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Tue Sep 3, 2013, 09:52 AM

NY case puts N-word use among blacks on trial

Source: AP

NEW YORK (AP) A federal jury has rejected the argument that use of the N-word among blacks can be a culturally acceptable term of love and endearment, deciding its use in the workplace is hostile and discriminatory no matter what.

Jurors last week awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to a black employment agency worker who was the target of an N-word-laced rant by her black boss, and they return to a Manhattan federal court Tuesday to decide on punitive damages.

The case against Rob Carmona and the employment agency he founded, STRIVE East Harlem, gave legal airing to what some see as a complex double standard surrounding the word: It's a degrading slur when uttered by whites but can be used at times with impunity among blacks.

But 38-year-old Brandi Johnson told jurors that being black didn't make it any less hurtful to be the target of what her attorney called Carmona's "four-minute nigger tirade" about inappropriate workplace attire and unprofessional behavior.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/NY-case-puts-N-word-use-among-blacks-on-trial-4782124.php?cmpid=hpts

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Reply NY case puts N-word use among blacks on trial (Original post)
TexasTowelie Sep 2013 OP
PatrynXX Sep 2013 #1
JohnnyRingo Sep 2013 #2
Iggo Sep 2013 #3
Tom Ripley Sep 2013 #11
valerief Sep 2013 #4
spooky3 Sep 2013 #7
valerief Sep 2013 #9
spooky3 Sep 2013 #22
JohnnyRingo Sep 2013 #10
valerief Sep 2013 #12
spooky3 Sep 2013 #23
valerief Sep 2013 #24
mpcamb Sep 2013 #25
valerief Sep 2013 #26
bunnies Sep 2013 #16
JustAnotherGen Sep 2013 #5
Supersedeas Sep 2013 #32
JustAnotherGen Sep 2013 #33
cthulu2016 Sep 2013 #6
markpkessinger Sep 2013 #18
heaven05 Sep 2013 #8
dickthegrouch Sep 2013 #13
enlightenment Sep 2013 #14
valerief Sep 2013 #15
enlightenment Sep 2013 #17
valerief Sep 2013 #19
enlightenment Sep 2013 #29
valerief Sep 2013 #30
enlightenment Sep 2013 #31
markpkessinger Sep 2013 #20
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #21
Niceguy1 Sep 2013 #27
Manifestor_of_Light Sep 2013 #28
JustAnotherGen Sep 2013 #34
Manifestor_of_Light Sep 2013 #36
marshall Sep 2013 #35

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:15 AM

1. really need to get rid of the entire term

among certain blacks saying Nword and Nigger is the same thing. and I've said this before.. I said the foul word to make a point. I've been called a Wigger in the mid to late 90's for liking Dominique Dawes from a fellow Gymnastics fan from very southern Texas. Hardly knew what that meant.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:31 AM

2. Why can't I call women the "C word"?

After all, Lisa Lampanelli uses it on every album she records, so that must mean all women call each other that name. That is the same reason racists use to justify their desire to make the word nigger a part of their regular radio broadcasts and daily discussion.

The people who seek approval don't want this social permission in a quest for equality, they just can't think of a word that better describes their abject hatred for an entire race. Go call Ann Coulter a cunt to her face and see if she sits politely on her hands.

Sure Lampanelli is shock humor, and African Americans sometimes refer to each other as niggas, but no white person has ever used that word in a complimentary fashion, and never will. Just like cunt, it's meant to demean and abase, nothing more. Such language is a backhand to the face or a whip across the back, depending on who wields it.

Besides, everyone has the right to use any words they want, but no one can cry foul when society strikes back. Limbaugh can call Obama a nigga and Hillary a cunt on the radio, we all know he wants to, but he knows deep down it would end his career.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:48 AM

3. Yep.

And the question you need to fire right back at them is "Why do you want to?"

