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CSUSB professor is inaugural recipient of Wilmer Amina Carter Award for Continued Service
Inland Empire Community News
Aug. 20, 2019
Former Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter joined Assemblymember Reyes to honor a past 30 Under 30 recipient with the Inaugural Wilmer Amina Carter Award for Continued Service.
The Inaugural Wilmer Amina Carter Award for Continued Service recipient was Dr. Angie Denisse Otiniano Verissimo, an associate professor in the Department of Health Science at Cal State San Bernardino.
She is also one of the co-chairs and founders of Women of Color in Academia at CSUSB; Dr. Verissimo was a 30 Under 30 Awardee in 2008.
The goal of the 30 Under 30 Award Ceremony & Art Showcase is to honor the accomplishments of young adults 30 or younger who live or work in the 47th Assembly District.
Read the complete article at “Assemblymember Reyes recognizes the 2019 30 Under 30 Awardees.”
CSUSB study abroad trip to South Africa
Aug. 22, 2019
A visit to an orphanage in Soweto became the emotional highlight of a study abroad trip to South Africa this summer by a group of Cal State San Bernardino students and their faculty adviser.
With funds donated by CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales and faculty and staff of the university’s Department of Psychology, students and the community, the delegation of 14 students was able to purchase $2,000 worth of diapers, wipes and space heaters – items the Othandweni Family Care Centre was in desperate need of, said Kelly Campbell, the faculty adviser on the trip and a CSUSB professor of psychology.
Read the complete article at “CSUSB study abroad trip to South Africa.”
Katherine Gray, CSUSB art professor, gets positive review for her role in Netflix show ‘Blown Away’
Aug. 20, 2019
Lizzy Francis wrote a review of the Netflix show, “Blown Away,” that focuses on a glass-blowing competition between artists and included Katherine Gray, a Cal State San Bernardino professor of art, as a co-host and judge.
Francis called Gray “a glassblowing star. She’s a professor of art at California State University San Bernardino and a decades-long veteran of the field. If (co-host Nick) Uhas is the audience proxy, there to ask the questions we all have, Uhas is the sage. There are risks in every single stage of glassblowing, and the tension the viewer and, probably Gray and Uhas, feel when they watch someone go back to the glory hole for another round even though that might increase the chance of cracks in a glass or pull too-cold canes across the hot-shop is not inconsiderate.”
Read the complete article at “Netflix’s ‘Blown Away’ is ‘The Great British Baking Show’ but with glass and glory holes.”
Two CSUSB faculty: ‘Time to tell our story’
Inland Empire Community News
Aug. 19, 2019
An op-ed by Dr. Enrique G. Murillo Jr., professor of education, CSUSB; Graciela Torres, professor of chemistry, CSUSB; and Kareem Gongora, member, California State Bar Committee of Bar Examiners, in rebuttal to a Southern California News Group editorial, “Reject far-left ethnic studies curriculum,” published on Aug. 8.
The editorial said, in part, “The ethnic studies curriculum appears to be one-sided by design, perhaps out of a belief that every other part of a student’s education is presented from the ‘imperialist/colonial hegemonic’ point of view.”
Murillo, Torres and Gongora wrote: “We not only strongly disagree, but reject the notions suggested in response to the draft model curriculum, that operate as a dog whistle to racists— which is absolutely dangerous in today’s political climate. This is the result of an Editorial Board that does not represent the ethnic and racial diversity of the community that SCNG services. Befittingly, they hold strong opinions on this curriculum and remain silent on the existing history curriculum, which promotes nationalism and not the inclusion of our nation’s diversity.”
Read the complete column at “Time to tell our story.”
Coverage involving the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, in reverse chronological order.
Thursday, Aug. 22
Networked gaming culture vulnerable to extremists’ noxious ideas reaching kids, CSUSB professor and other experts say
Aug. 21, 2019
This week, a Twitter user by the name of @lululemew started to find neo-Nazi references on Roblox, a popular online game that has more than 100 million active users worldwide and is popular with children. While such disturbing user names, profiles and content in Roblox aren’t new, they got renewed attention from the woman’s tweets.
Experts, including Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, who study extremism say that it is particularly troubling that gaming platforms popular with kids are now vulnerable to noxious ideas in new ways.
Roblox, like Minecraft, allows users to create avatars and virtual worlds for those characters to roam around in. While most people use the game’s platform to create fun, innocuous characters, some have used it to try to spread hateful messages. The game has become yet another frontier in the ongoing battle over content moderation and appropriate lines of speech on private platforms that are now often spaces where people congregate.
