When “Umm” Gets You Fired

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Years ago, when I was a kid, a friend’s father told me that his wife got dragged in front of human resources to defend and explain herself. The reason? She told a non-white colleague that she didn’t have a strong work ethic. The recipient of this information, apparently being none too bright, apparently couldn’t distinguish between the meanings of “ethic” and “ethnic” and, thus, complained loudly to HR about discrimination. (This was, incidentally, in an academic setting).

Not only has nothing changed, but it’s radically worse. Allow me to introduce to you one Professor Greg Patton, an esteemed professor at the University of Southern California’s business school:


Professor Patton is very well-credentialed and has received a variety of honors and awards for his scholarly work. If you care to dig into them, here’s his profile.

The reason I wanted to mention this chap is that he was recently teaching GSBA-542, a communications class for graduate students. Since Professor Patton knows quite a lot about China, and English/Chinese business relationships, he was talking about some of the nuances of Chinese communication, including the word  那个 which is pronounced sort of like “nee-gah.” I think you can see where this is going.

The good professor wasn’t making some kind of joke or trying to make light of the word. Evidently, in China, the aforementioned word is sort of our equivalent of “umm” or “uhh” – – it’s a “filler” word, uttered, often multiple times, when the person is trying to think of what to say next.


Here he is teaching the course, with the salient portion………..

If you watched the clip, you can see quite plainly that the man is simply trying to teach his students something important and actually kind of interesting.

Well, you can guess what happened next. Some thin-skinned, looking-to-whine, powderpuff student went shrieking to the school’s dean. In a sensible world, the dean would have instructed the aforementioned student to go fuck themselves, but times being what they are, this, instead, is what Dean Geoff Garrett had to say about this matter (boldface is mine):

Last Thursday in your GSBA-542 classes, Professor Greg Patton repeated several times a Chinese word that sounds very similar to a vile racial slur in English. Understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students, and for that I am deeply sorry. It is simply unacceptable for faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students. We must and we will do better.

Professor Marion Philadelphia, Chair of the Department of Business Communications, will take over teaching the remainder of GSBA-542, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday August 25.

Over the coming weeks and months, I have no higher priority than to work with Vice Dean Sharoni Little, Vice Dean Suh-Pyng Ku and the other members of the Marshall leadership team to identify and redress bias, microaggressions, inequities and all forms of systemic racism associated with anyone’s identity throughout our school. We each must grow and learn always to engage respectfully with one another while fostering and exemplifying the knowledge and skills needed to lead and shape our diverse and global world—such as courage, empathy, compassion, advocacy, collaboration, and integrity.

I am deeply saddened by this disturbing episode that has caused such anguish and trauma. What happened cannot be undone. But please know that Sharoni, Suh-Pyng and I along with the entire Full-Time MBA Program team are here to support each of you. We welcome the opportunity to have conversations with any of you individually.


Geoff Garrett

Oh, fuck you, Dean Garrett.

Honest to God. Have you ever read such a cloying, mealy-mouthed, sycophantic stream of pearl-clutching drivel in your entire life? Oh, and he looks about exactly like you’d expect, with sort of that weird, can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it Clint Howard thing going on:

I noticed this clown had a Twitter feed, so I was curious what this mincing pencil-dick might have shared; there are no surprises here, either.


Just so we’re all clear, he’s REALLY looking forward to this IMPORTANT conversation with these TRUE EXPERTS and GREAT LEADERS. What an unlubricated dildo this guy must be in real life. If you need another dose of virtue signaling, just give him a jingle.

Evidently, Cancel Culture has reached a level so that FOREIGN words that SOUND like something which snowflakes might consider offensive have to be banned. Cross that line, even innocently, and it’s your ass.

Well, Dean Dickhead, allow me to share with you a few English words and what they mean in other languages (either directly or homo-phonically – – although I hope I didn’t offend anyone with the homo prefix):

Kiss – – take a piss (Sweden)

Lull – – a guy’s dick (Holland)

Puff – – a whorehouse (German)

Payday – – homonym with “peidei“, which is “I farted” (Portugal)

Cookie – – a tiny penis (Hungary)

Pick – – dick (Norway)

Salsa – – diarrhea (Korea)

Pitch – – bastard (Turkey)

So, world travelers, if you want to let it be known that you enjoy eating salsa, or you need a pick to play your guitar, or you’d like to step outside for a few minutes to enjoy a puff, make sure to verify the country you’re in.

In any case, the whole thing pisses me off. If Professor Patton strolled into his classroom in a white robe and started pointing at a black student and screaming the actual N-word, yeah, that’s a problem, no arguments from me,

But, for the love of sweet baby Jesus, can you believe this shit?