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The upcoming Latino Education and Advocacy Days Summit, a study on the benefits of homeownership and one expert’s perspective on the March 22 London attack and hate crimes make up this entry of Cal State San Bernardino faculty who were in the news recently.
The Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa interviewed Enrique Murillo Jr., director and founder of Latino Education and Advocacy Days at Cal State San Bernardino, about the upcoming LEAD VIII Summit, set for Thursday, March 30 at the university. The free, day-long summit will feature panel discussions and presentations, and is part of LEAD Week, a series of programs and events that focus on education.
The article, published March 23, may be read, in Spanish, at “Platican sobre educación universitaria para Latinos.”
The 30-page report on the benefit of homeownership, written by Daniel MacDonald and Yasemin Dildar, both assistant professor of economics, was highlighted on two local news websites. The report, “California Homeownership and Sociological Factors,” took data on homeownership from each county and analyzed its relationship to each of these outcomes.
The report found that, on average, and after accounting for other factors such as unemployment and demographics (minority population size, age distribution, and family structure), counties with higher homeownership rates have significantly higher high school graduation rates, lower crime rates (both violent and property crime), and reduced poverty rates.
It also found that the positive relationships between high school graduation rates and homeownership are stronger for minority groups (Hispanics/Latinos and African Americans), lending weight to the claim that increased homeownership among minority groups can help narrow socioeconomic disparities and improve economic opportunities.
The website InlandEmpire.us published its article on March 23 under the headline “CSUSB study indicates homeownership leads to higher education, lower crime.” The High Desert Daily followed up on March 24 with “CSUSB study says homeownership leads to higher education and lower crime rates.”
The death of a New York City man by another man, which authorities said was racially motivated, along with an arrest in Israel related to bomb threats made to Jewish community centers in the U.S., the London terrorist attack and hate crime in general kept Brian Levin, professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, busy during the week.
On March 23, he wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News after the arrest of James Jackson, an avowed white supremacist, who is accused of fatally stabbing Timothy Caughman, 66-year-old African-American man, on March 20. The column said, in part: “The targeted murder of an innocent African-American man on the streets of Manhattan by a knife-wielding white supremacist — angered over interracial dating — is yet another chilling alarm that violent hate crime by bigots and hardened extremists is again on the rise.
“What remains in serious doubt is whether the Trump administration, and its Justice Department, led by one of the most vigorous opponents of federal hate crime law, is listening. The federal government has a duty to use its laws, resources and bully pulpit to address this growing scourge,” wrote Levin. “The attorney general previously argued that federal hate crime law is ‘a broad power that we give to the attorney general and a broad statute I don't believe is compelled by the facts that are happening in America today.’
“The FBI’s latest figures and ours hold otherwise.” Levin wrote.
The article may be read at “Trump administration must address U.S. hate crime spike especially after racist killing of innocent black man: expert.”
The Midtown Manhattan Patch included a study released by the center earlier in March, which indicated an increase in hate crimes in the U.S.’s largest cities, as part of its coverage of the crime. Hate crimes have increased in nine metropolitan areas since the campaign, and New York has reported the largest number — 380, a 24 percent increase from 2015, according to the study. Levin said his research indicates that by highlighting issues such as race, religion and national origin, the presidential election campaign could have influenced both the number of incidents and frequency of reporting them to police.
'That, coupled with significant coverage, might have encouraged two things to happen: Individuals who vary in motivation, from hardcore bigots to those just seeking a thrill, seeking something to do, as well as victims who felt that they should report this because they're not alone,' Levin said.
The article, published March 24, may be read at “Accused midtown killer stalked black men, planned Times Square massacre: reports.”
Levin’s attention was directed across the Atlantic Ocean when he was a guest on Fox 11 Los Angeles’ morning show, “Good Day LA.” He was invited on the show to discuss the March 22 attack in London, as well as the arrest of a suspect in Israel in the case of bomb threats being made against American Jewish community centers.
The video interview on March 23 can be viewed online at “Brian Levin discusses the UK Parliament attack in London.”
The arrest of a teenage Israeli-American for dozens of bomb threats against American Jewish institutions sent relief through Jewish communities Thursday, but raised new questions about the threats and a broader rise in anti-Semitism. Israeli police arrested the unidentified man — variously described as 18 or 19 years old — on suspicion of phoning in the bulk of the bomb threats, which have hit more than 100 Jewish centers in the United States since the beginning of the year.
