Free Speech

Univ. of San Diego Law School Investigating Professor for Post Critical of China

In context, it seems clear that the post's reference to "Chinese" is indeed a reference to the Chinese government, not to people of Chinese extraction.

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Here is the post, by Prof. Tom Smith (The Right Coast):

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wuhan Lab Theory a Dark Cloud on China—WSJ

By Tom Smith

Alas, the World Health Organization mission is turning into a case of disaster foretold. A credible inquiry requires China's full cooperation, not just cooperation with those lines of inquiry that are consistent with its own propaganda. And couldn't somebody have put Peter Daszak, team member from New York City's EcoHealth Alliance, under permanent mouth quarantine?

To insist that human encroachment on nature is the great risk tells us nothing about what happened in this particular case. To insist, as he did on NPR, that China's manhandling of the delegation with greeters in full hazmat garb, its forcing of the visitors into 14-day quarantine, was merely testament to China's Covid rigor overlooks another possibility: China was seeking to intimidate and dominate the investigators because of the colossal importance it places on controlling the virus narrative.

via www.wsj.com

If you believe that the coronavirus did not escape from the lab in Wuhan, you have to at least consider that you are an idiot who is swallowing whole a lot of Chinese cock swaddle. At least Peter Daszak has good personal and financial reasons, not to mention reasons of career preservation, for advancing what he must know is a facially implausible thesis. But whatever. Go Science!

UPDATE: It appears that some people are interpreting my reference to "Chinese cock swaddle," as a reference to an ethnic group. That is a misinterpretation. To be clear, I was referring to the Chinese government.

Even without the UPDATE, it's clear that the reference to "Chinese cock swaddle" must be a reference to the government of China, not to Chinese-Americans or to people of Chinese extraction. The title of the post is about China, and the quote refers four times to China ("China's full cooperation," "China's manhandling of the delegation," "China's Covid rigor," "China was seeking"). Though "Chinese" sometimes refers to the government, sometimes to the nation, and sometimes to the ethnic group, here the referent is clear, and it isn't to Chinese-Americans or to USD law students from China or anything like that.

And yet Prof. Smith is now being investigated by the law school, and the "Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) and the USD School of Law Student Bar Association are calling on law school and university officials to fire the professor who they say used racist language when talking about the coronavirus and China." (Abbie Alford, CBS8). [UPDATE: Prof. William Jacobson (Legal Insurrection) has much more, though he suggests that APALSA didn't expressly call for the firing of Prof. Smith.] The law school has published the following response:

The University of San Diego School of Law is aware of the blog post of the faculty member.

While the blog is not hosted by the University of San Diego, these forms of bias, wherever they occur, have an adverse impact on our community. It is especially concerning when the disparaging language comes from a member of our community. A core value of the University of San Diego School of Law is that all members of the community must be treated with dignity and respect. University policies specifically prohibit harassment, including the use of epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs based on race or national origin, among other categories.

We have received formal complaints relating to the faculty member's conduct, and in accordance with university procedures, there will be a process to review whether university or law school policies have been violated.

The Dean also sent this to the faculty, administrators, and staff:

Dear Law School Community,

It has come to my attention that a faculty member made a blog post concerning the origin of COVID-19, using offensive language in reference to people from China. As I wrote to you in a previous message, COVID-19 has been associated with an alarming increase in hate crimes directed against the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community, with racist commentary relating to the virus and its origins. While the blog is not hosted by the University of San Diego, these forms of bias, wherever they occur, have an adverse impact on our community. It is especially concerning when the disparaging language comes from a member of our community.

Scientists are investigating the exact origins of COVID-19. Whatever the realm for debate by experts about this scientific question, there is no place for language that demeans a particular national group. Such language undermines our shared commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming community.

A core value of the University of San Diego School of Law is that all members of the community must be treated with dignity and respect. University policies specifically prohibit harassment, including the use of epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs based on race or national origin, among other categories. I have received formal complaints relating to the faculty member's conduct, and in accordance with university procedures, there will be a process to review whether university or law school policies have been violated.

