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geraldc

Prof suspended for saying nei ge

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amytheorangutan

The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I would have thought it’s a hoax if it were not for the edu domain name. Can’t imagine anything else that would be so irrelevant to one another being forcefully linked. 

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Moshen

Wow.

 

When I spent a year in Beijing, I must have heard "neige neige neige neige" used as a filler expression tens of thousands of times and not once did it sound to me like "the N-word."

 

And even if it did, it's ridiculous that any educated person could have been offended by an example in a foreign language.

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timseb
Just now, Moshen said:

And even if it did, it's ridiculous that any educated person could have been offended by an example in a foreign language.

 

I don't know about this example, but I do know a lot of these cases is just student's having a bad relation with their teacher, and using the opportunity when it arises. The school's decision is what baffles me here. An academic institution *must* be able to tell a student in a case like this that "no, this is silly, either you accept that and move on, or go do something else with your life".

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markhavemann

This reminds me of some stand up comedy that I watched (maybe Chris Rock) where he says he went to China, and the person in line ahead of him was ordering and kept saying "那个那个那个" and he thought they were talking about him. 

 

I guess nobody in the school has watched that particular bit of comedy since they are basically playing it out themselves. 

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Jan Finster

What kind of snowflake students is this School producing? The Dean should be ashamed of himself for not supporting the professor.

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Dlezcano

This reminds me a little when I was with my mother in a taxi and the driver told me the price of the ride: 二十. She asked me why he called me “Arsch” which in German means “Ass(hole)”.

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杰.克

A very unfortunate situation. I feel sorry for the professor. It's a deeply offensive term if said in English, but as we all know, saying "那个 那个", is the equivalent of saying "erm" in Chinese.  It's a pause word whilst you think of what you want to say next. I have no doubt it would make for a really unpleasant situation if a person didn't understand this. But on explanation, surely cooler heads would prevail.   It's about as non-descript a word as you can get in Chinese, the person saying it would have had no intention to offend whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

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carlo

I'm confused. How is deciding what Chinese word is acceptable on the basis of English *not* imperialist? Should we remove the word "shabby" from English dictionaries? Is there a conspiracy in America to put the Onion out of business?

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xinoxanu
Quote

A group of students threatened to withdraw from the class rather than ‘endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural sensitivities’, adding: ‘Our mental health has been affected.’

 

Good Lord. 

 

Are people actually going postal over such a trivial matter? Did the professor whisper 那个 multiple times on each Black student's ears? Or, as it's often the case, were only white students the ones that rushed to complain even if not a single Black person didn't think much of this?

 

Clearly this is a case of adults being stupid, from the students to the university's administration which is simply obliging to avoid bad rep. But really, regardless of the situation, unless a professor/student is purposefully berating someone then people should understand that a University is a place where any conversation can be had, despite your personal feelings on the matter.

 

Coming up next: "Philosophy students demand professor's head because they were asked if awful people can also sometimes do good things".

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Jan Finster
15 minutes ago, xinoxanu said:

Coming up next: "Philosophy students demand professor's head because they were asked if awful people can also sometimes do good things".

 

Welcome to our crazy times. Some of the current movements (e.g "woke culture", "no platforming culture" , "cancel culture" and "social justice warrior culture") all had good intentions at first, but have developed into weapons of social assassination. They are instruments of power! In many ways those movements have become worse than what they were initially fighting against.

 

The Dean in the current case is probably well aware of the madness, but is too much of a coward to speak out against it, because he knows his own head could hit the dust in a New York minute. And herein lies the real danger. People become afraid to call out the BS and thereby giving this movement silent approval! 

 

Here is the first video of a series on "no platforming", which is very much related to our topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm9qFjqJ7as

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feihong

I have a suspicion that the media seized too quickly on this story and sensationalized it without checking all the facts. Some of the “facts” I saw in earlier versions of this story don’t appear in later versions. For example, the letter that the students supposedly sent to the university complaining about the professor, which is full of factual errors that are easily disproved (presented at face value without any commentary from the reporter). I’m not saying that nothing happened, but the media coverage seems awfully sloppy. I actually took the time to watch the relevant part of the video of the professor’s lecture and... it was a boring business communication lecture. If anything, I was rather unimpressed by his communication skills.


