In the modern workplace, we seem to have very mixed values in terms of what it is acceptable to say to whom (and when). Organisations often try to play safe by adopting a form of political correctness (PC) that can have bizarre and uncomfortable results.
Recently a school in Dartford barred a traditional Morris Dancing group from blacking their faces (as has been part of the tradition for hundreds of years) on the grounds this might ’cause offence’. This hyper-sensitivity on the part of others is a long way from the concept of ‘dignity’, since the arbitrary nature of the judgement (often by individuals with a hazy grasp of the idea of diversity and respect) can offend one group whilst patronizing another.
There are genuine problems in the workplace with racist and sexist terms and abuse. But banning the use of the word “black”, or banning one tradition in order to avoid some imagined offense, is not the way to go.