I will be meeting as soon as possible with leaders of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and the Student Bar Association to discuss further steps. In addition, I will continue to work with faculty, students, staff, and alumni over the course of this spring and beyond to develop and implement plans to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the law school. This occurrence reminds us again of the importance and urgency of this project. I will be sending you more information about plans as they develop.

It is clear that we have much work to do together to repair and enhance our community. That work must begin by acknowledging the harm caused by this kind of demeaning language.

Yet I stress again that the blog post is not "disparaging language" or "epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs based on race or national origin" towards any "members of the [USD] community" (students, faculty, or staff). It is disparaging language towards China, in context referring to the government of China.

To the extent people who feel some connection to China find it offensive, that is no basis for the university to prohibit such speech, or even investigate a faculty member for such speech—just as a university has no business investigating a faculty member for sharp criticism of the government of Israel (or of other Israeli institutions), or of Russia or, back in the day, South Africa or whatever else.

I've heard some suggestion that such harsh condemnation of the Chinese government might increase the risk of hate crimes against Asians. I'm skeptical that this is likely so, especially in a blog post such as this.

But in any event, faculty or student speech like this can't be suppressed simply because it has a supposedly bad tendency to inflame a few of its readers in a way that might cause them to commit crimes:

  • Harsh criticism of the police might lead to violent attacks on the police.
  • Harsh criticism of the Israeli government (or of "Israel" generally) may lead to violent attacks on Jews.
  • Harsh criticism of the U.S. government might lead to criminal attacks on government institutions, whether from the Right (as with the Capitol riot) or from the Left (as with the riots in Portland).

Yet such speech remains protected by academic freedom and free speech principles. In particular, besides the promises of academic freedom (which I think covers public commentary and not just scholarship) that USD, alongside most other private academic institutions, provides, the California Labor Code protects "political activities" even by private employees:

[§ 1101.] No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy:
(a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.
(b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

[§ 1102.] No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

And the California Supreme Court has made clear (in Gay Law Students Ass'n v. Pac. Tel. & Tel. (1979)) that "political activities" includes not just electioneering but also "espousal of … a cause," including non-campaign-related causes, such as "the struggle of the homosexual community for equal rights." Espousal of opposition to the Chinese government is equally a "political activit[y]" that USD can't penalize.

Now I personally don't much care for the vulgarity of "cock swaddle," though a mutual acquaintance of Prof. Smith's and mine speculates that this wasn't a deliberate reference to something sexual, but a mistaken attempt to use something softer than "bullshit" (perhaps under the influence of a dimly remembered "codswallop"). Still, even if we take "cock swaddle" at face value as a vulgarism, that is clearly not the basis for the investigation or, as best I can tell, for the calls for firing.

UPDATE [3:33 pm Eastern, 3/20/2021]: I added the "Dear Law School Community" letter from the Dean, which I received after posting this.

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  1. I think there are all sorts of cases (situations) where people of good faith can disagree. One side will see a problem and others will see no problem (or some de minimus problem).

    Not here. I absolutely cannot believe that anyone complaining is acting in good faith. I think Eugene is being quite generous to the complaining side when it says that it’s clear that “Chinese” refers to the country/country’s government. No, it’s not clear . . . it’s frickin’ clear. Or it’s cock swadling clear. Or, across the Pond, it’s bleeding obvious.

    What is incredibly disappointing to read is (1) That student groups–who really should know better–are using this opportunity to complain and to try and make this guy lose his job [bothers me a 6 on a 1-10 scale], and (2) that Deans, university VPs, etc did not come out immediately with versions of, “For God’s sake people, you work and/or study in a real university, and God has given each of you a brain. This professor was talking about the Chinese govt, it’s obvious that he was talking about the Chinese government, and this school is 100% behind this professor. There will be no investigation, this university believes in free speech, and I/we are deeply disappointed by the reaction to this entire situation. Tempest in a teapot does not go far enough to describe what an outrage this is. Shame on you all!” [this bothers me a 13, on that same 1-10 scale]

    This is the sort of thing that would make me cut off all alumni donations, if I had gone to this school. What a disappointing story to read. Thanks, Eugene, for ruining my weekend. 🙁

    Well, I can dream.