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Response to Iggo (Reply #3)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:25 PM

11. +1000

 

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:55 AM

4. You can use it. I don't care and I'm a woman. I think giving these words ALL THIS POWER

is a right wing diversionary tactic from real issues.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:12 AM

7. I disagree that using it as he describes would reduce the power, because we didn't give the words

power in the first place. The culture did and does. The harm done by trying to change the meaning of hate words on an individual basis is enormous to those people targeted by the words who will understand the culturally shared meaning they have and it is not clear to me that there are many benefits.

Refraining from using these words - and better yet, changing the motivations to spew hate speech - offers more potential for good.

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Response to spooky3 (Reply #7)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:20 PM

9. We ARE the culture. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #9)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:08 PM

22. One individual at a time is not the culture.

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:21 PM

10. I'm not going to argue that point with you...

My GF uses it sometimes when another woman really pisses her off. I know she's not trying to demean all of womanhood, she's just using it to express extreme displeasure with someone in particular. It may be inarticulate, but it gets her point across.

I think it's an example of how a word can be used somewhat harmlessly by some. but are off limits to others, because if I even casually called her a cunt, even with a smile on my face, I'd unleash enough nuclear energy from that five foot two reactor to power a small town for a week.

It's telling that there is no word that is equally offensive to a white man, probably because they have never in history been discriminated against for the sole reason of being one.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:25 PM

12. We give the words that power. We can take it away. I choose to take it away.

I don't like magic and I don't like magic words. Giving these words this power makes them magic words. In fact, it makes them so magic that REAL ISSUES can be diverted by attacker the user for using a magic word.

People are starving and dying and we worry about magic words. These diversions only serve the very rich, not us.

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Response to valerief (Reply #12)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:10 PM

23. So why are you arguing that people should

Spend energy trying to change the meaning of words?

Better they simply stop using words to harm others and use their time and energy to make change that matters.

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Response to spooky3 (Reply #23)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:23 PM

24. Stop making words magic is a better long-term solution. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:41 PM

25. I agree

That the winners are the right wing when lots of air and energy get taken up.
The real bread and butter issues are removed from prominence.

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Response to mpcamb (Reply #25)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:46 PM

26. Whoa! I thought I was a lone voice in the wilderness on this issue! Thanks.

Re the "N" word: the issue is oppression, lack of opportunity, and reparations, not a friggin' single stupid word. I would guess most black people agree. But it serves the "divide and conquer" ruling class to divert attention to "magic" words.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:55 PM

16. "no white person has ever used that word in a complimentary fashion, and never will"

 

Untrue. We have a neighbor, a late 20's white professional, who calls his best friends "niggas" regardless of their race. Dont get me wrong, Im not saying that he should, only that he does.

adding: also, my significant other and I throw around the word cunt jokingly all the time. People who whip it out to be fantastically hurtful would be met with a heaping pile of mocking. Oh no! Not the "C" word!

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:57 AM

5. I always wonder why

Non blacks are so anxious to use that word OR conversely - are but willing to outright outlaw it as a way to eradicate it's use and meaning from American History. . . now that black rappers make millions and millions of dollars off of it. I wonder why that is?

Or why SOME white folks are okay with black folks (good ole corny west) calling everyone from Melissa Harris-Perry right on up to President Obama House Negros.

Hmm - that's okay in some 'parts' and HE gets a free pass and worship . . . yet let a black person call a black person . . . or make money off of it and . . .

And well - we know the rest.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 06:05 AM

32. another way of saying that a free pass depends on context

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Response to Supersedeas (Reply #32)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 06:51 AM

33. It's become black or white

On the N Word though. From SOME white liberals even right here at DU - people who make money off a word used AGAINST them are in the wrong. The word must be eradicated. That's what I read over the summer.

But house negroes - in the same context (making money of a word used against blacks) is okay.

If someone who is considered radical refers to Corny that way - all hell is going to break loose at DU. . Watch him be protected.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 10:59 AM

6. A speaker's race does not excuse a supervisor lecturing

black employees about how not to act like "niggers."

We are talk about a work environment, not what is acceptable in stand-up or music or casual talk between friends.

