Thoughts on the suspension of this professor?

Congrats again to those pushing this story! We have folks arguing about some minor campus incident!

I will take issue with one comment from:

I can’t really agree with this. There are, in my opinion, multiple possible scenarios in which the professor said pretty much what he said in this instance and should have been reprimanded (or, gasp, "disciplined) for it. Maybe he was making an off-color joke, maybe he chose that example because of how it sounded, maybe he has a history of off-color jokes.

So I would say “In a common-sense world, this whole thing would have ended in a few days, after the complaints were considered, the professor was questioned, and his history was reviewed to see that he chose that example for benign rather than nefarious purposes”.

The sad upshot is that by blowing this story up some folks will once again think it’s perfectly OK to make off-color racial jokes and it’s just the “PC-police” and “cancel culture” making them feel bad.

As a side note, I was watching a youtube video of a white guy who goes into cheap Chinese restaurants and orders in fairly fluent Chinese dialects. Guess what word I heard a few times. “Ni-gah”

Ima make a guess here: when he used the word in the context of entire sentences spoken in the language it belongs to, to people who understand that language, in the course of regular communication, nobody batted an eye, right?

They reacted about as much as if he were speaking in English and said, “Ummm”.

None of that is correct, he wasn’t an elected official and he didn’t say he wasn’t going to apologize.

Exactly. They probably reacted as much as a French marine biologist would react if I asked what scavengers eat dead seals, because “fuck more” is an inoffensive and unremarkable set of sounds in French.

Context is king, baby.

My mother would refer to things like this as being “Invited to leave/resign/step down/etc.” She was invited to leave her sorority (really), where she was the token J-w, because she and her best friend refused to attend a dinner gathering where the theme was going to be a very elaborate poking fun at the women they’d refused to admit that year.

When a colleague of hers was asked to step down as chair of a committee for making a disgusting, sexist remark, and she started a petition to register an official complaint, she referred to him as having been “Invited to step down.”

Interestingly, I still had legacy status at my mother’s sorority, and was invited to the first recruiting mixed. I guess they still needed J-ws. I didn’t go. I didn’t respond at all. My friends said I should have worn my anarchy T-shirt, and my torn jeans, and boots, stolen a lot of food to give to homeless people, and then not pledged. I considered it, but in the end, decided since it was on a school night, I wasn’t going.

In business we refer to that as “being given the option to jump before you get pushed”.

I do like your friend’s suggestion. The look on their faces would have given you stories to tell for years to come… :rofl:

If he has had prior complaints about racist sensibilities, he should be officially suspended on the commission of a future act of one. Not on this misunderstanding of an utterly innocuous foreign language word.

He wasn’t officially suspended. The title of this thread is wrong. He didn’t teach the rest of that particular class – it was a short class, few weeks, and he didn’t teach the last couple of weeks. But, he continued teaching the rest of his classes.

Even that is political correctness run amuck. I’m no right winger, but we shouldn’t be afraid to speak in a foreign language regardless of what they sound like. Only an oversensitive moron would continue to be offended after the misunderstanding was cleared up.

Sorry if this has been posted before, but just saying Mandarin is too broad as Mandarin has multiple regional dialects. Primarily North and South. The pronunciation of ‘that’/that on’ as ni ge is North Eastern Mandarin dialect. In standard Beijing dialect it’s na ge.

Beijing Mandarin was standardized because some of the Mandarin dialects (excluding Cantonese [which I would argue is a distinct language) are so different as to be unintelligible by non-regional speakers.

This video is a Northern vs Southern Mandarin challenge. I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese but I got them all right. To me they’re distinctly different. BTW, I cheated a bit because I GASP used their facial features as a hint. I probably still would have gotten them all right just listening to them speaking, but it would have been harder.


I’m not 100% sure #3 is speaking Mandarin, not Cantonese because of his heavy accent and #5 is 100% Beijing dialect.

This video has 25 people using the greeting, “Have you eaten [rice]?” in different Mandarin dialects. Some of them aren’t saying the exact phrase. The speakers from Guangdong are speaking Cantonese and only the guy at 1:20 is saying the exact phrase in Cantonese.

As someone pointed out, just wait until students get taught the Mandarin word for “give.” (pronounced as “gay”)

I literally cannot wait. I’m breathless with anticipation.

And it appears it was with pay, and there was a process playing out. I wonder if we’ll hear about the end of that process? It seems pretty standard to me in many professions for a person accused of something like this to be asked to not have contact with the accused until the process concludes. We have no reason to think that the end of the process will be that he is disciplined.

I tried to find a follow-up, but no luck. I’m sure the OP’s news sources have followed up, and also issued a correction for using the word suspended. Maybe he can help us out.

And, in fact, he was not:

The university concluded on September 25 that his comments did not violate policy. And in fact the student groups sent a letter earlier that week that stated they never asked for him to be removed in the first place. The university even recommended exactly what many of us up-thread recommended - a simple preface saying “hey, this sounds a bit weird to English speakers, so heads up”.

So, perhaps this was not another case of PC run amok?

But, but, but, the professor had to apologize! And, write a letter! And, he, uh, didn’t teach the whole class or something!

I’m sure the OP will be back any minute to say how he’s revisiting his news sources, since they’re apparently geared towards outrage and division. Others will come back and say how Mandarin will likely not be banned anytime soon. Kumbaya and all that.

And thus, he was suspended from teaching the rest of this class.