Federal jury rules black people can’t call each other the “n-word” in the workplace

Posted by: ST on September 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

Via the New York Daily News:

A Manhattan jury awarded $280,000 to a black woman who was repeatedly called the N-word by her boss — who’s also black, and claimed he used the vile epithet as an endearing term.

“My voice was heard today,” Brandi Johnson said Tuesday, after the eight-person federal jury awarded her $30,000 in punitive damages on top of the $250,000 it had already ordered STRIVE and its founder, Rob Carmona, to pay her in the discrimination case.

Carmona’s voice was also heard by the jury — on a damning tape recording Johnson had made of her boss chewing her out in March 2012.

In the tape, Carmona repeatedly uses the racial slur against the 38-year-old single mother of two and a co-worker.

“I’m not saying, using the term ‘n—–’ derogatory, ’cause sometimes it’s good to know when to act like a n—–. But y’all act like n—–s all the time,” Carmona said.

When Johnson told her boss she was offended by his language, he said, “You can be offended, but it’s true.”

“You and her act like n—–s. And n—–s let their feelings rule them,” he said.

Carmona didn’t dispute making the comments, but maintained that he was doling out “tough love.”

He testified that he was trying to tell Johnson she was “too emotional,” wrapped up in “the negative aspects of human nature.”

Carmona, who is black and of Puerto Rican descent, said the word has “multiple contexts” in the black and Latino communities, and not all of them bad.

He said the word can sometimes be used to convey love, and used the example of someone saying, “This is my n—-.”

“That means my boy, I love him, or whatever,” Carmona said. Asked if he meant to indicate love when he called Johnson the word, he said, “Yes, I did.”


Johnson says she was fired from her job after talking to higher ups about how she was talked to, and after complaining about the alleged sexual harassment of a STRIVE graduate.

This is interesting, considering a case of this nature involving a white manager calling a black employee the “n” word would be a no-brainer.  This jury, at least, sees no difference in black on black use of it versus white on black.

Your thoughts?


Just say ”no” to the n-word … period. Full stop.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6 Responses to “Federal jury rules black people can’t call each other the “n-word” in the workplace”


  1. Tibby says:

    It’s an ugly word, with an ugly history. I think it makes perfect sense that it not be used in the workplace…of course, you should use it elsewhere either. No matter what your color, age, or ethnicity. So that nasty rap? Yeah, you should quit using it too.:”>

  2. Phineas says:

    There is a difference in usage depending on user and context, but I doubt Carmona meant it in a loving, life-coach kind of way. His denial is about as credible as Obama saying he didn’t draw that red line… 8-|

  3. ALman says:

    I think that if marriage can be redefined to include same-sex couples, then I ought to be able to say whatever I want and have it mean whatever I want. In fact, I think we all ought to have that right. Welcome to the Tower of Babel!

  4. Steve Skubinna says:

    If the word is taboo, then it’s damn well taboo. Under all circumstances. Regardless of who says it. Maybe this is a tiny chip in the double standard of modern racial theory.

  5. If it is not on their birth certificate, do not call them that. That really limits the discussion. In some states, they do not even list whether a birth is legitimate or not anymore, taking “bastard” out of the discussion. Right?

  6. Carlos says:

    Now that the PC police have the “nothings” (a.k.a., “moderates”) completely cowed, it figures their first target from their own victim groups is going to be the largest and most vocal.

    BTW, what do Big Al and the Rev have to say about this?

    Silence from them, you say? Man, talk about conflicted! Who do they run with, their Massas or their people? Will this ban in the workplace affect all the rap garbage Hollyweird dumps on us? And when will it become illegal for blacks, in the privacy of their own homes, to use that particular word?

    Lots of questions, eh?