The Nth Degree: Examining Intra-Racial Use of the N-Word in Employment Discrimination Cases
64 DePaul Law Review 65 (2015)
48 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017
Date Written: 2015
Although strikingly different opinions on use of the N-word have provoked much debate, the conclusions reached in Johnson and Weatherly — that intraracial use of the N-word can create a racially hostile work environment — are correct because they comport with the longstanding legal recognition of intraracial, same-sex, and third-party associative employment discrimination. The shameful historical legacy of the N-word underscores the extent to which a reasonable person of any race would likely object to its use at the workplace, even if the speaker is black. Furthermore, social science research indicates that black individuals’ implicit antiblack biases may lead to ill-intended use of the N-word against other blacks. Finally, applying the same objective standard to intraracial and interracial use of the Nword, regardless of the speaker’s intent, promotes fairness, consistency, and judicial efficiency.
Keywords: Intraracial employment discrimination
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