Levin said that extremists have tried to use video games as a means to spread their message for years.
He pointed to a 2002 video game called “Ethnic Cleansing,” a shooter game where the player assumes the role of a skinhead seeking minority targets.
“In the past you didn’t have the kind of interactivity that you have with the now networked gaming culture,” he said. “So before, for instance you’d have these distinct yet fragmented places where people could go. Now it comes to you.”
Read the complete article at “Extremists creep into Roblox, an online game popular with children.”
While South Africa bans a symbol of its racist past, doing the same in the U.S. would be legally be unlikely, CSUSB professor says
The Washington Post
Aug. 21, 2019
Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was asked to comment for an article about South Africa banning an apartheid-era flag, making it a crime under most circumstances, according to the nation’s Equality Court.
In a firmly worded decision filed Wednesday, Judge Phineas Mojapelo ruled that “gratuitous” display of the Old Flag — a symbol of white-supremacist rule in South Africa — amounted to hate speech, racial discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act. The court made exceptions for use of the flag that served the public interest, such as art, academia or journalism.
In the United States, a person is within their constitutional rights to use racial epithets, wear the Nazi swastika or wave a Confederate flag. Those activities do not constitute a hate crime unless they are accompanied by another illegal act, such as theft, assault or vandalism.
“Bottom line is, in the United States, possession of hateful material is not in and of itself punishable,” said Levin.
Decades of Supreme Court precedent would make a move like South Africa’s unlikely in the United States, Levin said, even for something like the Confederate battle flag — which in recent years has been wiped from public places alongside statues of Confederate generals because of its racist history.
Though that reckoning has put pressure on elected officials to reevaluate the country’s relationship with that chapter of its history, the symbol itself is not illegal.
“Prosecutors can use evidence of racial hatred to prosecute a hate-crime case,” Levin said. “But in and of itself, the display of a Confederate flag is constitutionally protected.”
Read the complete article at “South Africa bans most displays of the apartheid flag, a symbol of ‘a crime against humanity.’”
Washington, D.C., recorded highest per capita hate-crime rate in 2018, CSUSB center’s research shows
The Washington Post
Aug. 21, 2019
Hate crimes are surging across the country, with racist slurs scrawled on schools and houses of worship, assaults on gay and transgender people, and white gunmen targeting Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue and Latinos at an El Paso Walmart.
In Washington, D.C., the number of attacks investigated by police as bias-motivated reached an all-time high of 204 last year. The District had the highest per capita hate-crime rate of any major city in the country, according to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.
Read the complete article at “Hate crime reports have soared in D.C. Prosecutions have plummeted.”
Wednesday, Aug. 21
Internet users can put together their own ‘mix tape’ of racism, CSUSB professor says
Global News (Canada)
Aug. 20, 2019
The Internet plays a huge role in radicalizing people and recruiting for neo-Nazi organizations, Brian Levin, director of the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, told Global News.
The issue is in the public eye after an investigation by the Winnipeg Free Press revealed a member of the Canadian Armed Forces is allegedly responsible for putting up posters around Winnipeg for a white supremacist group called The Base.
Levin said while younger generations are more tolerant than their grandparents, the Internet is making it easier for people to get involved in hate groups.
“We’ve seen the normalization of white supremacy,” Levin said.
“Some people will refuse to use Nazi and Klan symbols because they think it’s bad branding, but they still don’t want people of color, and people of non-Christian faith, in their country.”
Read the complete article and listen to the online audio interview at “Internet users can put together their own ‘mix tape’ of racism: anti-hate expert.”
Canadian case example of growing ‘normalization of white supremacy and Nazism,’ CSUSB hate crime expert says
Globe News (Canada)
Aug. 20, 2019
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police executed a search warrant at a home in Manitoba on Monday in connection with allegations that a Canadian Armed Forces member was involved in an organization that promotes hate. The Winnipeg Free Press first reported on Monday the allegations that Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews was recruiting for white supremacist network The Base.
Brian Levin, a criminologist and director of CSUSB's Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, said allegations like the one against the Canadian military member are yet another example of how the “normalization of white supremacy and Nazism” is growing.
He said the spread “occurs across the spectrum.”
“Canada actually had a decline last year after hitting a record in 2017. The bottom line is we’re seeing hate expressed in hate crimes and we’ve seen increases in recent years, including Canada, which just came off a record,” he said.
