Actual Wisdom: Gary Okihiro

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Tonight’s Actual Wisdom: Gary Okihiro, Comparative Ethnics professor and expert on the Department of Social Formations, humility, and how many times a person can die. 

That Hawaiian shirt is all of the cools

1. Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer.

Throughout my over thirty-year career, I’ve had to justify my field of study, comparative ethnic studies, repeatedly. Now I’ve got to justify my existence?

2. Your claim to fame (what makes you special?):

I am the sole member of Columbia’s Department of Social Formations. I serve as the department’s chair, secretary, faculty member, and dog walker of the department’s chair.

3. What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience?

College administrators told me God was not pleased with interracial dating.

4. What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard?

“My grandmother died.” But, four times in a single semester?

5. Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?

Easily, cheese. Oral sex teaches us humility. It is best performed on one’s knees.

6. Back in my day…

Back in my day, Columbia was a temple of pure learning. Since 1968, the barbarians have overrun the place.

7. Three things you learned at Columbia:

The core curriculum is God’s gift to (hu)mankind. God is not pleased when we tamper with the core. The core is God’s gift to (hu)mankind.

8. What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general?

Be extremely skeptical of advice.

Gary Okihiro via Gary Okihiro

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  1. hmm  

    clever answers. snarky bastard. but...does it only teach women humility? Or does he do it differently than I have...? Or have I been misguided?

  2. Anonymous  

    he sassy as fuqqq

  3. Former student of Okihiro  

    I took Professor Okihiro's "Intro to Ethnic Studies" class back in the fall of 2009. And he is one of the most brilliant and nicest professors I've been taught by during my time here. The intellectual content of ethnic studies is very politically charged but Professor Okihiro's personality always made the atmosphere light-hearted, which made for a more honest and transparent dialogue for students to participate in. I wish I could take his course again. It was such a remarkable experience and changed the way I thought about race, class, etc. Please take his class. You'll love it!!!!

  4. Anonymous

    This chinese guy seems pretty cool. What classes does he teach??

  5. CC'11

    Keep fighting the good fight for comparative ethnic studies! I can't look at you the same, though, after #5....

  6. Anonymous

    my mind blows up every time i try to take "don't take people's advice" advice

  7. yeah.

    how heteronormative of you. obvs, GYO is thinking outside of and beyond these social paradigms.

  8. umm


  9. UCSC Slug

    I will NEVER forget this joker.

    He got the students at UCSC all riled up to get him "hired" there but the joke was on them. He just used their fury to get a better gig Not At UCSC. He played them so good.

    Ah well if it isn't on the Internet or if the Millennials don't recall, it never happened, RIGHT?


  10. Anonymous  

    brilliant man, wonderful professor, amazing human being.

  11. Japanese Hawaiian American  

    I thought his comparative ethnic study of Pearl Harbour was tragically ironic

  12. Student  

    This guy changed my whole view on education and life. He's awesome.

  13. Anonymous  

    LOVE THIS GUY. Intro to Comparative Ethnic Studies was a bummer while I was in it--mostly because I just didn't want to do the reading. But I can honestly say it is one of the most valuable classes I've ever taken. DO IT.

  14. Ethnic Studies Student  

    What I've learned from Okihiro's class:

    The oral sex answer is oppressing me as a marginalized member of society, forced into subservience by the colonialist mentality of the fellatio-receiver.



  16. kaneohe boy

    it's called an aloha shirt

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