An Atlanta TV anchor issued a powerful response to a live viewer who called her the n-word in an email.

Sharon Reed, an anchor on Atlanta station CBS 46, confronted a woman who sent her the racially abusive email.

The journalist and her co-hosts had been discussing the role of race in the Atlanta’s mayoral election, which was contested this week by black and white candidates.

The viewer, who gave her name as Kathy Rae, accused Reed of “race baiting” and told her: “You are a racist N****r. You what’s wrong with the world.”

Her email added: “You need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight. It’s OK for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites, really? You are what I call a N****r not a black person.”

As the email is displayed on-screen, Ms. Reed said she would let the viewer’s words “speak for themselves”.

She responded: “I didn’t say that white people couldn’t talk about race. Quite the contrary, we think that race is an authentic discussion to have. It’s one we’re having tonight because it’s one that you are talking about at home and it’s one that has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor’s race.”

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Atlanta’s mayoral election has divided a city known as America’s “black mecca” for its usually harmonious racial relations.

Keisha Lance Bottoms declared victory early on Wednesday morning, although Mary Norwood demanded a recount, with little more than 700 voters separating the two candidates.

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