The ‘N word’ on trial

A federal jury has ruled that the “N word” is offensive no matter who says it.

A federal jury in New York found the use of the word in the workplace is never acceptable, even when used between black coworkers and even when it’s intended to denote “friendship or endearment.” To emphasize its point, the jury today awarded a woman $30,000 in punitive damages. That’s in addition to $250,000 the jury had already awarded in compensatory damages.

Rob Carmona, Brandi Johnson’s boss, unleashed a lengthy tirade filled with racial slurs. But he claimed the word, when used by an African- American, is different than when uttered by a white person.

“That means my boy, I love him, or whatever,” he said.

“When you use the word nigger to an African-American, no matter how many alternative definitions that you may try to substitute with the word nigger, that is no different than calling a Hispanic by the worst possible word you can call a Hispanic, calling a homosexual male the worst possible word that you can call a homosexual male,” Johnson’s attorney told jurors.

  • MrE85

    I once worked in a department where I was the only white guy, and I recall a co-worker using that word to describe me. He didn’t think anything of it, but I never forgot it.