I have no problem with, "I want to fuck you like an animal," as a Nine Inch Nails song lyric. I would have significant problem with that same phrase being part of an employer dressing down a female employee.



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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #6)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:05 PM

18. Clearly and succinctly put!

Thank you.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:14 AM

8. I've always

 

had a problem with that word. This word, when said with racist intent, drips virulent hate on any person on the receiving end of this vituperation. It was meant to degrade, dehumanize and, if I may, demonize a certain segment of the populace of a racist society and culture. No matter how common it's usage is among black people no amount of "love and endearment", at least in my understanding of the definition, can be found. Personally, I just ask what ever happened to two words I used and use. They are, brother and sister. These two words epitomized to me the healing that had to take place in the black community to counteract the self hate taught to black people by the intentional hate of white people in using this word to describe another human being. I postulate that black on black crime is a holdover of the self hate felt because of the racism directed, for generations, at black people because of the segregation caused by Jim Crow laws and the hate and fear generated by Jim Crow culture. The use of this word is common now among all ages of black people and it drives me crazy. Yes, it started as an attempt to show the racist users of this word that this word has no power against black people. Yet the word, spiritually, has immense hate attached to it and by using it, I feel, the hate is perpetuated. Yet it still managed to creep into very common usage in black media, music and such and is de rigueur now. Brandi is a sensitive and feeling human being and in the scenario described above I can see and feel how hurtful that tirade must have been to her no matter the reason for it. Having grown up feeling the hate meant when that word was used to describe another human being, it was always jolting. I say it must now be purged however possible from common everyday usage. Don't forget the hate intended by it's usage by a racist culture and just stop using it in conversations. I have, long ago, and will never forget it's origins in this country. The hate of this word must be purged from our souls and culture. Just my take on this OP and that word.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:04 PM

13. We've had exactly the same problem with "Queer"

Some proudly trying to erase the power by using it within the community, and it never being acceptable for unknown or untrusted people to use it.

They are all offensive to someone and, for that reason, have to be used with extreme care by everyone.

I was forbidden to swear as a child. I rarely swear as an adult but when I do, those who know me can be absolutely certain that I'm extremely angry about the topic at hand. All it takes is self restraint, something many americans do not seem to feel is necessary very often.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:13 PM

14. If Mr. Carmona has a Masters degree

then he is presumably educated enough to realize that words have power - and his justifications are meaningless. You don't dress down an employee by using street slang. Ever.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #14)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:39 PM

15. A single word should not have power. Strings of words--words in context--

are what should have power. A single word with power is just a magic word, and we shouldn't believe in magic.

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Response to valerief (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 01:57 PM

17. True enough.

However, the context in which he was using the word in question gave it the power to shame and disparage. The idea is not that a word in and of itself is powerful, but that we always realize that we give them power by how we choose to use them.

Mr Carmona is either a fool or a knave. Given that he raised himself from a difficult beginning, which suggests that he has a fair amount of innate intelligence and a certain understanding of how things operate, my vote is on knave - not fool.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #17)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:27 PM

19. Then why is the discussion about a single word that than the string of words?

That's my beef with the PC bullshit. I don't want hurt people's feelings but I don't want individual words to have magical powers. It makes me feel like I'm seven years old.

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Response to valerief (Reply #19)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 07:14 PM

29. Because the words around that single word

gave it the context that "powered" the word.

Come on valerief - I get what you're saying, but let's face it. The guy used the word - in the context of a dressing down - to shame the woman. He didn't use it because he "loves" her, and he is smart enough to know that some language is inappropriate in a business context.

I frankly don't give a rat's hind end what a kind of slang people use toward each other in a social setting. I don't like hearing some of it and I don't think it's particularly smart when people use that language in settings where other people - people outside their group - are obliged to listen to it (short of sticking their fingers in their ears or leaving the vicinity), but if friends want to call other friends names, who am I to tell them they shouldn't?

I do care when an employer uses inappropriate language in conversation - particularly "official" conversation - with an employee.