    1. (I will point out that it’s a bit impolitic to refer to people as “idiots.” Even when they are, indeed idiots…or, at least, acting in an idiotic way. So, this professor certainly could say even mean things in a more-civil way.)

      ((Unlike Eugene; I rather like “cock swaddle,” although I don’t like how it’s spelled. I’d prefer ‘cockswaddle’ or “cock-swaddle.” It’s rare to be present at the birth of a new word/phrase.)

      1. cock swaddle

        The act of wrapping up your pud during masturbation with any sort of cloth or fabric (preferably soft and disposable) so that the inevitable sticky, messy load is confined and easily disposed of.

        1. Yikes! Now, Matt, how can I unlearn this definition? 🙂

          1. You can’t.

          2. You don’t need to unlearn it because it’s not a real definition. Despite sometimes being inexplicably used as a reference by courts and DMVs, Urban “Dictionary” is nothing of the sort. Anyone can make up anything and submit it. It has no moderation or validation.

            There is in fact no such phrase as “cock swaddle”. What the original author almost certainly intended to write was “codswallop” – a word meaning ‘nonsense’ or ‘rubbish’.

            1. Rossami, I hardly ever just comment to say I like another comment, but your comment was good in substance and style I feel we ought to be clapping in applause.
              People forget that a blog is j ust a blog, not an articoe in a scholarly journal. We ought to leave typos in them more too, to help convey that. It’s ok to get spelling and idioms wrong, just as in ordinary converation. People shouldn’t have to polish their blog posts, or they won;’t post enough of them.

    2. The other aspect of this is that *if* it becomes impossible to criticize or condemn the ChiCom government without being accused of racial hostility towards persons of Asian ancestry, it will legitimize the latter as a means of addressing the former….

      1. Yes. I’ve always been confused about why someone could be criticized and cancelled for writing a word like “N-“something, even with asterisks, even in a context where it was clear the person was not being derogatory in that use.

        But reading this post, it struck me that by putting the details of these so-called “racist” incidents beyond discussion, one can basically issue one of these pro forma “Dean’s Letters” about anything, avoid any mention of what actually happened in the name of decency and respectfulness, and get rid of anyone you find unpleasant.

        Imagine if the Dean’s letter had to actually *state* the case against the professor. How absolutely stupid would he sound?

    3. “I absolutely cannot believe that anyone complaining is acting in good faith.”

      It should be obvious that the Dean is not acting in good faith either.

      And academic institutions rely on integrity. If universities are dishonest, they are useless.

      1. As a group, they ARE dishonest, and hence, QED….

        1. As a group, you ARE stupid.

    4. santamonica811, you are absolutely right. One question: why is that the student complaint only hits a 6 on your it-bothers-me scale? I don’t think they should be given any sort of pass because they are students. We are speaking of college students, not students in a grammar school. And we are talking about a student group, not individual students, which means, I would think, that they had to deliberate about their stance before they took it. Last we are talking about student groups seeking the dismissal of a faculty member, which is, of course, a very serious matter. Given all of that, I think they deserve a 10, at the least, on your scale. Otherwise, you are mollycoddling them (not cock swaddling, but mollycoddling).

      1. Fair question. It’s lower because I expect more from college student than I do from grade-school students. BUT, I expect much much much much more from administrators…people who have higher degrees and have made a conscious decision to go into academia as a career. The fact that these people (who *really* should know better, and who have a lifetime of experience dealing with issues like academic freedom) failed this crucible is what blows my disappointment past the 10/10 level. I had thought about calling it an 11 (a la Spinal Tap). But no; I’m even more pissed about this.

        I would hope that a father would run into the shallow waters to try and rescue his 5-year-old kid who was drowning. But if the professional lifeguards refused to do the same thing, I’d be even more angry. Protecting the free speech rights of students and faculty is one of the raison d’etre for these types of administrators.

