Chicken-Fried News: Not OK, boomer 

click to enlarge INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

Black students, faculty and staff at University of Oklahoma matter. We’re appalled they can’t get through one single semester without a racist incident, but here we are again. Of course it has to be during Black History Month that an overly sensitive, out-of-touch white OU professor compares the phrase “OK, boomer” to using the N-word, once again drawing negative national attention to our largest university.

Peter Gade, director of graduate studies at Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications, teaches — get this — journalism, ethics and democracy. Maybe at one point he actually taught that, but it seems like he’s now showing students how to violate all three with one swift blow.

During class last week, he said journalists should stick to more traditional roots rather than follow changes in technology and social media, which is kind of the antithesis of good journalism and why so many newspapers have gone out of business. He then called on a student who disagreed and said journalists should keep up with younger generations, which Gade said was the equivalent of saying “OK, boomer” to him. Then Gade started ranting about the term, which he brought up himself, and said that “calling someone a boomer is like calling someone a N-word.” Hard R.

It’s not, and nobody should have to explain why it isn’t in 2020, especially to someone who almost certainly blamed millennials for killing homeownership, diamonds, cereal, Applebee’s and the napkin industry while calling them snowflakes.

Anyway, university officials responded in the weakest way possible, which is par for the course, with some saying his speech was protected by the First Amendment and some saying they “weren’t sure” that language had a place in the classroom and it might have been used as an “educational tool.”

You’d think that after the litany of racist actions at OU, at least one administrator would learn how to address the matter with boldness, but no. Not even during Black History Month do the leaders at OU feel it appropriate to unequivocally say something is racist and outright condemn it.

Current students, faculty and staff should not have to put up with racist actions that go unchecked with little to no consequences and create a hostile environment for them. The university can apologize all it wants, but people want to see clear actions and change. The country is watching.

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