We Define the Future

Faculty insight on free speech, hate incidents and Ethiopia’s new prime minister offered to news media

NOTE: Faculty, if you are interviewed and quoted by news media, or if your work has been cited, and you have an online link to the article or video, please let us know. Contact us at news@csusb.edu.  

Talking Points Memo interviews CSUSB professor Brian Levin about white nationalist invited to speak at University of Alabama
Talking Points Memo
April 6, 2018

The news website interviewed  Brian Levin, director of California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, for an article about a University of Alabama student group inviting a white nationalist, Jared Taylor  to speak there. Students for America First “neither endorses nor condemns Mr. Taylor’s work,” and  insists it just wants to ensure “all social and political views, regardless of how offensive they may appear to the general public” are presented to the student body, the group said in a statement about the April 19 event.

Levin said: “We’re a splintered society and trust in the institutions that held us together, like academia, have hit multi-decade lows. One of the ways we can be anti-elitist and anti-establishment is to invite someone from the outside. And that’s part of the marketing that’s been done: you’re not hearing the full story, so invite this controversial speaker.”

“It’s a very brazen, in-your-face, mainstreamed white nationalism,” Levin continued. “This invitation is just another star in that constellation, saying white nationalism is now in that night sky of sociopolitical activity in the United States. And that’s scary.”

Read the complete article at “AL student group that’s hosting white nationalist also promoted anti-Semite.”

CSUSB professor Brian Levin interviewed about hate incident in Topeka, Kan., that police are calling a prank
The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal
April 8, 2018

Topeka police are investigating an incident in which a large swastika was drawn in the snow outside an apartment complex predominantly occupied by minority residents, the newspaper reported.

While police have called the incident a prank, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, said in an interview that nationally, there has been an increase of public displays of white nationalist ideology. Using symbols and bigoted language in a non-threatening way is protected speech. While actions that aren’t criminal may not be legally actionable, that doesn’t mean the community can’t respond, Levin said.

Such incidents aren’t typically captured in hate crime data which is already vastly underreported.

According to a Bureau of Justice report published last year, 54 percent of hate crimes weren’t reported to authorities.

Levin, who has testified before the Kansas Legislature in an effort to add a protected class for members of the LGBTQ community, said reporting is often intertwined with law enforcement training, city leadership and community outreach.

The cause behind many hate crimes is the “fear of change,” Levin said, adding that changes may be political, economic or demographic. The language used by political figures can also be influential. When former President George W. Bush stressed tolerance after 9/11, hate crimes dropped. When President Donald Trump pushed for a partial immigration ban following the San Bernadino shooting, hate crimes spiked, Levin said, adding that they increased in severity with incidents such as fire bombings reported.

Levin said hate crimes are important to understand because they tear at the heart of the American creed. They question whether America is based on an egalitarian principle or a “darker echo” that ties citizenship to race, he said.

“We’re in a very interesting time,” he said.

Read the complete article at “Police: Swastika in East Topeka was a prank.”

CSUSB professor Alemayehu Mariam writes about new Ethiopian prime minister
The Hill
April 6, 2018

Alemayehu Mariam, a professor of political science at CSUSB, a constitutional lawyer and senior editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, wrote in an op-ed: “The old saw is ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’ On April 2, Ethiopia installed Abiy Ahmed as its new prime minister. The question is whether PM Abiy could save Ethiopia’s nine regions from being unstitched in civil strife.

“Some watchers of the country have expected civil war in Ethiopia for the past two years.  A well-known Ethiopian opinion leader two years ago warned, ‘A civil war, and possibly genocide, is in the making in the Horn of Africa, in Ethiopia.’ The New York Times asked, ‘Is Ethiopia about to crack?’ Recently, one commentator ominously predicted, ‘Facing the abyss of interethnic civil war, Ethiopia today is on the brink of state failure.’ Others have affirmatively answered, ‘Ethiopia is falling apart.’”

Read the complete article at “With new prime minister, Ethiopia takes a step back from the precipice.”

These news clips and others may be found at “In the Headlines” on the Inside CSUSB website.

TAGS:Africa, Al Mariam, Alemayehu G. Mariam, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Ethiopia, human rights, opinion, political science, politics, Brian Levin, criminal justice, hate, hate crime, extremism, racism, Topeka, Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, Top Stories

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