        1. First among “the raison[s] d’être for these types of administrators” is creative fundraising.

    5. I mostly disagree with you santamonica811 (and will continue to) but in this case your fairness, evenhandedness and rationality must be noted.

      Kudos.

      1. Heh. As you note; we’re almost never in agreement. But you’re always gracious.

    6. Believing in free speech DOES NOT imply that people are not permitted to take note of what you say/said, aren’t allowed to be offended by it, or aren’t allowed to complain about it.

      1. free speech . . . offended . . . complain

        The extensive post you plucked the words “free speech” from was about people acting in bad faith because they’re so hellbent on making a pet point.

        Pretty ironic.

        1. So you didn’t understand what I said. That’s not ironic.

        2. “The extensive post you plucked the words “free speech” from was about people acting in bad faith because they’re so hellbent on making a pet point.”

          The “extensive” comment I replied to has 4 paragraphs in it.

          1. The “extensive” comment I replied to has 4 [sic] paragraphs in it.

            Paragraphs? One of a number of more meaningful ways to characterize its length would be nearly 300 words. About half the length of a typical college application essay.

            As another point of reference, it’s more than 25 times the number of words you spent showing us you can’t even count on your fingers accurately.

    7. How about if he was criticizing the Brazilian governments response to covid-19, and he used the similar “Brazilian Cock and Bull”?

      Nobody would call him out for a racial motive.

      Now of course Cock swaddle has a much more course meaning clearly that meaning fits more naturally as to criticizing government obsfucation than a racial slur:
      “The act of wrapping up your pud during masturbation with any sort of cloth or fabric (preferably soft and disposable) so that the inevitable sticky, messy load is confined and easily disposed of.”

      It’s no more racist than calling a Chinese Communist Party conclave a ‘circle jerk’.

      1. No, if the professor used the term in his class, it would have a “course” meaning. [rimshot] Thank you; I’ll be here all week.

        1. Yeah well I obviously learned about in a sex education course, hence its course meaning.

          1. You got one of those sex-education course that contained more than “don’t do it”? Must not have had Republicans running your your school board.

            1. Well actually I’m old enough to have gotten my sex education in the gutter, not in school, and it’s served me well.

  2. Totalitarians gotta attack. Always.

  3. Many people on the left have been consistently claiming that terminology like “Chinese virus” is a slur against the Chinese ethnicity, even to the point of blaming Trump for the recent increase in anti-Asian violence.

    President Biden even tweeted such a suggestion recently.

    Of course, even if you assume that the association with the virus is the cause of the recent uptick in violence, I don’t see why you should assume that referring to the virus as the “Chinese virus” is more likely to cause violence than simply pointing out that the virus originated in China.

    1. The people of Lyme, Connecticut must live in constant fear.

      1. And of course check out the many references to the “South African strain” of COVID — but heaven forbid that it should be the “South African strain of the Wuhan virus” (or “… of the Chinese virus”).

        1. Or Africans who live along the river named Ebola…

          1. Not to mention those people who live along the west Nile

        2. Heh. When the controversy over naming covid/wuhan/whatever virus emerged, people pointed out that geographic naming was common (Rift Valley Fever, Marburg Fever, Ebola, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and on and on). Huffpo huffily put out an article saying that 2015 WHO Guidelines meant that geographic naming was OK then, but racist now. So…

          1. …I did a google search for ‘”south african strain” site:huffpost.com’ and they no longer seem to have a problem with geograpic naming.

            For the record, the correct nomenclature for the S**** A**** variant is ‘B.1.351’.

            1. Or British variant, or Brazilian variant.

              God help us all, now there is a NY variant, but maybe we should call it the Cuomo variant to make sure it’s not percieved as Anti-semetic.

          2. If Trump had not used the phrase Chinese virus, no one would have had a problem with it. Several news outfits used that term before it was decided that it must condemned as racist. Why? For only one reason: it was another way to criticize Trump.

            1. Yes and no. One of the downsides to being a racist for decades, and for uttering lots of racist (or, at best, racially tinged and insensitive) comments is that you get a reputation and people start looking at everything you say through that lens. Fair? Well, probably not. But it’s super-common, and I think that it says more about human psychology than about anything else.