“South of the border, it’s the same news cycle. We’re seeing kids do a Nazi salute in a sporting team event.”
Levin pointed to the “rabbit hole” of content online as a factor in the spread of hate.
“It’s a worldwide, international trend, and that’s what is so head-scratching for our Canadian friends, who are a tolerant society,” he said.
“Bottom line is, it doesn’t occur in a vacuum.”
Read the complete article at “RCMP searches Manitoba home in relation to Canadian Forces member allegedly in hate group.”
Those closest to individuals plotting domestic terrorism acts likely the ones to help thwart such attacks, CSUSB professor says
The Guardian (United Kingdom)
Aug. 20, 2019
In the two weeks since a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, law enforcement officials say they have thwarted six separate mass shootings or white supremacist attacks across the U.S. At least four of the alleged foiled plots also appeared to involve men espousing far-right viewpoints and racist ideologies, with echoes of the Texas massacre. The 21-year-old suspect in that shooting, considered the deadliest anti-Latino attack in modern US history, allegedly authored a racist anti-immigrant “manifesto.”
Brian Levin, the director for the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, said there is often a cluster of violent threats and possible copycat attacks after high-profile mass shootings. But he also expected there could be more families and friends reporting their loved ones who may be plotting shootings.
“This is the new normal,” he said. “The people most able to thwart these attacks are often not law enforcement, but those closest to them – friends, family, coworkers and fellow students … We’re not dealing with foreign-based terrorists, but the mass killer down the block.”
Read the complete article at “Police thwarted six mass shootings and white supremacist attacks since El Paso.”
CSUSB professor discusses the arrest of three suspects accused of plotting separate mass shootings
KABC-AM Radio (Los Angeles)
Aug. 20, 2019
Three men accused of plotting mass shootings were arrested over three days in three different states, and one expert thinks it’s not a coincidence.
Professor Brian Levin from the Cal State San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism says attacks often happen in clusters.
”In general, what all these people have is a desire for power and attention and some kind of legitimization for grievances real or imagined.”
An Ohio man allegedly threatened to fire on a Jewish community center. A suspect in Florida is accused of trying to set a mass murder record. And a Connecticut man faces similar charges. Levin says all three were captured after tips.
”If you see something, say something. The police are now ready, I think more so than they have in years, to respond to possible threats in a quick way.”
Listen to the online audio report at “Three men accused of plotting mass shootings were arrested over three days in three different states, and one expert thinks it’s not a coincidence.”
Root causes behind OC teens and their Nazi salute explored by CSUSB professor
Aug. 20, 2019
A CSUSB professor was interviewed about what may have inspired a group of Orange County teens to raise a Nazi salute and sing a Nazi song.
'We have a problem with respect to historical education, civic values, and the ability to teach our kids to be critical thinkers,' said Brian Levin with the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Pacifica High School in Garden Grove is under fire after a video of students doing Nazi salutes and singing a Nazi song at a sports banquet was published yesterday (Aug. 19) by The Daily Beast. According to the school, students recorded the video last November, before their off-campus banquet, then shared it with other students on social media. School officials claim they learned about it four months later, in March, and addressed it with the students and their families.
Levin blames easy access to hateful ideology online for this disturbing trend, as well as declining trust in institutions like the media and churches to establish communal values.
'We're losing Holocaust survivors, we're losing people who were at the forefront of the civil rights struggle,' Levin said. 'And in an internet-now culture, anything that has shock value can be picked up by young people who then go down the rabbit hole where they increasingly accept this kind of bigotry.'
Levin says the Garden Grove incident is a concerning sign of troubled times in the U.S.
'These kids some way knew that this was wrong,' said Levin. 'The bottom line is that we have kids who now just for shock value will embrace Nazism, and that's scary. We're not just seeing it from unstable kids or violent kids, we're seeing it from kids down the street.'
Read the complete article at “More OC high school students caught on video doing Nazi salutes.”
What is an identitarian? News reporter talked to CSUSB Professor Brian Levin to find out.
WTUI/WFIU (Indiana Public Radio)
Aug. 16, 2019
The Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market will reopen tomorrow after a two-week suspension that followed weeks of protests, unrest and concern for public safety.
At the center of this summer’s ongoing market controversy is Sarah Dye, owner of Schooner Creek Farm. More than 200 Bloomington residents and groups wrote a letter to the city earlier this summer claiming she and her family have ties to Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group. Dye has denied allegations that she is a white supremacist, but she has called herself an 'identitarian' in interviews with other news outlets.
