As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, it’s a great move to make lemonade – as long as political authorities don’t shut you down for doing so without a license.
So, when the foolish in the world engage in more foolish behavior, one can either become frustrated and withdraw, or take the situation by the proverbial horns and enjoy the ride while helping others learn a few things.
It looks like the high-ups at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business just gave us the opportunity to do exactly that. Robby Soave of Reason, and Ben Zeisloft of Campus Reform, report that the administration at the school recently suspended professor of Clinical Business Communication Greg Patton for, get this, explaining the idiomatic Chinese use of the Mandarin word nega as a “fill-in” expression, similar to Americans using “um” or “like,” to fill gaps in conversation.
Patton transgressed the saintly and unknowable standards of the school during a virtual classroom, writes Soave:
'In China the common word is "that, that that that," so in China it might be "nega, nega, nega, nega,'"Patton explained to his class. 'So there's different words you'll hear in different cultures, but they're vocal disfluencies.'
And since certain students evidently enjoy swimming in the kiddie pool of social justice to such an extent that they can’t deal with the deep end of reality or the fact that Patton was speaking a different language, they protested to the university heads – people whose own heads seem pretty vacant, or as Pink Floyd might have said, comfortably numb.
And the Marshall School of Business marshalled the integrity and wisdom to…
Suspend Patton from teaching the class, and issue a statement that reads, in part:
Recently, a USC faculty member during class used a Chinese word that sounds similar to a racial slur in English. We acknowledge the historical, cultural and harmful impact of racist language.
But this wasn’t racist language.
Do the Marshall School administrators need a repeat of that?
This is MANDARIN Chinese.
The situation is reminiscent of the moment in 1999, when social justice numbskulls heard Washington, DC, Office of Public Advocate head David Howard use the term “niggardly” in a meeting and, since they were too ignorant to know the meaning or 14th Century origin of the word, they thought it was a racial slur. Despite it meaning “miserly”, and despite it being perfectly germane to what Howard was discussing at the time, their insane outcry was heard nation-wide, and led to Howard’s resignation.
Yep, despite doing nothing wrong, and despite the fact that it was those who misconstrued him and were ignorant of the English language who were in error, it was HOWARD who was pushed out.
And this new instance is even worse. It sees USC students becoming upset – and foolish administrators siding with them – over a word that ISN’T EVEN AN ENGLISH WORD and is pronounced, “nay-guh”.
As a pro-liberty friend, Stephen Smith who frequently travels to Asia, told me:
Stress is on the first syllable, and the second syllable is very slight/almost clipped. It means ‘that’ or ‘that one,’ and it's often used by native speakers as a filler, like ‘um,’ or ‘you know.’ That was the point the professor was making in the lecture, and he is 100% correct. In my 2+ years of studying Chinese in college, it never once crossed my mind to make the correlation these kids made - and even if I had, I would have recognized that IT'S A DIFFERENT FREAKIN' LANGUAGE! They must have really been working hard to find something to be offended by, and probably shouldn't be in an institution that requires thinking.