Our recent posts about how courts are treating the use of the “N-word” in the workplace garnered a slew of reader comments, especially in various LinkedIn legal and HR groups. The discussion now has a celebrity symbol: Paula Deen.
The employment discrimination lawsuit against this TV food personality and restauranteur has, for us, rekindled the discussion of the “N-word,” which she allegedly used in her restaurants, along with other racial epithets, racist jokes and pornography on office computers.
As the New York Times notes, “The strong reaction to Ms. Deen’s pickle reflects a simple truth: race remains one of the most difficult conversations to have in America. And here [Savannah], where antiseptic nostalgia for the antebellum South is not uncommon, the conversation is even more complex.”
One supporter of Ms. Deen seemingly excused her language and planned to boycott the TV network that fired her because “Everybody in the South over 60 used the N-word at some time or the other in the past.”