OU campus

Students walk past the Bizzell Memorial Library on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World file

Members of the Oklahoma NAACP succinctly explained the difference between the N-word and “OK, boomer” in an open letter calling for a one-on-one meeting with the University of Oklahoma professor who compared the two pejoratives.

The letter came late Wednesday in response to OU professor Peter Gade’s reported use of the racial slur in an attempt to equate it to the disparaging phrase “OK, boomer.”

“The term ‘OK Boomer’ originated from Generation Z humor and is used to mock individuals of the Baby Boomer Generation for being condescending and rude to both Millennials and Gen Z,” Oklahoma NAACP officials state in the unsigned letter.

The N-word has been used “to bring destruction and obliteration” to people of color in America, the letter states. It has the most magnitude, gravity and potency of any racial slur, so “OK, Boomer” is “child’s play” in comparison, according to the letter.

Gade reportedly made the comparison between the racial slur and generational pejorative during a Tuesday morning class. By Wednesday, he reportedly had issued an apology.

Gade called his use of the word “inexcusable,” according to the OU Daily report.

“I realize the word was hurtful and infuses the racial divisions of our country, past and present,” Gade said in the email. “Use of the word is inappropriate in any — especially educational — settings. I offer my deepest and most sincere apologies. In the coming weeks, I will strive to show you that I am an instructor and teacher who is trustworthy and respectful of all. Please give me that opportunity.”

The NAACP letter invited Gade to a sit-down discussion. The status of that invitation was unavailable Thursday morning.

OU’s student chapter of the NAACP also issued a statement after the incident in Gade’s classroom, the OU Daily reported.

“We are not surprised by the actions of the professor who ironically teaches Journalism, Ethics and Democracy,” the statement read. “Nor are we surprised that people still don’t understand that insults like ‘OK, boomer’ do not create the same uneasiness that the historical slur n----- does.”


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