I'm going under the assumption you know the story, even peripherally. I am not justifying any use of the derogatory language she chose to use, but I am certain that there are certain parts of culture and upbringing that include language and philosophies that are instilled in us. Now Ms. Deen is a 66 year old woman and has been on television and in the public eye for more than a decade, even if she herself is not educated enough (not saying she isn't), there must be enough people around her that should be coaching her public persona.
Again, I am not condoning anything she said or did, nor am I implying that it okay to do what she did but be sure it stays hidden - but I think that this particular series of events had deteriorated exponentially because of a real lack of understanding and ability to communicate effectively; a bigger surprise considering her windfall came from being given the opportunity to communicate.
I don't believe Paula Deen has been the only person, even the only "celebrity" who has made racist remarks. While the words are severe, and damaging, that is only true because when given meaning, they become hurtful and derogatory to people, cultures, human beings. What I don't know from any of this is how Paula Deen really feels. It may be that her upbringing in the south when she was raised instilled racism into her, the thing is, if that's true, the society she was raised in didn't consider themselves racist even if they were and as such, those raised with those poor values and judgements are not consciously racist. I know, that does not make any of this right, but I do think this is a bigger problem not just in this country, but in the world; the best examples we see are in the radical acts of terrorism that sadly have become so commonplace.
I think instead of focusing on Ms. Deen specifically, we as a human race need to understand the nature of the greater problem and start with education and finding some way to bridge that cultural gap across all cultures and instill in all humans everywhere that people are people.