Preventing Violent Extremism
Learn how to analyze media representations of mass shootings and build new knowledge about the growing problem of violent extremism. It's important to take a step back from us-vs-them frameworks that are common in media depictions of violence and to make use the power of small acts of unexpected kindness.
How is violent extremism affecting
our society and what can we do about it?
Analyze a news story about the racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, NY. For discussion:
Who is the author and what is the purpose?
What techniques are used to attract and hold your attention?
What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented?
How might people interpret the message differently?
What is omitted from the message?
Discussion Support Tools
Bring this discussion program to your school or community
🍎 Preventing Violent Extremism Lesson Plan. Learn how to help people understand why some people become extremists and reflect on how us-vs-them thinking can lead to violence. Access the Slide Deck that accompanies this lesson plan.
❤️ Video Summary. Learn about why some people turn towards extremism and the conditions under which extremism can lead to violence.
Reading and Discussion. Gain knowledge about the rise in domestic extremism in the U.S. and learn about the different forms it may take.
Address RI state standards with curated curriculum resources
SL.X.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
CG.P.1: Identify what political power is and who has political power in a society.
CG.RL.2: Explain why rules and laws exist, and how they are implemented by and for individuals and communities based on their intersectional identities and lived experiences.
🌈 Listening Matters. Understand the barriers to effective listening and practice listening in a real-life situation.
😎 Curated List of Resources. Get inspired with these great resources for teaching and learning -- if you have only 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes.
📌 Creative Expression Ideas. Engaging ideas for project-based learning and simple media production.
What You Can Do
Read the ADL Report on White Supremacist Propaganda in New England
White supremacist propaganda is designed to intimidate specific groups and to lure people to join in hateful activities. In 2022, there were 142 incidents, an increase of 74% from the previous year. Learn more about the scope of the problem in Rhode Island and across the nation.
Read Extremism by J.M. Berger
Learn from an expert on extremist movements about how us-vs-them framing is intensified by the conviction that the success of “us” is inseparable from hostile acts against “them.” Learn about the evolution of identity movements, individual and group radicalization, and more. If we understand the causes of extremism, and the common elements of extremist movements, Berger says, we will be more effective in countering it.
Watch a Video about Military in Violent Extremism
U.S. active-duty military personnel and reservists have participated in a growing number of domestic terrorist plots and attacks, with 6.4% of all domestic terrorist incidents linked to active-duty and reserve personnel in 2020. A growing number of current and former law enforcement officers have been involved in domestic terrorism in recent years. But they are also the victims of violence by extremists from all sides of the ideological spectrum. Watch this video from the Center for Strategic and International Studies to learn more.
Listen to the Podcast on Depolarizing Education
In this podcast episode, our host Renee Hobbs talks with author and teacher Kent Lenci, who wrote the book Learning to Depolarize, which connects classroom learning to navigating a polarized society.
Why Gather With People Who Don't Agree?
Whenever we gather people who don’t agree, we have an opportunity to build trust and respect. We also learn that we can challenge each other without blame and fear, which means our relationships with other people and organizations improve greatly.
Why Kindness Online Matters
Online conflicts are common. It's so easy to share opinions on social networks and in comment sections. When we browse these spaces and see a viewpoint that we disagree with, it can be tempting to jump into a conversation to explain why the other person is wrong.
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