We don't live in a culture that embraces ritual sacrifice as a cultural, religious or social norm. But we do live in a culture where we enjoy seeing the downfall of decade-long empires crumble in mere days.
A narrative started by Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan has continued with the latest person to be scrutinized under our "culture of the crumble" -- Paula Deen. Deen's admission of using inappropriate racist language has led to several high-profile brands, most notable among them Smithfield Ham and the Food Network, to sever ties with her. The truth is, though, that people -- especially Americans -- need people like Deen to be sacrificed to avoid confronting our own racism.
Let's start here: Racism is a pervasive cultural and institutional construct that pervades everything we say and do. To grow up in a racist culture like our own, and to somehow believe one has "evaded" being influenced by racism, is ignorance to the truth of racism. Racism is a silent, invisible killer that diffuses itself through our entire cultural and social upbringing so that it is as seamlessly integrated into our lives as the contents of a teabag into hot water. Rather than attempting to ignore one's racist upbringing, it’s much better to confront and admit how racism has tainted your own life than try to abdicate falsely all the inherited racism.