              I do agree that, after Trump started saying it, lots of people got very invested in finding nefarious motives and ascribing them to Trump. I’m not sure what the analog to “Boy Who Cried Wolf” is. But, while it may have been unfair, it was also totally predictable. If Hillary had been elected president and had then made some sort of comment about middle America, tons of people would have referred back to her “deplorables” comment and would have used that past comment to color their perception of her newer comment. Simple psychology (or social anthropology, or whatever).

              1. Now do Joe Biden, who’s history of racist comments and racist inspired legislation extends a lot further back.

                1. Not sure you get to try and attack Biden from the left, Kaz.

                  Do you think it was racist legislation, or are you arguing in bad faith?

                  1. Real anti-racism is a conservative value, some of the best American Presidents on civil rights were Lincoln (except for southern sympathizers), Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower. The worst Presidents were Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.

                    1. Do you think it was racist legislation, or are you arguing in bad faith?

            2. If Trump had not used the phrase Chinese virus, no one would have had a problem with it. Several news outfits used that term before it was decided that it must condemned as racist. Why? For only one reason: it was another way to criticize Trump.

              No, that’s not accurate; indeed, it gets things entirely backwards.

              News outlets originally described coronavirus as Chinese (or, more commonly, Wuhan) as a geographical descriptor of where the illness actually was — no different than saying, e.g., “the Icelandic volcano” — before it was named. Once it was formally named, they started using the formal name.

              They didn’t start labeling the use of these terms racist because Trump said them. Trump started saying them because they had labeled the use of these terms racist. He wanted to be called racist, because him being called racist was appealing to his based. And then Trump stopped using the term when he was desperately trying to get China to rescue his economically illiterate trade policy by agreeing to buy American farm products.

              1. That’s total nonsense.

                1. That post isn’t opinion, it’s facts.

                  I didn’t follow the history, maybe it is wrong. But you need to point to where the facts are wrong.

                  1. It’s not facts, there are no cites, it’s pure opinion.

                  2. These are facts?

                    “Trump started saying them because they had labeled the use of these terms racist. He wanted to be called racist, because him being called racist was appealing to his based. And then Trump stopped using the term when he was desperately trying to get China to rescue his economically illiterate trade policy by agreeing to buy American farm products.”

                    That’s a narrative that purports to read Trump’s mind, and is an insult to his followers, plain and simple.

                    What the heck are you talking about, “facts?” Holy cow.

                    1. Maybe not pure alleged facts, but plenty of them. A timeline of both Trump and the media ripe for counterexamples.
                      Enough to engage with more than your no-effort.

                      You can tell because you actually brought legit arguments this time – i.e. the speculative telepathy objection. That’s a good argument – I’m fond of it myself.

            3. “If Trump had not used the phrase Chinese virus, no one would have had a problem with it. ”

              Hey, didja hear the news? Suddenly, HCQ works against COVID.

        3. The issue is not the accuracy or suitability, it’s that it’s not the standard term, and people choosing to use another term are doing so for a reason.

          Said reason being blaming performative negative nationalism.

          1. “The issue is not the accuracy or suitability, it’s that it’s not the standard term, and people choosing to use another term are doing so for a reason.”

            One potential reason is that people using the term wish, for whatever reason, to blame the Chinese government for the virus.

            1. Pretty ambiguous choice of phrasing, then.

              1. It’s only ambiguous if you’re highly motivated.

      2. Actually they should. Lyme disease is now rampant in the CT and neighboring states.

      3. “The people of Lyme, Connecticut must live in constant fear.”

        Imagine how it must be for the residents of Lyme who also happen to be Legionnaires!

    2. As George Carlin reminded us, context, context, context. The words by themselves are harmless.

      That being said, I think the tone (look at the videos) and use of “Kung Flu” by Trump establishes a context of racial bias (noting, that conclusion is specific to Trump, not other uses of “Chinese virus”).

      1. “That being said, I think the tone (look at the videos) and use of “Kung Flu” by Trump establishes a context of racial bias…”

        It looked like political bias to me.

