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CSUSB professor comments on harassment of a Black Lives Matter stand in Murrieta
The Press-Enterprise/The Sun/Redlands Daily Facts/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Sept. 24, 2020
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, was interviewed for an article about Black Lives Matter merchandise near Murrieta that has been attracting unwanted attention — including racial slurs and the dumping of loads of horse manure. The incidents come as the Inland Empire and nation continue to grapple with allegations of racism and social justice issues, such as the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Levin said that these types of incidents are common in the second half of election years.
“It’s a perfect storm — we’re in a pandemic, we’re the most polarized that we’ve been in decades … people are distressed,” Levin said. “This is not a traditional hate crime about race, religion or orientation — this is something more akin to political violence. It’s a diversifying time on both sides, and we are seeing a string of unstable people who are influenced by anxiety.”
“The Black Lives Matter movement is being accused of being a Marxist and terrorist group, and this message gets repeated in echo chambers, amongst both extremist and more conservative groups, all over Facebook,” he said. “It’s part of sowing doubt into our electoral institutions and on those who peacefully protest.”
Extremism tends to spike during election season, CSUSB professor says
Sept. 24, 2020
A segment about a man who drove his car into a group of demonstrators in late May in Pasadena, and is now suspected organizing a camp for “civil disorder” as part of a far-right militia group, included an interview with Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
The man has been charged with conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and for lying about how he acquired those guns, the news report said.
“We have a very polarized society, and we have armed folks and militias who, either within their ranks or in their orbit – some of these are loosely organized – are getting people who are armed, unstable, angry and ready to take action, either by themselves or small cells,” Levin said.
Activity such as this spikes during the election season, he said. And fear anxiety and social media, Levin said, have radicalized people on both ends of the political spectrum to accept fringe and conspiracy theories, such as the QAnon conspiracy the man cited in text messages.
See the online video report at “Man accused of using his family's Lodi vineyard to store weapons, tactical equipment.”
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