Brazoria, Texas Proposal To Ban the Use of "Nigger" as a Fighting Word Withdrawn:

The Facts reports. Thanks to commenter Texas Lawyer and reader John Hackathorn for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Brazoria, Texas Proposal To Ban the Use of "Nigger" as a Fighting Word Withdrawn:
  2. Proposed Brazoria, Texas Ordinance Banning Use of "Nigger" as a Fighting Word:
Jake (Guest):
Too bad, I was looking forward to another entertaining district court case out of Brazoria...
1.26.2007 12:29pm
Houston Lawyer:
I saw the local news coverage for the meeting at which the mayor's proposal was considered yesterday. They had to move the meeting outside because of the number of people who attended. People of every color and persuasion spoke against the ordinance and it was clear the the mayor was pretty much standing on his own. Faced with this revolt, he wisely pulled the measure.
1.26.2007 12:56pm
Hans Bader (mail):
The courts have ruled that the word nigger is protected by the First Amendment in certain contexts.

In Hardy v. Jefferson Community College (6th Cir. 2001), a federal appeals court said that an instructor's use of the N-word was protected when it was used to discuss race relations and how black people had been mistreated in the past. The court reinstated an instructor who was terminated for using the word.

Nevertheless, the EEOC's Chairwoman erroneously thinks she has the power to bring racial harassment suits to entirely ban the word, even if the employees using the word are themselves minorities, and are not using it to attack other employees.

She wrote a January 4 letter to Time Magazine saying that the EEOC would continue bringing lawsuits against employers whose employees use the word. Her letter criticized black commentator John Ridley for saying that the N-word has its uses.

Perhaps the EEOC should be sued for First Amendment violations the way the Department of Housing and Urban Development was in White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 2000), when its civil-rights officials sought to ban supposedly bigoted comments in opposition to housing projects for the disabled as a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The court stripped those officials of qualified immunity and held that they could be sued individually for emotional-distress and punitive damages.

A link to the EEOC Chairwoman's remarkably arrogant letter to the editor can be found in my Open Market blog post at .

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes observed in Towne v. Eisner (1918) that "a word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used."

The EEOC has failed to heed Justice Holmes wisdom.
1.26.2007 1:22pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Disabled people see certain equivalents in certain contexts analogous to the "N" word as fighting words. Here is a classic example, pointing at a disabled person and uttering in an excited voice, "Are you blind?" -- to a person with uncorrectable low vision in response a well-meaning inquiry if a court reporter was present in the courtroom.

The last post about how the "N" word is treated in different contexts is very informative -- a fighting word not protected by the First Amendment? Harassment? Bigotry? Mockery? Incredible ignorance? Deliberate indifference?
1.26.2007 6:38pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Texas has carry laws, A calls B you know what, B shoots A.
1.28.2007 7:02pm