That's not giving words "magical" powers. That is accepting that words have meaning - and that the meaning can have power.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #29)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:08 PM

30. I'm not talking about this incident. I'm talking about the right wing tactic of

political correctness to divert discussion from real issues. There are polite words and impolite words, but this single word power is to the point of it being magical. And all these words I can't even list because of their magical powers (although I can state their first letters, like we're playing some kid's game). That's their magical power.

When I was a kid, there were words I couldn't say. They were swear words. I didn't understand their magical power then, and I don't now. Today, many of those swear words have lost their magical power and have been replaced by those say-first-letter-only words.

An employer giving an unprofessional and inappropriate rant to an employee should be dealt with legally, of course. But it should be the unprofessional and inappropriate rant, not the magical word.

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Response to valerief (Reply #30)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:50 PM

31. Well, then, we were

apparently two trains passing . . . because I was talking about the incident. Sorry for the confusion.

Again, I don't disagree with you. I'm generally not bothered by words, myself, but I am sensitive to the fact that many are - for reasons both sound and, well, not so sound. I've found it easier when in public conversation to simply avoid using words that trigger people for whatever reason - which I admit is becoming increasingly difficult. Fortunately, the English language is chock full of words, so I can usually find my way around whatever minefield has been laid while I wasn't paying attention.

Because the language is so rich, I've never found it terribly necessary to resort to too many vulgarities - although certain topics can set me off on a tirade that would (as they used to say) make a longshoresman blush. My mouth is far from virginal in that regard.

I try not to do that in public, however - not because I think the words are magic, but because I know that some people do find them offensive. I see no reason to offend people. I don't feel like I live in a bubble of insularity where my actions have no impact on anyone but myself. I do believe that I am part of society and choose not to subscribe to the "I don't care what you think" mentality. And no, valerief - I am not suggesting that you do. I am just explaining my perspective . . . or trying to, anyway.



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Response to valerief (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 02:34 PM

20. The N-Word DOES have a context that give it both meaning and power. . .

. . . a cultural and historical context.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #20)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 04:02 PM

21. It surely does. To pretend otherwise is absurd, and obnoxious. Probably deeply ignorant, as well.

Making a choice whether or not to use it, when the word has been used as a weapon against an entire race of people, used with deepest hatred attached to brutality of the most vulgar, violent degree, is bizarre.

It concerns no one but the ones who had to bear it so very, very long. NO one else, regardless of how they try to make themselves the center of attention in deciding its current and future use.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 06:04 PM

27. hope she takes him to the cleaners

Should have known better

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 06:29 PM

28. I have been lectured on DU

to not use "cracker" and "redneck" because they are "racist".


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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 06:53 AM

34. Fair point

I don't use those words - so I have not been lectured - but I imagine the same people who lectured you would lecture me if I used a derogatory terminology agaist Cornel West - even though he uses them.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #34)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 11:54 AM

36. What about "Saltine-American"???????

Is that acceptable???

I found that in a comment thread on FARK.

How many adjectives do I have to string together to substitute for "redneck"???

The Jerry Jeff Walker song (written by Ray Wylie Hubbard) Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother, is a pretty good sociological observation:

Up against the wall, redneck mother
mother who has raised her son so well
He's thirty-four and drinkin' in a honky-tonk
Kickin' hippies' asses and raisin' hell.

Yeah, I'm so old I remember the "Viva Terlingua" vinyl from which the Austin City Limits theme song came from, London Homesick Blues.
That's when I found out that Texas has "people" and "women"--"the friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen".

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 11:29 AM

35. I tried in vain to curtail the use of that word when I was teaching middle school

I taught at a school that was 85% African American, and at times I felt like I was the only person who wasn't using the word. Girls used the term when calling their boyfriends (and were in turn called bitches). The librarian used the term to quieten noisy students in the library. Parents used the term in reference to their children during conferences. The term was shouted at opponents during sporting events. Even the principal used the term when he got angry. I found that all I could do was control my own use of the term, and gave up trying to monitor how others used it. And then I became numb to its use, and I found that I didn't really hear it anymore, and it didn't bother me.

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