WTIU/WFIU News' Emma Atkinson spoke with Brian Levin, director of California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism about what it means to be an identitarian and the history of white supremacy in Indiana.
Read the complete article at “What is an identitarian? we talked to an extremism researcher to find out.”
Tuesday, Aug. 20
Incident of teens giving Nazi salute and singing Nazi song example of such symbolism making its way to the mainstream
Fox 11 Los Angeles
Aug. 19, 2019
Garden Grove Unified School District officials Monday condemned a video that made the rounds on social media showing members of the Pacifica High School water polo team making a Nazi salute and singing a propaganda song.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, was interviewed as part of the news report.
“What is especially concerning here is that this was not just some last-minute drunken event,” Levin said. “This was allegedly a sports awards ceremony for a school team. Moreover, we’re seeing an increase in hate speech on the internet, a coursing of dialogue not only virtually, but terrestrially. Bottom line is, we’ve seen hate crime go up for five years, we’re seeing a corresponding increase of hate on the internet, and a normalization of Nazi symbology that’s making its way into mainstream.”
Levin appears about 50 seconds into the video.
View the online video segment at “Video purports to show students at Garden Grove school doing Nazi salute.”
Video of teens giving Nazi salute and singing Nazi song more common as anti-Semitism rises online, CSUSB professor says
CBS News and The Associated Press
Aug. 20, 2019
A school district in Southern California condemned a video of high-schoolers giving Nazi salutes and singing a Nazi song after it became public Monday.
'I think this is indicative of a change where even some obscure Nazi rhetoric ... has now been mainstreamed on a very fragmented internet,' said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Levin called it 'troubling,' and said these incidents are becoming more common as anti-Semitism rises online, especially in 'darker corners of the internet.'
Read the complete article at, “SoCal school district ‘strongly’ condemns video showing students giving Nazi salute and singing Nazi song.”
The article was picked up by news media worldwide via The Associated Press, including:
- KTLA 5 (Los Angeles): “Video shows Orange County teens give Nazi salute as German WWII-era song plays.”
- METRO (United Kingdom): “Children sing Nazi songs and give Hitler salutes during awards ceremony.”
- Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa): “School condemns video of high schoolers giving Nazi salute.”
- KMOV4 (St. Louis, Mo.): “California school condemns video of high schoolers giving Nazi salute.”
Incident involving teens giving a Nazi salute is a teachable moment for students and school administrators, CSUSB professor says
Los Angeles Times
Aug. 19, 2019
A video showing a group of Orange County teenagers giving a Nazi salute as a German World War II-era song plays in the background surfaced Monday and quickly sparked outrage. School officials said they took immediate action after they learned of the incident four months after it took place in November 2018.
Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said the incident is a teachable moment for both the students and school administrators, who he contends waited too long to address the issue publicly. He said the video was “chilling” and a “vile expression of Nazi bigotry.”
“When we have a fragmented society with an increasingly coarse and manipulative social media with a dose of ignorance and white nationalism, this is what’s regarded as OK,” Levin said. “That’s why the school has to address this. It’s a representation of their institution.”
Read the complete article at “Video showing Orange County teens giving Nazi salute sparks outrage.”
Partnership of social media communities, citizens and police instrumental in thwarting three unrelated mass shooting plots, CSUSB professor says
KOGO-AM Radio (San Diego)
Aug. 20, 2019
Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for a segment about the arrests of three suspects in three unrelated cases of plotting mass shootings – this on the heels of the El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, Calif., mass shootings.
All three suspects reportedly posted their plans on social media, which were reported to authorities.
Levin said online threats are often a sign of a real plot, and such attacks tend to come in clusters.
“What is shows is that there has to be a partnership between the social media communities, citizens and the police to thwart potentially violent people from acting out with heavy weapons of war,” he said.
Listen to the segment at “06:38 KOGO-AM (Radio).”
CSUSB professor comments on arrests of suspects in three unrelated plots to commit mass shootings
KFBK-AM Radio (Sacramento)
Aug. 20, 2019
Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed about three suspects arrested in separate and unrelated cases of plotting mass shootings.
He said in the interview that such attacks tend to come in clusters. “In general, what all these people have is a desire for power and attention, and some kind of legitimization for grievances, real or imagined.”
The recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, Calif., may have prompted these suspects to plot shootings, Levin said.
Listen to the segment at “04:05 KFBK-AM (Radio).”