Look far and look wide. There is nowhere the social justice left cannot find supposed instances of racism hiding in plain sight.
The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business placed a longtime communications professor on leave from one of the courses he teaches last month for using a Chinese word that’s phonetically similar to an English racial slur.
According to the Los Angeles Times, professor Greg Patton was giving an online lecture in his “Communication for Management” course on Aug. 20 when he broached the topic of confidence in verbal presentation and began discussing the cross-cultural use of filler words like “um” and “er” to prevent uncomfortable pauses.
A white professor with two decades experience in Asian-Pacific communication, Patton quickly landed himself in hot water, however, when he tied in an international example: the Chinese phrase for “that.”
“In China, the common word is ‘that’ — ‘that, that, that, that,’” the professor can be heard saying in a video from the lecture, which has since made the rounds online.
“So in China it might be ‘nega’ — ‘nega, nega, nega.’ So there’s different words that you’ll hear in different countries, but they’re vocal disfluencies.”
The word is a common one in Mandarin Chinese, written “那个” and “commonly pronounced nèi ge (NAY-guh) or nà ge (NAH-guh),” according to the Times.
By the following day, several black master’s students from the class of 2022 had written and forwarded a letter to Marshall School of Business Dean Geoffrey Garrett, demanding action be taken in response to Patton’s racial “negligence and disregard.”
“Our mental health has been affected,” the students wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by National Review.
“It is an uneasy feeling allowing him to have the power over our grades. We would rather not take his course than to endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities and by extension creates an unwelcome environment for us Black students.”
“In light of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the recent and continued collective protests and social awakening across the nation, we cannot let this stand,” they later added.
In response, the liberal university’s administration suspended Patton from teaching that course, with the Marshall school telling Campus Reform he “agreed to take a short term pause while we are reviewing to better understand the situation and to take any appropriate next steps.”
The pending review did not, however, stop the Marshall school’s dean from selling Patton down the river with an obligatory public apology for the “disturbing episode,” which apparently left him “deeply saddened.”
“Understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students, and for that I am deeply sorry,” Garrett wrote to all MBA students, the Times reported. “It is simply unacceptable for faculty to use such examples or language in class because they can marginalize and harm you and hurt your feelings of psychological safety. As a school, we must and we will do better.”
“I am deeply saddened by this disturbing episode that has caused such anguish and trauma,” he also wrote, according to National Review.
Of course, in reality, there is absolutely nothing understandable about the outrage and “anguish” expressed here.
Patton did not say a racial slur, nor did he try to. And if simply hearing an unsaid slur or slight is grounds for punishment in this brave new world, heaven help us.
Things are about to get real repressive, real fast.
Of course, that’s exactly what the American left wants — every last opportunity to use the word “racism” as a cudgel with which to beat everyday American into submission regarding whatever nonsense social theory they have on the table that week.
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