        1. It looked a lot like desperate flailing to me, as Herr Trumpfenfuhrer looked for anyone, anyone at all, to take the blame for why the US was suffering from a pandemic he wasn’t prepared to deal with.

      2. Or a sense of humor.

        Chinese cooties is my favorite.

        1. That is pretty f’ing funny = Chinese Cooties

    3. “Many people on the left have been consistently claiming that terminology like ‘Chinese virus’ is a slur against the Chinese ethnicity, even to the point of blaming Trump for the recent increase in anti-Asian violence. ”

      It’s racist and unAmerican. Which part of that fact pattern suggests anybody other than the Donald?

      1. “It’s racist and unAmerican.”

        What’s racist and unAmerican? Mentioning that the virus originated in China? Referring to the virus as the Chinese Virus?

        Neither or these is racist or un-American. TDS has simply cause some people to shut their brains off.

        1. The purpose of using nonstandard terminology is either

          1) infantile anti-Chinese animus.
          2) owning the libs

          Either is pretty dumb.

          1. Being Anti-Chinese government is not infantile any more than being Anti-South African government was in the 80’s, or being Anti-Soviet during the cold war, or even being Anti-Russian now.

            Referring to a countries government by the Countries name is not racist, it’s long accepted practice. But maybe you do think the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Venuzeulans, and North Koreans are racist for being Anti-American, and you should make it clear by condemning them for racism for their Anti-American rhetoric.

          2. “1) infantile anti-Chinese animus.
            2) owning the libs

            Either is pretty dumb.”

            No, #2 is awesome.

            Wrt #1, are you suggesting that the animus is against the Chinese people and not the Chinese government?

            There are certainly good reasons to have animus against the Chinese government, both related to their handling of the virus and for other reasons. I have no idea why you would call animus toward a genocidal regime “infantile”.

            1. You know as well as I that the line between a country, it’s people, and it’s government gets mighty blurry when nationalism is involved.

              Not to mention that most of those blaming the Chinese Government are spouting speculative nonsense.

              1. Except that China hid the existence of SARS_CoV-2 for at least 2 months while letting people travel out of Hubei.
                “You know as well as I that the line between a country, it’s people, and it’s government gets mighty blurry when nationalism is involved.”
                I don’t buy it here S0.

              2. “You know as well as I that the line between a country, it’s people, and it’s government gets mighty blurry when nationalism is involved.”

                Depends on the context, and you haven’t made a case that it’s blurry in this context. Presumably because you have no case to make.

        2. ” TDS has simply cause some people to shut their brains off.”

          Which causes the Trump fans to complain, as that is THEIR thing.

  4. Would a university admissions department giving Chinese applicants low personality scores give cover to anti-Chinese racism?

    1. Both China and the Woke have a social credit score system. If you say things that piss off the power structure, you are hurt economically by being forbidden to ger loans or rent (China) or have a job (Woke US).

      1. Get real. The good-ol’-boy network can’t wait to hand jobs to people who piss off the woke power structure. Just look at the great job that Dick Cheney arranged for GW Bush.

    2. Or a school board VP who closes predominantly Asian schools, says that Asians use white supremicist thinking to get ahead, and calls Asians house niggers?

    3. Absolutely. The woke bigots that accuse Asians of white supremacy traits are going to act as their biggest defenders if the can convince them that they are being targeted by whites.

      1. “if the can convince them that they are being targeted by whites.”

        Why on Earth would any Asian think they were being targeted by whites?

        1. Well that’s what my wife and her friends wonder, she and most of her friends are recent Asian immigrants, and they are scratching their heads thinking people are taking crazy pills.

          On the news the other night we saw congresswomen Judy Chu blaming Trump for the Atlanta Spa murders, I didn’t say a thing because it’s par for the course, but my wife started yelling at the TV “Is she crazy, how is it Trump’s fault?”.

          1. Awesome anecdote.

            1. I thought so too.

  5. I can’t help but think this is inspired or even ordered by Chinese government agents to keep up the Chinese governments propaganda effort related the Chinese origin of the virus.

