CHICAGO (AP) — Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson says he’s agreed to help celebrity chef Paula Deen try to make amends for her past use of a racial slur, saying she shouldn’t become a “sacrificial lamb” over the issue of racial intolerance.

Jackson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Deen called him this week, and they discussed how she might recover.

Jackson says if Deen is willing to acknowledge mistakes and make changes, “she should be reclaimed rather than destroyed.”

Jackson says he’s more troubled by racial disparities in jobs, lending, health care, business opportunities and the criminal justice system.

Her admission of using the slur first came in a lawsuit deposition. It later cost her an endorsement deal with Smithfield Foods and her job with the Food Network.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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