Ben & Janine run FYFT (From Yesterday, For Tomorrow). They spoke all day with students yesterday (& then again last night) about their experiences as Holocaust researchers and educators which led them to create the FYFT non-profit group. Their goal is to spread awareness of how prejudice infects people using major historical events, like the Holocaust, as examples and illustrations. Here's my big take-away:
There are three different levels of prejudice and discrimination. Populations do not go from zero to genocide overnight. The hateful messages that bring about mass murders start at a 1. cultural level, with small statements, name-calling, and messages that it is ok to think you are better than another person. When these cultural messages become widely known and accepted, it becomes possible to give them 2. legal ramifications, in which the government makes it technically allowable for one group to have fewer rights than another. This legal "right" to prejudice is what gives oppressors the idea that they are justified in 3. persecution, actively attacking entire groups of people to the extent of violence and death. And it all starts with those little comments; the ones that people pass off as inocuous jokes or acceptable jibes.
I think I'm a fairly smart person. I read like it's going out of style. But in all of my reading and learning, I've never seen these ideas broken down so clearly & logically.
Follow FYFT on Twitter (@FYFT) or
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FYFTCharity?fref=ts). I'm expecting big things from them.