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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Malice: STEM students mock trans survey

Asked their gender, race and disability status, a surprising number of engineering and computer science students identify as military helicopters, report Oregon State researchers. That means they're fascists, according to Attack Helicopters and White Supremacy, published in the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies.

AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter

Oregon State University researchers set to survey transgender and gender non-conforming (TNGC) engineering/CS students, but academic journals rejected their paper. Instead, they wrote a paper on "malicious" responses in 50 out of 349 questionnaires.

Twenty-four percent of malicious responders said their gender was a helicopter or aircraft, ranging from an "Apache Attack Helicopter" to a "V22 Osprey," the paper reported.

Respondents were offered a $5 gift card for filling out the survey. One respondent filled in "gift card" as a gender, "ethnic gift card" as a racial/ethnic identity and "I don’t have enough gift cards" as a disability.

Researchers concluded that sarcastic and offensive responses are evidence that "fascist ideologues" are "living 'inside the house' of engineering and computer science," writes Alexander Hall on Fox News

"Online memes associated with white nationalist and fascist movements were present throughout the data, alongside memes and content referencing gaming and ‘nerd’ culture," the researchers wrote.

A graduate student who served as the primary data analyst suffered "personal distress," researchers complained. "As a transgender woman who was already in therapy for anxiety and depression regarding online anti-trans rhetoric," she had to take time off the project "to heal from traumatic harm."

Is this a hoax? I thought so at first, but the authors and the journal seem to exist. If it's a hoax, somebody went to a lot of work.

The paper quotes serious objections to the project, such as "My skin color is not important" and "Everyone is a grab bag of genetics from all over the world." One response is quoted in full:

… I believe that is what is wrong with higher education. Students should be taught to focus on their chosen field and not their gender. In my program I’m sure there are students that fall into the categories you are researching, but their performance is how they are judged. Stop trying to push gender and convince people that they are more important or discriminated against because how they identify. Let people choose their own path and don’t force them into fields because you think a group isn’t represented enough. In today’s world people can be what they want to be regardless of their gender or race, all you’re doing is propagating a stereotype and pushing a divide between groups. Also, the fact that you are funded by the NSF is an enormous waste and not science, that money could be used for real research that could actually better things.

NSF stands for the National Science Foundation.

The academics prescribe "social justice STEM education" that includes "perspectives on online hate radicalization and center anti-colonial, intersectional solidarity organizing as its opposition" to counter fascism in engineering.

Engineers, they noted, "frequently work in fields such as fossil fuels, defense, construction, and technology upon graduation, and could be taught about these field’s relationships with national and global racial capitalism and ongoing apartheid in Palestine, as an example."

At this point, I went back to my original suspicions: It's got to be a parody.

All five authors describe themselves as "queer," four as transgender and three as disabled. Four of the five authors are transgender, and the fifth is "white, cisgender, queer, and disabled." The only non-white author is "light-skinned, multiracial (Indigenous/Black/white), queer, trans feminine, and disabled."

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