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Lessons in how to hate from experts: Nazis, Klan speak at schools
Question of the Day
“They’re very subtle,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘We don’t hate black people, we just love white people.’ It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what they’re really saying.”
Mr. Blazak acknowledged that inviting hate groups into the classroom could make them appear more plausible and moderate to the students they meet.
“The risk is that they become more legitimate if we give them an audience,” he said. “They are such an outlier, but without the back story, teenagers may see them as just another legitimate political party.”
To prepare his class before the presentations, Mr. Blazak spends nine weeks teaching about the history and beliefs of these hate groups before he brings them into speak to his students.
But no matter how much time Mr. Blazak spends preparing his class to hear from these extremists, he warned that a small number of students still may be drawn to their messages of hate.
“The majority of students will reject them,” he said, “but there will always be that one student who feels alienated and may think that group is a way to give them a sense of power.”
Mr. Strausbaugh said he monitors students throughout the semester to make sure this doesn’t happen.
“We, as educators, certainly do not want to put our students in a position where we are enabling kids to join with that kind of thinking,” he said. “Just because we’re studying these groups, in no way do we condone what they believe. If anything, we want to study it, so they know how to avoid it.”
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About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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