Precinct Reporter to Host CSUSB Anti-Hate Luncheon
By Dianne Anderson
A young Black teen knocks at the wrong house to pick up his kid brothers and is shot. An 18-year-old Asian woman is stabbed on a public bus, mistaken for Chinese.
A white nationalist massacres 23 people after ranting online about the “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. Five were shot dead and 17 injured in a gay nightclub. The Anti-Defamation League reports the highest number of incidents at synagogues and centers since 1979.
For all, hate is the common denominator, and it’s not just a small sampling.
Horrendous crimes at every level of hate are pushing historic highs. At last count in 2021, the FBI reported 11,883 incidents.
In the Black community, Anthony Roberson sees history repeating itself similar to the 60s, but with one major difference. It’s happening so much that he worries the community is becoming desensitized.
“It shouldn’t be, but I think because we’re seeing it so much, there’s so much technology all the time. It’s at an incredible level, like when you think of George Floyd, they can just kill us on national TV,” said Roberson, president of the Black Faculty, Staff and Student Association at Cal State University San Bernardino.
On May 11, students and the community are invited out to face the facts and more importantly, how to take the conversation to a place of action. The Stop the Hate Luncheon, sponsored by the Precinct Reporter as part of the Stop the Hate Program joint venture of the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs and the California State Library, aims to build public awareness of the Stop the Hate Program administered by the California Department of Social Services, which provides support and services to victims and survivors of hate incidents and hate crimes and works to prevent hate crimes or incidents from happening in the first place. The Stop the Hate Luncheon will be held at 11:30AM at the Santos Manuel Student Union (South) on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino.
Roberson said it’s urgent to put ideas to work in communities where the hate starts. He wants to empower the next generation.
“That’s why we are inviting students from different cultural backgrounds, our Black students, LatinX, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islanders, Queer and Transgender. All the different communities that might be affected by hate, even international students and students with disabilities, sometimes we don’t talk about those communities,” said Roberson, also Associate Director of Operations, Santos Manuel Student Union.
Roberson said they are meeting at safe spaces, different affinity centers like the Pan African Student Success Center, Latinx, Queer and Transgender, Native American and Women’s Resource Center for cross collaborations. It is one approach to bringing awareness to the forefront.
CSUSB President’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Board is also addressing hate speech. Beyond the event, he hopes that participants walk away with how to implement non-hate in their daily lives to make a better world.
“Back in the day, they said words can never hurt you, but that’s different now. Words can be deadly,” he said.
Policy change is one hopeful solution and drawing local, and state politicians on board.
“We can have these conversations from noon to night. If we are not affecting policy then it’s just a conversation,” he said.
At the event, hate crime expert Brian Levin will also speak to ways that hate is fueled, the role of social media manipulations, stereotyping, the emergence of replacement doctrine, and a conspiracy subculture where guns and violence are deemed acceptable.
In 2021, anti-Black hate crime soared double digits – on top of another double-digit increase just one year before.
“It’s only the second time African Americans [incidents] were over 3,000 since national data was collected. Blacks were declining as a percentage of all hate crimes every year from 1996 to 2019, that stopped in 2020,” said Levin, a criminal justice professor at CSUSB, and director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism.
He said the year of George Floyd with its mainly peaceful social justice protests was followed by the worst month, and anti-Black hate stayed elevated for months.
“This kind of hate that’s out there is more sticky. It’s also interrelated to a set of stereotypes, scapegoats, BLM, Antifa, and socialists. It’s all tied together,” he said.
Part of the bigotry is that Blacks are a threat, which is far-reaching through social media, broadcast cable, sometimes xenophobia. In his recent research, Blacks were the most hated in major cities at 22%, nationally at about 30% after rising the year before to about 35%. In 2019, it had slipped down to 26%, a multi-decade decline.
Targeted mass attacks and public attacks are also on the rise.
“These people really gained traction in 2020 and 2021. If you’re a bigot – [it was] issues around social justice protests, Bill O’Reilly’s rap music indictment, critical race theory and the erosive threat to American society,” he said.
But hate runs deeper than bigotry or notions of Black inferiority. He said bigots these days are most concerned about who and what Blacks can influence in society, what progressive causes, and who they are aligned with to positively change the world, like challenging education for critical race theory.
But even in more seemingly erudite circles, hate crime ticked up on college campuses, although he said that reporting is incomplete. Sometimes, bigots get their talks shut down.
“If someone wants to hold something on campus promoting violence, like the Proud Boys, I think there are legitimate security concerns because they are a criminal syndicate. But simply an aspiring local bigot is also a type of aggression we’re seeing on campus,” he said.
Extremist violence shows up in different age groups, some not connected, and some of the worst killers at the extremes and more quickly radicalized than in the past, he said. Others want to divide and conquer democracy.
“Within the subculture, mass killings of a carousel of targets are something we’re living with, including by foreign adversaries who want to stir racial hatred,” he said, referring to the 2016 presidential election with Russian ad spending from the Internet Research Agency on Facebook tripled in the racial conflict category, as hate crime increased.
Levin, who is also active on the California Commission on the State of Hate, is encouraged by the commission’s top-tier representatives, that it will spur more public policy debate, hold hearings, and conduct research.
As much as possible, he said real-time measurements are needed for hate incidents. Also, addressing the many layers of hate, “toxic sludge” seeping into different political spaces, and manifesting at the most violent edges of Neo Nazism.
“[It’s] still connected to a precept of invasion and inferiority, along with some kind of connected conspiracism that represents fear-mongering, whether replacement or equity. That’s a multi-headed hydra where each one has a different shape and form,” he said.
To learn more about the Commission on the State of Hate,
This news story was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.