This essay aims to describe a specific set of behaviors that I will label scientific fascism.

I am aware that the term fascist is overused in contemporary discourse, describing political administrations we don’t like or people we don’t like. It amounts to a slur, devoid of any connection to what fascism has meant politically and historically. I am aware of these concerns and do not take them lightly. I am attempting to describe a modern phenomenon. I do not imagine any goosestepping Nazis. It is also specific to a particular segment of society — individuals engaged in the culture wars. Nevertheless, to the extent that these attitudes and behaviors become more prevalent, this phenomenon has the political consequences of maintaining social inequalities and erasing the experiences of minority groups from public discourse.

I am a professor at a university in the American South. I am in my sixth year there. In that time, I have served on numerous hiring committees. For readers outside of academia, hiring a new faculty member is an extensive vetting process that can take several months. You are hiring someone who may be there for decades. After being a member of so many committees, I have gained a good understanding of the hiring process.

I am also a black faculty member. I have observed with keen interest the often-ineffective efforts at my university to recruit black faculty. I have been an integral part of the discussions around this issue. These discussions have only increased in recent years. I have become a tenured member of the faculty and expected to participate in university governance. …

Consider two social policies.

The first policy — a race, or identity-based policy, makes scholarship funds available only for Latinx students. Students qualify through some way of providing their Latinx ancestry. The second policy — a class-based policy, makes scholarship funds available for needy students. Students qualify for the scholarship by demonstrating economic need.

Which policy is best?

As an antiracist, I believe that race-based policies in a multicultural society are necessary. However, I and other antiracists have likely heard people say — “shouldn’t we just focus on class?”

Image for post
Image for post
Should we focus on Latinx identity or economic conditions? (Image from Cigna.com)

In the past, the standard response for me has always been to evoke history and context, arguing that we need race-based policies to redress the past’s wrongs. One problem with this line of reasoning is that the counterargument “two wrongs don’t make a right” sits well with me and aligns with my moral compass. I don’t think unequal treatment in the future is justifiable because of injustices in the past. I need a different justification than “redressing past wrongs.” I prefer to develop an argument that focuses more on “producing new rights.” …

In this racially charged period in American history, many people will suggest that “we need to stop thinking about skin color.” I call these folks individualists.

For individualists, skin color is a proxy for ethnic or racial (ethnoracial) identity. It is not that the person is saying that a Chinese American person should stop thinking about their yellow skin. They are saying that person should stop identifying (or at the least de-emphasize) their identification with the group “Chinese-American.”

When that person says “we,” he is talking about the individual and society as a whole. Our institutions and our social policies need to stop imposing an identity onto someone based on their skin color, they say. Just because you have a particular skin color does not mean you must belong to any coherent group called black or Asian and share any connection with others who share that color. …

Most white people will say they do not see color. However, it is apparent from data on voting patterns, residential patterns, dating practices, and other decisions grounded in individual choices that white Americans as a group are indeed making choices with race in mind.

How does one explain the paradox of the individual white person proclaiming that they do not see or act on race, yet when we look broadly at white people’s behavior, we detect clear and consistent patterns?

The straightforward answer is that white is the default racial identity in the United States and other multiracial European countries. Because it is the default identity, it is seen as neutral and non-racial. Therefore, while we can observe at a group level white people acting in racialized ways, the individual white person is often not cognizant they are acting racially. …

At some point in a conversation about racial inequality, an anti-racist will have this question posed to them by a skeptic:

“There are so many black folks in the NBA. Why is the NBA is not seen as racist?”

Of course, it is manifestly true that black players dominate the National Basketball Association (NBA). Just look at the basketball court. I had difficulty finding hard data from an original source, but a reference from Wikipedia reports that the racial composition in 2015 was 74 percent Black, 23 percent White, 2 percent Latino, and 0.2 percent Asian-American.

I will focus on Asian-American in the NBA. They are only 0.2 percent of the NBA but are 5.6 percent of the total American population. There is a clear disparity. Also, I was personally excited by the splash that Asian-American point guard Jeremy Lin made in the NBA in 2012. …

Anti-racists make the argument that when we see disparities by race, this is evidence of racism. This is true in the broadest of terms, but I am not a big fan of this blanket statement. When we ask questions about different groups, we realize that the issue is more complex. Some groups have experienced racism, and some have not. Moreover, the disparities may have a historical root cause in racism for some groups, but there may not currently be the same impact in the present. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

People interested in entering the growing field of cybercrime investigations can gain a leg up on the competition by learning how to use a hex editor. To “hex edit” means to make changes to the raw binary data — 1’s and 0’s — on a computer. “Hex” is short for “hexadecimal,” something I will discuss shortly. A hex editor is an application that presents the raw data of a file and allows the user to edit that data. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

Asymmetric cryptography, also called public key cryptography, is an essential element of a secure cyberspace. However, understanding asymmetric cryptography can be challenging for people who are not familiar with computer science or cybersecurity principles. This article is written for the non-techie who wants to understand public key cryptography.

Symmetric Cryptography

When two parties (two people, two computers, two companies, etc.) wish to communicate sensitive information with each other, they will need some way to hide that information as it travels from sender to receiver. One way is to take the original data, which we will call plaintext, and convert it into a message that cannot be understood, which we will call ciphertext. Some type of method is used to make this conversion. It can be as simple as a set of steps “switch the first letter of the word with the last letter of the word,” to a more complex mathematical formula.

The ideas in IDW spaces are “soft racism” because they protect white people from acknowledging the modern anti-racist consensus

Image for post
Image for post
Joe Rogan’s (Left) “The Joe Rogan Experience” is one of the world’s most popular podcasts. His guest Ben Shapiro (Right) is a popular conservative pundit with a large following of his own. This particular podcast, #1276, garnered over 9 million views on YouTube. Rogan is a liberal supporting Bernie Sanders and Shapiro is a conservative — both exhibit elements of soft racism.

A few years ago, the term the Intellectual Dark Web, or IDW, became popular. It described a network of intellectuals, pundits, and their followers on social media. Some of the more notable members of the IDW in no particular order are Jordan Peterson, Bret and Eric Weinstein, Heather Heying, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, James Lindsay, Deborah So, Sam Harris, Christina Hoff Sommers, Glenn Loury, Claire Lehman, Ben Shapiro, and Joe Rogan.

I am using the IDW as a convenient starting point. However, I do not think the term has as much import as it used to have when it was trending in 2019. Moreover, there are hundreds if not thousands of lesser-known content creators who also generate and communicate similar ideas (although there is no doubt of the influence of a Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, or Joe Rogan). …

About

Roderick Graham

Rod is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Old Dominion University. https://www.youtube.com/c/roderickgraham

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store