    From the beginning the Chinese government has made strenuous efforts to keep the virus from becoming associated with China. They have intimidated the WHO. A Chinese government official even floated the idea that the virus originated with US military personnel in China. I had heard some vague reports that the virus may have originated in other countries and then spread to China, I don’t doubt these stories were started by the Chinese government.

    Yet today we commonly talk about the UK variant, South African variant, the Brazilian variant or even the California variants of the same virus which originally surfaced in Wuhan China.

    Every use of the words Chinese and China above is intended to mean the Chinese Government. I don’t generally believe the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

    1. “They have intimidated the WHO.”

      Yeah, I remember the Director General of the WHO Acting like he was in a hostage situation and eventually refusing to acknowledge that the coronavirus response in Taiwan was handled by a different authority than in China.

      The organization has no credibility, and we shouldn’t be funding it.

      Or if we fund it, we should make sure that crap like this doesn’t happen.

  6. I think it DID escape from a lab in Wuhan — I just don’t think it happened intentionally.

    I know how corrupt China is, and I’m thinking stolen lab animals sold for food.

    1. It wouldn’t have to be theft of lab animals either. The Wuhan Lab was doing research on corona virus vaccines using bats as lab animals.

      Early on there were reports that the lab had repeated safety violations involving lab techs and researchers getting bit by the bats.

      Lab tech gets COVID from a bat bite and then goes shopping in the crowded wet market.

      1. True — but it’s just how seriously corrupt China is.

        I’ve had Chinese students — once they realized that they could trust me — tell me that *they* thought that China was approaching a revolution because the cost of the corruption was bringing down the economy. And when I asked “why”, I was told — and that caught my attention…

        1. I’ve had Chinese students

          Uh huh.

          Did they tell you that there was going to be a trucker’s strike there, too?

          1. I’m not sure why you think this claim is implausible. They just pretty much put down a revolution in Hong Kong.

            1. Ed has talked a lot about being in educational staff, not about having students.

              1. Ed’s done both, but what do you think educational staff *do*?

        2. “I’ve had Chinese students — once they realized that they could trust me”

          So… never happened, by your own words.

    2. I think it DID escape from a lab in Wuhan

      What is the value of the opinion of someone who is neither intelligent nor knowledgeable on the subject?

      1. Same as usual.

      2. Sometimes more valuable than the opinion of a government functionary paid to obscure the truth of a subject.

  7. For nearly 3 years we heard allegations about Russian collusion and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Was there an uptick in violence against Russian Americans? I wonder why not…

    1. Russians are harder to spot in a crowd. They look like white guys.

      1. You can’t tell the difference between an Irishman and a Slav? I bet you think all Africans look alike too.

    2. For way more than 3 years, we heard allegations of Russian interference in US elections. apparently, you weren’t paying attention until 2016.

    3. For what it’s worth, here’s my take. Culturally, Asians are thought to be more docile, thus the abuse they take in the inner cities, and in general. Russians have what is the curse or blessing of ‘Crazy Russian’ on their side. Then, there’s the fact that most keyboard ‘warriors’ are risk & conflict averse, except on the internet. This has been changing a bit over the past few decades, but with the fear of the virus, seems to be shifting again. Then, there’s the likelihood that there was 0 connection between supposed (for those that can read minds & determine motivation and causality based on their own biases) racist language and alleged racist action.

  8. Willfully misinterpreted to distract from the real issue. Do any of these groups that complain take money directly or indirectly from the Chinese Communist Party? It sure does appear that these groups are nothing more than an extention of Chinese propaganda.

    “Cocktail swaddle” does appear in the urban dictionary. It doesn’t mean what one might assume, but it fits in the sentence nonetheless.

    1. ” It sure does appear that these groups are nothing more than an extention of Chinese propaganda.”

      You know, those people all look alike anyway.

  9. Does this professor have tenure?

    1. Cal Cetin: Yes, he does. But tenure isn’t as secure these days as some may assume, see, e.g., the Tim Boudreau / Central Michigan University situation.

