Should Use of the N-Word Be Illegal?

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  • If you’re black and angry at another black person on your job, please don’t shout the N-word – it could become illegal.

    The N-word is used all over the country by black folks were who mad, loving or joking. But now, a New York federal jury court has weighed in to say use of the N-word in the workplace is offensive and discriminatory — even when an African American uses the N-word to another African American.

    So when you go to work tomorrow, think about this: In the heat of an argument, if you call another African American the N-word, you could be sued and wind up in court.

    Is it worth it? And shouldn’t black folks resist calling each other the N-word anyway?

    A Manhattan panel rejected arguments from lawyers for a black Harlem employment-agency boss that it was right for him to use the hateful slur — and ordered him and his company to pay $280,000 to a black female worker who was subjected to his tirade.

    Brandie Johnson, a black single mother, won her suit against STRIVE East Harlem President Rob Carmona, 61, for repeated verbal abuse — including a March 2012 rant she caught on tape.

    “I was offended. I was hurt. I felt degraded. I felt disrespected. I was embarrassed,” Johnson, 38, testified about what her lawyer called a “four-minute n—-r tirade” over her on-the-job conduct and attire.

    “Both of you are n—-rs . . . You all act like n—-rs all the time . . . and n—-rs let their feelings rule them,” Carmona said in an outburst that targeted Johnson and an unidentified worker.

    Her lawyer, Marjorie M. Sharpe, told the jury — which consisted of eight whites, one black and one other dark-skinned man — that the pair’s race made no difference.

    “When you use the word n—-r to an African American, no matter how many alternative definitions that you may try to substitute with the word n—-r, 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,” Sharpe said in her closing argument.

    Clearly, the death of the N-word has been greatly exaggerated.

    In 2009, thousands gathered in Detroit to participate in the NAACP’s funeral and burial for the “N” word.  A horse drawn carriage carried a wooden coffin that adorned black roses and a ribbon with the word “nigga” displayed.

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