But “it’s not always the stereotypical bigot,” Levin told the newspaper. “There are various types of offenders that commit these symbolic high profile acts, including the mentally unstable offender, those seeking personal benefit or revenge, thrill seekers, and those conflicted about their identity.”
He expressed concern that the arrest of a Jewish suspect would embolden the very people most likely to carry out anti-Semitic acts.
“Racists in the alt-right will play the ‘hate hoax’ angle of this from here on in,” he said.
The article, published March 23, may be read at “Arrest of Israeli-American for Jewish center bomb threats brings relief — and raises more questions.”
The online news site ProPublica interviewed Levin for its article on how hate groups are playing the publicity game to recruit new people to their causes. The nationalistic sentiment evident since the presidential campaign, complete with calls for mass deportations, Muslim bans and economic nationalism, has led in recent months to intense media coverage of a clearly emboldened array of white supremacist groups across the country. It’s a degree of attention that the groups seem to be enjoying.
Levin on one such group, Identity Europa. In a video, the group’s founder, Nathan Damigo, an Iraq War veteran who went to prison for robbing a cab driver at gunpoint in late 2007, called for people to download the group’s fliers and plaster their cities. Damigo’s group sells its propaganda for between $1.50 a sticker and $30 for a glossy poster. The posters make vague statements on civilization and European identity over photos of classic sculpture. At least one references President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” They make no mention that Damigo once chaired the National Youth Front, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says was tied to a Southern California skinhead group.
“It ends up a lot of times the stuff that would end up in a garbage can ends up as a free disseminated advertisement,” said Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB. “Damigo and all these other folks know that they’ll get publicity.”
The March 24, article may be read at “A 2-for-1 for racists: post hateful fliers, and revel in the news coverage.”
While the center’s new report shows an overall increase of nearly 22 percent in hate crimes reported in 2016 with 1,267 incidents, according to data collected from 10 major metropolitan areas, the Washington Post examined whether many of these cases will be brought to trial.
At U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s January nomination hearing, Democrats pressed him about his vote against the 2009 hate crimes law that created protections for people targeted because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Hate crimes, Sessions said, are being “prosecuted effectively in state courts where they would normally be expected to be prosecuted.”
Even so, said Levin, “We are extraordinarily concerned that there will be a significant cut in prosecutions, training, mediation, research and data collection initiatives,” at the federal level.
The article, published March 24, may be read at “Hateful acts may be rising, but will court cases follow?”
The center’s study was also part of a Wall Street Journal article about how U.S. lawmakers are reacting to the recent upsurge in hate incidents. There is debate about how much hate crime laws halt would-be criminals. Levin said hate crime laws are unlikely to deter “mission offenders” such as church shooter Dylann Roof, but can cause what academics call “thrill offenders” to think twice.
The article published March 23, may be read at “States move to strengthen laws in response to rise in hate crimes.”
Boston’s LBGT community experienced an increase in hate incidents, the Boston Globe reported. Levin recently analyzed reported hate crimes in 15 of the nation’s largest urban areas, including Boston. He found increases in nine of those cities, including a 62 percent surge in Washington, D.C., and a 50 percent jump in Philadelphia in 2016 compared with the previous year. Boston police reported that crimes against the LBGT community surpassed those aimed at Muslims, Jews, Latinos and Asians combined, the newspaper reported.
Nationally, blacks by far have been the most common victims of hateful acts for the past quarter-century, Levin said. Yet Levin is seeing an ominous spike in hateful acts against people in the LGBT community in several cities, including New York and Washington.
The article, published March, 22, may be read at “LGBT community top target for hate acts in Boston.”
And Levin was quoted by PolitiFact.com for its article about the Southern Poverty Law Center listing the Center for Immigration Studies on its list of hate groups. Levin, who worked for the SPLC 21 years ago, said the center is on 'thoroughly solid ground with their designation' of CIS as a hate group. Levin points to statements by the group’s founder, John Tanton, and Jason Richwine’s assertions about IQ and immigrants as qualifying criteria. He said that groups that don’t fit the traditional 'gutter realm' of bigotry — such as those who display swastikas — can still be considered hate groups, although his center doesn’t create such a list.
'If I am being asked specifically, are there objective facts that vigorously support that designation, in this case the answer is absolutely,' he said.
The article was published March 22, and can be read at “Is the Center for Immigration Studies a hate group, as the Southern Poverty Law Center says?”