      1. Well, I may not be an expert in the ins and outs of tenure, but tenure protection ought at least to mean your Dean doesn’t prejudge your case – yet here’s the Dean concluding that the prof “us[ed] offensive language in reference to people from China.”

        Or perhaps the Dean is separate from the hearing panel – there *is* a hearing panel, isn’t there?

      2. Professor Volokh — it’s a hell of a lot better than not having it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      3. “Cal Cetin: Yes, he does. But tenure isn’t as secure these days as some may assume”

        Keep in mind, prof., that most people don’t actually understand how tenure works in the first place.

    2. It may not matter. Being accused in this sort of business is proximate to firing and to being labelled as unclean.

  10. For what it’s worth, this is a Catholic school, and the Pope often acts like he’s in bed with China – this may be a coincidence of course.

    1. UPDATE: I did not mean the Pope literally shares sleeping accommodations with China or any other country.

      1. Sounds uncomfortable.

      2. No, you meant that the Pope sleeps with every single Chinese person, singly or in groups. We heard your dogwhistle, loud and clear.

  11. Ironic that over the past two days colleges and universities have been rushing to issue statements condemning “anti-Asian discrimination,” while at the same time unabashedly discriminating against Asians in the admissions process. Harvard University–the most famous discriminator in that regard–sent out just such an email yesterday.

    1. “Now, we don’t mean we’d go so far as to admit all your qualified children to our institution – come on, know your place! We mean we don’t think you should be murdered, and we’re not ashamed to publish our courageous opinion for all to see!”

      1. “PS – be sure to keep voting Democrat if you want more of the same sort of blessings you’ve been getting.”

    2. They have been discriminating agains American applicants of Asian descent, while actively recruiting Chinese nationals.

      USD is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party. (Google the scandals.)

  12. “In context, it seems clear that the post’s reference to “Chinese” is indeed a reference to the Chinese government, not to people of Chinese extraction.”

    Perhaps next time, the guy will be more careful to be specific as to who, exactly, he wishes to criticize.

    1. Perhaps, next time, he will simply praise the efficient and courageous Chinese government and its totally above-board handling of the coronavirus.

    2. Well maybe yeah, but that is no excuse now for the people attacking him and calling for his firing to pretend it wasn’t clear enough.

      1. Just because it wasn’t. It’s also popular to label people who criticize the government of Israel as “antisemitic”.

    3. Perhaps next time, the guy will be more careful to be specific as to who, exactly, he wishes to criticize.

      If you didn’t want this post of yours to be criticized as anti-semitic, you should have phrased it differently.

      1. Hadn’t gotten here yet. when I wrote my comment above at 8:40

  13. Sounds like a lot of cock swaddle from the dean and from his law school. (I wonder if my “offensive language” and display of “bias” may be expected to lead to an surge of violence against law school deans.)

    1. If anyone was paying you to teach them, it might.

  14. Now, assume your dean insinuates you were racist against people of Chinese descent when in reality you simply criticized the government of the People’s Republic of China.

    Would that be defamation?

    1. Work through the elements of defamation. Do you have a false statement of fact that is published to others, which causes money damages?

  15. Glad the author mentioned the Gay Law Students Case – I also think that case would prohibit firing for saying “all lives matter” and similar.

    I think that the same people who think it is racist against Chinese Americans to say nasty things about China think saying nasty things about Israel is not racist against Jewish Americans (I think it’s OK to say nasty things about both, for the record.)

  16. Here’s how these conversations always end for me: what, are you 5?

  17. For a while there I thought maybe there was a colloquialism about rooster’s wattles. I would have recommended instead asking, “What’s the matter, General Tso? Chicken?”

  18. Well, you know _O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, _ a popular movie by the Coen Brothers, had the word “Hogwallop” in it as the last name of one of our heroes. I was shocked at such a vulgarity. Shame! Shame! Shame!

    Can you imagine? Disgusting. Every time I think of that movie, although it had the Soggy Bottom Boys singing _I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,_ I get a bitter taste in my mouth.

    The Coen Brothers have never apologized.

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