In a case that gave a legal airing to the debate over use of the N-word among blacks, a federal jury has rejected a black manager’s argument that it was a term of love and endearment when he aimed it at black employee.
Jurors awarded $30,000 in punitive damages Tuesday after finding last week that the manager’s four-minute rant was hostile and discriminatory, and awarding $250,000 in compensatory damages.
(Employers of mine: call me whatever you like for four minutes, as long as you pay me $280,000 afterwards!)
Popehat has an amusing post mocking how news outlets have turned this jury into an appellate court or legislature, setting blanket rules for the world on how the n-word can be used. Here’s an example of the kind of lede mocked by Popehat:
A federal jury has rejected an argument that the use of the N-word among blacks can be a culturally acceptable term of love and endearment, ruling instead that its use in the workplace is hostile and discriminatory no matter what.
The reason these stories are laughably wrong is the same reason it is difficult to have an opinion on this verdict without seeing the evidence: the jury’s determination is fact-specific, based on facts and circumstances not available to us.
But lack of specifics never prevented blog commenters from having an opinion! So opine away.
(I joke, of course, but there is a legitimate debate that can be had about the topic in general.)