Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 551 (1896).
The 11th Circuit has once again reversed a verdict finding racial discrimination a Tyson Foods factory, holding (among other things) that the evidence whereby a White supervisor had called the Black plaintiff "boy" was insufficient to provide evidence of discriminatory bias.
This case had already been up to the Supreme Court once, where they reversed a prior 11th Circuit decision holding that "boy" could never be evidence of racial prejudice unless accompanied by a modifier like "Black" or "White". The Supreme Court chastised the lower court:
Although it is true the disputed word will not always be evidence of racial animus, it does not follow that the term, standing alone, is always benign. The speaker's meaning may depend on various factors including context, inflection, tone of voice, local custom, and historical usage.
Not taking the hint, the 11th Circuit continues insist that there was simply not conceivable way a jury could have interpreted the usage of "boy" as evidencing a discriminatory attitude.
Obviously, it's true that whether "boy" is malevolent or benign depends on the factors the court laid out. And you know who is, if not really good at examining those factual elements, then at least is legally tasked with sorting them out? Juries! They're the ones who know the most about local custom, and inflection, and tone of voice, and how comparable "boy" is to the n-word. Not, say, three judges on the 11th Circuit reviewing trial transcripts after the fact.