard her show alliance with those who fight racism nor show solidarity with or compassion for black people based on the profound impact racism has on their lives.

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June 26th, 2013
09:30 AM ET

In tearful interview, Paula Deen slams 'horrible lies'

By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) – Celebrity chef Paula Deen, facing allegations of racism that have caused parts of her empire to crumble, slammed what she called "horrible, horrible lies" about her in an emotional, nationally televised interview Wednesday.

"I believe that every creature on this Earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," she told NBC's "Today" show. "... I believe that everyone ought to be treated equal."

Deen was raised to never be unkind to anyone, she said.

"I've had to hold friends in my arms while they've sobbed," Deen said, crying. "Because they know what's being said about me - it's not true. And I'm having to comfort them, and tell them it's going to be all right. If God got us to it, he'll get us through it."

The accusations against Deen stem from a lawsuit filed by a former manager of Deen's restaurants in Savannah, Georgia. Lisa T. Jackson's lawsuit alleges that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of Jackson's five-year tenure at Deen's Lady & Sons and Uncle Bubba's Oyster House eateries in Savannah.

Deen rejects the allegations.

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • How we live • Race
June 25th, 2013
11:19 AM ET

Supreme Court limits federal oversight of Voting Rights Act

What do you think? Sound off in a video on CNN iReport.

By Bill Mears, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A deeply divided Supreme Court has limited use of a key provision in the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, in effect invalidating federal enforcement over all or parts of 15 states with past history of voter discrimination.

The court said it is now up to congressional lawmakers to revise the law to meet constitutional scrutiny.

"Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to the current conditions," said Chief Justice John Roberts for the 5-4 conservative majority.

Section 4 of the law was struck down, the coverage formula used by the federal government to determine which states and counties are subject to continued oversight. Roberts said that formula from 1972 was outdated and unworkable.

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June 25th, 2013
09:30 AM ET

Paula Deen's sons: She's no racist

By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) - Celebrity chef Paula Deen's sons staunchly defended their mother Tuesday, saying allegations of racism are false "character assassination."

"Neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted toward any other person for any reason," Bobby Deen told CNN's "New Day" in an exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo.

"Our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted, empathetic people that you'd ever meet," he added. "These accusations are very hurtful to her, and it's very sad."

In a recent lawsuit deposition, Deen admitted having used the "N-word" long ago. The suit alleges discrimination and racism at two of Deen's restaurants.

But the Deen sons - also chefs with TV shows, and part of their family's restaurant businesses - insisted the depictions of their mother are an effort by the plaintiff to get a chunk of the family fortune.

"I'm disgusted by the entire thing, because it began as extortion and it has become character assassination," Bobby Deen said.

High court avoids larger ruling on university's affirmative action admissions policy
The Supreme Court has handed down a decision on affirmative action.
June 24th, 2013
10:46 AM ET

High court avoids larger ruling on university's affirmative action admissions policy

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court side-stepped a sweeping decision on the use of race-conscious school admission policies, ruling Monday on the criteria at the University of Texas and whether it violates the equal protection rights of some white applicants.

The justices threw the case back to the lower courts for further review.

The court affirmed the use of race in the admissions process, but makes it harder for institutions to use such policies to achieve diversity. The 7-1 decision from the court avoids the larger constitutional issues.

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June 24th, 2013
09:13 AM ET

The Zimmerman trial: What you need to know

By HLNTV.com Staff

(CNN) - A neighborhood watch captain accused of killing an unarmed teen goes on trial Monday, in a case that sparked fresh debate about race relations and gun laws.

George Zimmerman is accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.

Martin was black, and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

In a CNN poll released Monday morning, 62% of respondents say the charges against Zimmerman are probably or definitely true.

Opening statements begin Monday and are expected to last several hours.

A jury of six women will decide Zimmerman's fate, which has already drawn some scrutiny from the public about whether he will get a fair trial.

Martin's parents will be in the courtroom, and are expected to deliver a statement before the proceedings begin.