Me, I’m going to ignore this, the story as presented doesn’t make much sense. Looks like just another clickbait article that wastes our time.

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Jan Finster
13 minutes ago, feihong said:

Me, I’m going to ignore this, the story as presented doesn’t make much sense. Looks like just another clickbait article that wastes our time.

 

As far as "facts" are concerned, all the sources I found, stated he is on a temporary leave, because people have complained that he used racial slurs (in this case 那个) and there is a letter by the Dean saying he would not tolerate this. What other facts are relevant? That his webinar lecturing style is lame? I agree, but, why does this matter?

 

Here is a Newsweek article and Newsweek is not known for its tabloid press:

https://www.newsweek.com/usc-professors-dismissal-over-chinese-word-that-sounds-like-racial-slur-questioned-alum-peers-1529887

 

Just because some sources contradict each other, does not make this "fake news". 

 

Of course, it is up to you to ignore this, but again passive indifference is easily taken for silently approving of this. 

 

Here is a fitting quote: "that despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their family, their community and their country..." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQPsKvG6WMI (starts at 1:25).

 

 

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feihong
1 hour ago, Jan Finster said:

Of course, it is up to you to ignore this, but again passive indifference is easily taken for silently approving of this.

No, I don’t approve of political correctness taken too far, but this is an assumption that’s being made here. I think we should automatically be skeptical of reports that contradict themselves factually (and contain obvious typos), regardless of the reputation of their source.

 

The article linked in the petition is interesting, it has a more nuanced and slightly different spin on events (or perhaps I just read it more carefully). For example, even the complainants don’t go as far as asking the prof to be dropped, so it’s weird that the university would take that action solely based on that single complaint. Even that article has received at least two corrections, showing there’s confusion about the matter even on the USC campus. I tried to find an official announcement from USC, but looks like it doesn’t exist, other than a vague quote from a spokesperson. My point is that we react too quickly to news like this, and rush to judgment before all the facts are known. It’s a trap we should avoid because there are many more clear injustices happening that are more worthy of our limited attention.

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889

A big university like U.S.C. has a big PR department ready to strike out if mass media carry untrue and unflattering reports. After all, U.S.C. has a reputation to uphold. So if you have doubts about the accuracy of the reports, wait for the university's response, if any.

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Lu

First I heard this I couldn't believe the facts were really 'professor used 那个, students complain, university puts him on leave', but it appears that's what happens and wow, it's bad.

What I also worry about now is that the completely innoceous term 那个 will now come to be used by actual racists and will become a weapon in the culture wars and university professors all over the US will be forced to pronounce it veeerrry carefully so that it sounds as little like the N-word as possible and argh.

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Demonic_Duck
18 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

 

It's also not known for its accuracy or fact checking:

Newsweek ditched its fact-checkers in 1996, then made a major error

 

On 9/6/2020 at 2:51 AM, 889 said:

I guess there's no doubt the story is true; it's now being reported in the mainstream press.

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8701505/US-academic-suspended-using-Chinese-word-um-sounded-like-racial-slur.html

 

Ah yes, The Daily Mail, last bastion of the free press reactionary far-right bile.

 

To be honest, I haven't yet seen a single article on this in a source I'd rate "highly reliable" (at least not as a general news source - Victor Mair's blog is a fine source for linguistic musings). On the face of it, it looks like a pretty extreme overreaction on the university's part. But that face-value reading also falls a little too neatly into a certain culture-wars narrative, and the publication that originally broke the story, Campus Reform, just happens be ideologically aligned with that narrative, as do many of the other publications that have reported on it.

 

 

2 hours ago, Lu said:

What I also worry about now is that the completely innoceous term 那个 will now come to be used by actual racists and will become a weapon in the culture wars and university professors all over the US will be forced to pronounce it veeerrry carefully so that it sounds as little like the N-word as possible and argh.

 

Yeah, it could become the new version of the OK sign 😞... At least it's a little less subtle as a means of gaslighting, as I'd guess there isn't much overlap between people learning Chinese and actual Nazis...

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