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Did Drug Court Commissioner Jane Geiler Deserve to Lose Her Job for Referring to an African-American Colleague as "Niggardly"? 

Week of May 7, 2003

Mike Williams
Former Motown Singing Sensation
"She kicked her own self out. She used self-control and judgment to get to the place where she was at, so the same practices she used to get the job should have been used to keep the job. It's sad. Choose your career carefully, 'cause guess what? Your career is the words that come out of your mouth."

Amanda Spence
Law Student, St. Louis University Law School
"If she can point to a definition in the dictionary, I don't think she should be fired. And besides, would she really go out of her way to say a racial slur with others in the room? Just because a word sounds like some other word, that doesn't mean she should be vilified for using it."

Roger Oliver
Between Jobs
"She's the law, she shouldn't be above it, so she did the right thing by resigning. And you know it couldn't have been no mistake, because no matter how it came out, 'niggardly' or 'niggerly,' it was saying, 'acting as a nigger,' which is the same as saying he's a nigger -- a good-for-nothin', worthless, shiftless bum. That's what she was calling that guy."

Craig Downs
Chef/Resident Artist, Cummel's Café
"I don't know that she deserved to get let go, but her choice of words was a poor one. There's plenty other words to describe 'stingy,' and I've never heard that one used, so it's questionable. I don't know, it just seems like they might've had some other problem with her and that was the last straw for her."

Vernon Wright
Cook, Dee Gaddy's Lounge
"No, that's freedom of speech. The U.S. government says you got the right to speak as you wish. She didn't use it as hate speech; she's just commenting. Nothing wrong with that. And it was probably misinterpreted. She said a word and a guy took it the wrong way. You don't fire someone over that."

Carol McCafferty
Squad Leader, Shopping-Cart-Retrieval Unit, Big Lots
"I think it was impolite, politically incorrect and insensitive. See, you don't hear that word used that way -- or was she trying to act like she was smart, playing with the vocabulary? I mean, people do that, act pretentious in flaunting $5 words. But what's said is said. Maybe that word should be purged from the language, because it just seems to get people in trouble."

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