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June 21st, 2013
05:38 PM ET

Paula Deen apologizes, loses Food Network show

By Chelsea J. Carter and Carolyn Sung, CNN

(CNN) - Celebrity chef Paula Deen's contract with The Food Network will not be renewed, the network said Friday, the latest fallout over revelations this week that she admitted to using a racial epithet in the past.

Deen's contract with The Food Network, which airs three shows featuring the chef, expires at the end of the month, the network said.

The Food Network's announcement followed reports earlier this week that Deen acknowledged in a lawsuit deposition to using the "N word," but denied telling racial jokes.

It also came the same day that Deen apologized in video statements posted online for "the wrong that I've done."

"I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done," Deen said in the video statement. "I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners, I beg for your forgiveness."

What do you think Paula Deen should do now? Are there meaningful ways – words or actions – to recover from racism? How are they different if the person is high-profile, like Deen?

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and check the latest updates on the story here.

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June 21st, 2013
10:57 AM ET

'Racial Justice Act' repealed in North Carolina

By Matt Smith, CNN

(CNN) - North Carolina's governor says he agreed to repeal a law that allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences on racial grounds because it effectively banned capital punishment in the state.

North Carolina legislators barred death sentences "sought or obtained on the basis of race" in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

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Southern TV chef Paula Deen
June 19th, 2013
07:22 PM ET

Celeb chef Paula Deen admits using 'N' word

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) - Celebrity chef Paula Deen denies she's ever told racial jokes, but she did acknowledge using the "N" word, according to her deposition in a lawsuit.

A former manager at Deen's restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, is suing her and her brother for sexual and racial harassment.

LIsa T. Jackson's lawsuit alleges that Deen and Bubba Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at Deen's Lady & Sons and Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House eateries in Savannah.

Deen's lawyer called the allegations false.

"Contrary to media reports, Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable," her lawyer, Bill Franklin said. "She is looking forward to her day in court."

Deen was questioned by Jackson's lawyers in May and the deposition was just filed with the court.

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JFK to nation: 'This nation will not be fully free, until all its citizens are free'
June 11th, 2013
06:31 PM ET

JFK to nation: 'This nation will not be fully free, until all its citizens are free'

By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

(CNN) - Fifty years ago, Alabama Gov. George Wallace defiantly stood in front of the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium to prevent black students from enrolling.

The then newly elected governor had famously declared "segregation now, segregation tomorrow,  segregation forever" in his inauguration speech.  His "stand in the schoolhouse door" brought him national attention.

It took  the National Guard, federal marshals and an attorney general to persuade the governor to allow Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood to enter.

It was not the first time Americans saw the drama of the civil rights movement unfold before their eyes. Earlier that spring, images of police attacking peaceful civil rights demonstrators with dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Alabama, flashed across the evening news.  The previous year, riots were quelled with federal troops after the admission of James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi.

Wallace later rescinded his views, but the incidents of the time prompted President John F. Kennedy to address the nation in a historic televised address about civil rights.

“Now the time has come for this nation to fulfill its promise,” President Kennedy said in that address. ‘The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.”

Read and see what he told the nation that evening:

Read the full transcript of his speech below:

Good evening my fellow citizens:

This afternoon, following a series of threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama. That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro.

That they were admitted peacefully on the campus is due in good measure to the conduct of the students of the University of Alabama, who met their responsibilities in a constructive way.

I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. And when Americans are sent to Vietnam or West Berlin, we do not ask for whites only. It ought to be possible, therefore, for American students of any color to attend any public institution they select without having to be backed up by troops.

It ought to be possible for American consumers of any color to receive equal service in places of public accommodation, such as hotels and restaurants and theaters and retail stores, without being forced to resort to demonstrations in the street, and it ought to be possible for American citizens of any color to register to vote in a free election without interference or fear of reprisal.

It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated. But this is not the case.

