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‘This is connected to systemic racism,’ says CSUSB professor about a Riverside teacher’s math lesson

The Mercury News

Nov. 9, 2021

Riverside educators have announced steps they have taken to confront a North High School teacher’s dressing up as a Native American and acting out a mock chant while teaching a math class.

James Fenelon, director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies at Cal State San Bernardino and a member of the Dakota/Lakota tribe, said the district’s primary focus shouldn’t be on whether the teacher with her “unacceptably racist behaviors” should be fired.

Fenelon said it is easy to blame a specific person rather than deal with a type of behavior or attitude that he suggests may be common than district officials want to admit.

“What they need to do is recognize that they have a problem. This is connected to systemic racism,” he said. “How are they going to deal with behaviors that may not be as outrageous, that may not be as in your face?”

Fenelon said he is hopeful for change, citing California’s recent passage of a bill by Assembly Member Jose Medina, D-Riverside, to require by 2030 that California high school students pass an ethnic studies class to graduate.

“They (school officials) have an opportunity to use this and the new ethnic studies requirement to address their systemic and school problems in a meaningful way, and in concert with local Native American consultants,” he said.

Read the whole article at "After California teacher's mock Native American chant went viral, school officials announce plan."

CSUSB professor comments on the rise of hate crimes against Catholic churches

The Washington Post

Nov. 9, 2021

New FBI stats show the number of hate crimes (8,263) reported in fiscal year 2020 was the highest since 2001. Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,244 offenses, and more than half (683) were antisemitic.

While only 73 were anti-Catholic hate crimes, that represents an annual increase since 2013. There were 64 anti-Catholic hate crimes reported in 2019, and 51 in 2018, according to the FBI data.

To Brian Levin — director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino — just the sheer volume of Catholic sites can make these spaces easy targets if someone wants to make a statement against Catholicism or religion in general.

“Catholics are the most represented religious faith in the U.S.,” Levin said.

But there’s a mix of issues that could be contributing to the multi-year rise in anti-Catholic hate crimes, Levin said.

The fact that President Joe Biden is Catholic “makes Catholicism more covered generally, as well as conflicts within the particular faith,” Levin said.

Read the whole article at "Bishops seek answers in vandalism of churches and Catholic symbols."

Peer validation and anonymity can turn people violent, says CSUSB professor

The Washington Post

Nov. 9, 2021

In an article about how Americans morphed into a mob during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Brian Levin, who runs the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said that in the right circumstances, even among those with weak attachment to extremist views can turn violent.

“Responsibility gets diffused across the group, and you have the immediate lure of peer validation, plus a cloak of anonymity,” he said. “It’s almost like a sport.”

Read the whole article at "Desperate, angry, destructive: How Americans morphed into a mob."

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