This story addresses hate speech and contains offensive language that may upset some readers. The N-word is spelled out several times in this story to detail the hostile work environment alleged in a lawsuit against GM.
Fourteen months where Marcus Boyd says he endured racist comments, slights, even threats in a hostile workplace run by General Motors.
A workplace where people declared bathrooms were for “whites only,” where black supervisors were denounced as “boy” and ignored by their subordinates, where black employees were called “monkey,” or told to “go back to Africa.”
A workplace where black employees were warned a white colleague’s “daddy” was in the Ku Klux Klan. Where white workers wore shirts with Nazi symbols underneath their coveralls.
All those allegations are detailed in a lawsuit filed against GM in which eight workers say managers at the Toledo Powertrain plant did little or nothing to stop racism.
For Boyd, it began on his first day. He said he could feel the glare from white team members as if they were saying, “Who’s he to be in charge of them?”
All the other supervisors, who were white, received training before their jobs, Boyd said. Boyd, an experienced supervisor albeit in a different industry, was given a clipboard and told to start.
But if he wondered if he was making too much of that, the situation crystallized when some of his juniors ignored him, refused to follow his directions and called him the N-word, though he could never see exactly who said it.
When he reported the insubordination to upper management, he said he was told to deal with it himself, to counsel his workers who’d used the slur.
The message he said he took from his leaders at the plant: Be happy you’re here. Deal with it.
Marcus Boyd says he heard the N-word used frequently during his time at GM.
But it got harder each day to ignore, he told CNN in an interview.
A white employee Boyd oversaw told him: “Back in the day, you would have been buried with a shovel.
Updated 8:30 PM ET, Thu January 17, 2019
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