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CSUSB’s Burke wins research grant
IE Business Daily
Nov. 1, 2020

Jason Burke, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Cal State San Bernardino, has received a $440,000 research grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The four-year grant will be used to train undergraduate students in laboratory techniques, including gene engineering, recombinant protein expression and purification, and protein X-ray crystallography. The goal is to identify mutations that happen in tumors.

Read the complete article at “CSUSB’s Burke wins research grant.”   

Bully pulpit from leaders like Bishop Barnes helps ‘tamp down the temperature at a time of tension,’ CSUSB professor says
The Sun/Southern California News Group
Oct. 30, 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 Bishop Gerald Barnes issuing a video message urging the faithful in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino to vote in the Nov. 3 election and treat each other with respect and civility during these polarized times.

Experts who have been studying hate and extremism, like Levin, have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the escalation of violence and hate crimes before, during and after the election. President Trump has made statements raising questions about whether he will concede the election if he loses — and how those in either political party might respond.

Hate crimes and incidents of violence have been shown to increase during a catalytic event, said Levin, who applauded the bishop for issuing a message calling for peace and understanding during a critical time.

“The bully pulpit from faith and civic leaders as well as celebrities to share common values and tamp down the temperature at a time of tension appears to be critical,” Levin said. “When President Bush spoke six days after 9/11, hate crimes against Muslims dropped precipitously. How leaders speak around catalytic events, particularly when there is fear and uncertainty, can be valuable. Words matter.”

Levin said he anticipates wider and more severe civil unrest if President Trump loses, which is what the nonpartisan center is predicting. He anticipates there will be street-level violence and destruction of property if Trump wins.

“But it will be worse if Trump loses because much of his base believes he is going to win,” Levin said, adding that November 2016 was the worst month for hate crimes in nearly 15 years.

Read the complete article at “Be civil and respectful, San Bernardino Diocese bishop tells Catholics ahead of election.”

Hate crimes increase during presidential election cycle, CSUSB professor says
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Oct. 31, 2020

Considering trends in 2008 and 2016 elections, authorities in San Diego County are bracing for an expected rise in hate crimes as Election Day nears.

The trend has been documented to some extent during every presidential cycle since the 1990s, when the FBI began keeping data on hate crimes, said professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. However, the trend has unfolded differently in various regions.

At a basic level, it doesn’t seem to matter who the candidates are, or who ultimately wins. The last two presidential transitions of power offer stark examples. Hate crimes, particularly against Black people, rose in May in 2008, as Barack Obama was poised to take the Democratic nomination in a tight race, said Levin. Hate crime rose again in October, just before the election, as well as after.

When Trump was elected in November 2016, the nation recorded the worst month for hate crimes in more than a decade, with 758 incidents reported.

“Most, but not all, agencies that broke down data by month or quarter showed dramatic increases around election time in November 2016,” according to a report by the Center. Regions considered to be Democratic majorities were among the hardest-hit, according to the report, including New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Jose, Seattle and Phoenix.

“In New York City, the two-week period around the election saw a five-fold increase over the same period the year before,” the Center reported.

Forums for people who share similar grievances have exploded online in response to the pandemic and heightened political and social strife, Levin noted. While many forums are not explicitly extremist or racist, they can act as reservoirs that nurture certain biases, hatred and conspiracies. “That can lead them down different rabbit holes,” Levin said.

“What I’m concerned about are the loners who are radicalized rather quickly in an online ecosystem,” he said. “People are experiencing health, psychiatric and economic stress, they are online more at home, and more and more people are angrier.”

Read the complete article at “Hate crimes surge during presidential elections. So far 2020 isn’t any different.” 

CSUSB professor interviewed about anti-Semitic group tied to incident in Philadelphia
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Oct. 30, 2020

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, was interviewed for an article about a social media video in which three Jewish men were harassed with slurs from an adherent of a fringe extremist segment of a movement, called the Black Hebrew Israelites, tied to an anti-Semitic shooting in 2019. The incident occurred in Philadelphia after a recent demonstration for racial justice.

That movement, according to Levin, also has a tendency to “kind of glom onto any kind of event or controversy,” and frequently aims to instigate conflict. The shooters in the attack on a Jersey City kosher supermarket last year were also Black Hebrew Israelites.

“Around election times and particularly when there are conspiracy theories and discussions of elites, the first stop is always the Jews,” said Levin. “But the Black Hebrew Israelites are anti-Semitic no matter where you run into them.”

Read the complete article at “A widely circulated video showed Jews being harassed at Black Lives Matter protest. The attacker is part of a fringe group.”

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