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We also knew the moral argument against gay marriage was being kicked to the curb when then-D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty strode into a church, cocky as all get out, to sign the D.C. Religious Freedom And Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2009.

The rules aren’t what they used to be.

Look at cook extraordinaire Paula Deen.

Hardly a Martha Stewart wannabe, Ms. Deen is a cook who found a foodie niche — Southern-style cooking, for all “y’all” — and jumped to the front of the line with her high-calorie, easy-to-make dishes that we often refer to as comfort food, or food for the soul you might say.

She started cooking as a way to pass time, because that was what she knew.

She used butter, because that was what she knew.

She used her family’s recipes, because that was what she knew.

She used the “N” word, because that was what she knew.

A baby boomer reared in Albany, Ga. — or “Allbenny,” as another Georgia peach, my mom, pronounces it — Ms. Deen didn’t change even when the laws and times did.

What would you have expected her to say? Negro?

Does that make her a racist?

No — but we’ll probably force her to make amends because of what happened in the past.

But, see, that’s what the Supreme Court said regarding the Voting Rights Act: Don’t judge states based on a history of past discrimination, when the “N” was as commonplace among conversations as seersucker, “colored” drinking fountains and separate-but-equal schoolhouses.

It’s not my place to defend Ms. Deen, yet looking forward, I would like to see her in action this November at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show.

If you’re still steaming about the direction America is headed, take a deep breath, count to 10 and think.

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