The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the nation in which he is born, has about one-half as much chance of completing a high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day, one-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional man, twice as much chance of becoming unemployed, about one-seventh as much chance of earning $10,000 a year, a life expectancy which is seven years shorter, and the prospects of earning only half as much.

This is not a sectional issue. Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every state of the union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety. Nor is this a partisan issue. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. This is not even a legal or legislative issue alone. It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets, and new laws are needed at every level, but law alone cannot make men see right.

We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.

The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?

One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettos, no master race except with respect to Negroes?

Now the time has come for this nation to fulfill its promise. The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.

The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is time to act in the Congress, in your state and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.

It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this is a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the fact that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.

Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality.

Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law. The federal judiciary has upheld that proposition in the conduct of its affairs, including the employment of federal personnel, the use of federal facilities, and the sale of federally financed housing.

But there are other necessary measures which only the Congress can provide, and they must be provided at this session. The old code of equity law under which we live commands for every wrong a remedy, but in too many communities, in too many parts of the country, wrongs are inflicted on Negro citizens and there are no remedies at law. Unless the Congress acts, their only remedy is in the street.

I am, therefore, asking the Congress to enact legislation giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public–hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments.

This seems to me to be an elementary right. Its denial is an arbitrary indignity that no American in 1963 should have to endure, but many do.

I have recently met with scores of business leaders urging them to take voluntary action to end this discrimination and I have been encouraged by their response, and in the last two weeks over 75 cities have seen progress made in desegregating these kinds of facilities. But many are unwilling to act alone, and for this reason, nationwide legislation is needed if we are to move this problem from the streets to the courts.

I am also asking the Congress to authorize the federal government to participate more fully in lawsuits designed to end segregation in public education. We have succeeded in persuading many districts to desegregate voluntarily. Dozens have admitted Negroes without violence. Today a Negro is attending a state-supported institution in every one of our 50 states, but the pace is very slow.

Too many Negro children entering segregated grade schools at the time of the Supreme Court's decision nine years ago will enter segregated high schools this fall, having suffered a loss which can never be restored. The lack of an adequate education denies the Negro a chance to get a decent job.

The orderly implementation of the Supreme Court decision, therefore, cannot be left solely to those who may not have the economic resources to carry the legal action or who may be subject to harassment.

Other features will also be requested, including greater protection for the right to vote. But legislation, I repeat, cannot solve this problem alone. It must be solved in the homes of every American in every community across our country.

In this respect I want to pay tribute to those citizens North and South who have been working in their communities to make life better for all. They are acting not out of a sense of legal duty but out of a sense of human decency.

Like our soldiers and sailors in all parts of the world they are meeting freedom's challenge on the firing line, and I salute them for their honor and their courage.

My fellow Americans, this is a problem which faces us all–in every city of the North as well as the South. Today there are Negroes unemployed, two or three times as many compared to whites, inadequate in education, moving into the large cities, unable to find work, young people particularly out of work without hope, denied equal rights, denied the opportunity to eat at a restaurant or lunch counter or go to a movie theater, denied the right to a decent education, denied almost today the right to attend a state university even though qualified. It seems to me that these are matters which concern us all, not merely presidents or congressmen or governors, but every citizen of the United States.

This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents.

We cannot say to 10% of the population that you can't have that right; that your children cannot have the chance to develop whatever talents they have; that the only way that they are going to get their rights is to go into the streets and demonstrate. I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.

Therefore, I am asking for your help in making it easier for us to move ahead and to provide the kind of equality of treatment which we would want ourselves; to give a chance for every child to be educated to the limit of his talents.

As I have said before, not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or an equal motivation, but they should have an equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.

We have a right to expect that the Negro community will be responsible, will uphold the law, but they have a right to expect that the law will be fair, that the Constitution will be color-blind, as Justice Harlan said at the turn of the century.

This is what we are talking about and this is a matter which concerns this country and what it stands for, and in meeting it I ask the support of all our citizens.

Thank you very much.

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