Photo edit of a Teenage girl angry after being silenced. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Pop Acta.
Photo edit of a Teenage girl angry after being silenced. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Pop Acta.

The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies recently published a controversial paper, initiated by a group of researchers from Oregon State University. Their original intent was to understand the experiences of LGBTQ students in STEM fields. The unexpected twist, however, came from the array of responses that the survey received – a mix of sarcasm, irreverence, and humor. Nevertheless, according to the far-left perspective, the students’ game responses were labeled as “fascism.”

The researchers categorized 50 out of 349 responses as “malicious,” due to perceived slurs, hate speech, or perceived direct targeting of the research team. Surprisingly, these light-hearted, albeit irreverent responses prompted the research team to reorient their study towards analyzing these responses within the broader scope of the engineering culture.

The study, bearing the provocative title “Attack Helicopters and White Supremacy: Interpreting Malicious Responses to an Online Questionnaire about Transgender Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Student Experiences,” attempted to link humor with underlying themes such as demographics, diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), gender, anti-trans sentiment, racism, antisemitism, and “online hate subculture references.”

The responses, ranging from quirky claims of identifying as “attack helicopters,” to humorous assertions of being an ‘ethnic gift card’, have stirred significant debate within academic circles. Many interpret these responses as a series of jests, while a small base of academics view it as an indication of growing “online fascism” within academia, particularly in engineering and computer science.

The researchers grappled with deciphering these comical taunts and advocated a serious retort through “social justice STEM education,” urging the academic community to combat hate radicalization and promote anti-colonial, intersectional solidarity. However, many pointed out that ridiculing certain beliefs should not be labeled as “fascism” or similar extremism; instead, it should be seen as critique. Furthermore, it can be argued that since only a small minority of the population held the outraged students’ beliefs, it was illogical to categorize the majority as fascists or extremists—rather, the majority represented the norm.

Despite these arguments, many have questioned the legitimacy of this response, wondering if the researchers might have mistaken humor for hostility. The responses often harked back to internet references from around the 2010s “gamer-gate era,” with the most notable being “I identify as an attack helicopter,” a satirical jab at non-binary genders.

Essentially, the joke sought to raise the question: If one can be taken seriously when identifying as anything, even an animal, then why not other identities such as an attack helicopter?

Consider this scenario: Would you rather witness your child coming home from school, engaging in cringy jokes by identifying as an “attack helicopter,” or returning with doubts about their sexuality due to the influence of their teacher? The answer seems clear to most individuals as childlike humor is a natural part of growing up, while teachers taking on the role of sexuality instructors appears peculiar and highly unethical.

The reactions that provoked the exaggerated “outrage” and crocodile tears were by no means associated with “online fascism.” In many instances, these responses were humorous, and the most significant takeaway from the students’ reactions is the rejection of extreme academic ideologies, even if some students pretend to conform to far-left ideas.

When the students were given the opportunity to express their views anonymously, they did so, revealing that academia might need to reconsider their far-left ideology since most students find it unreasonable. When the risk of students getting into trouble is removed, their genuine beliefs are more likely to come to the surface.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *