Comparison of ‘OK Boomer’ to racial slur in university classroom sparks outrage

The University of Oklahoma’s campus responded negatively when a professor in a senior journalism class compared the phrase “OK Boomer” to a racial slur.

Combined ShapeCaption
The University of Oklahoma’s campus responded negatively when a professor in a senior journalism class compared the phrase “OK Boomer” to a racial slur.

University of Oklahoma forced to respond to phrase used by journalism professor

A University of Oklahoma journalism professor is taking heat for comparing the phrase "OK Boomer" to the n-word during class Tuesday. The school's interim president issued a response: The school disagreed.

"Today a professor stated in his senior journalism class that there is an equivalence between the offensiveness of 'OK, Boomer and the use of the 'N-word,' using the actual word itself. While the professor's comments are protected by the First Amendment and academic freedom, his comment and word choice are fundamentally offensive and wrong. The use of the most offensive word, by a person in a position of authority, hurt and minimized those in the classroom and beyond." —Joseph Harroz Jr., OU interim president

The statement went on to say the professor’s words did not reflect the community of the university, which should serve as an example of tolerance.

Oklahoma News 4 reported the professor, Dr. Peter Gade, initially tried to justify his word choice citing free speech, even after a student walked out of the classroom.

“On their way out, Dr. Gade said, ‘Never have I been so disrespected in my life.' Which really had me taken aback because he’s never been so disrespected in his life?!” student Sarah Beth Guevara told News 4.

»RELATED: Group gives Ga. colleges mixed grades on speech, transparency rules

The professor later apologized through an email to his class.

"I made an inexcusable mistake this morning in class with my choice of a word. I was wrong. I am sorry. I realize the word is hurtful and infuses the racial divisions of our country, past and present. Use of this word is inappropriate in any – especially educational – settings," he wrote, according to News 4.

"OK Boomer" is a phrase that originated on TikTok, often used by millennials and Gen Z-ers to mock an older generation of baby boomers being out of touch with society.

Combined ShapeCaption
'OK boomer': Tapping into millennial frustration with two words - and memes for days

»RELATED: 'OK, Boomer' makes a Supreme Court appearance in age case

The discussion started when a student pointed out that journalists must keep up with younger generations and the value of social media, according to CNN.

Gade reportedly accused the student of implying "OK Boomer" with his comment without a student using the phrase.

Regardless of the context, many expressed disapproval of Gade’s statement on Twitter and in the university’s student newspaper OU Daily.