An Oregon Public Broadcasting show made a visit to Linfield College to have a conversation with Mark Potok on Feb. 27. “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller interviewed the guest about hate crimes and other extremism locally and in the U.S.
Among the large number of hate groups in the nation, 13 exist in Oregon. According to OPB, there have been many recent hate crimes in Oregon, including two based on sexuality in Portland and Gresham and two racism cases in Monmouth and Springfield.
The “Think Out Loud” staff learned of Potok’s visit, and they wanted to interview him in person.
“We heard that Mark Potok was coming here, and we were invited by the college to do a show here. We thought it’d be a great opportunity,” Miller said.
The main question the show addressed with Potok was where the line is drawn between political differences and hate.
Randy Blazak, who runs the Coalition Against Hate Crimes in Portland, joined Potok on the show to provide a local perspective to the issue of hate.
Miller asked members of the audience to share their experiences of the real local effects of hate, and he encouraged everyone to ask questions as the producers walked around the room with microphones.
Miller invited the audience to use Twitter during the show to engage in the conversation.
“We’re trying to do more outreach to colleges. We want to be out in the community talking to people, and this is the perfect kind of place,” said Sarah Jane Rothenfluch, “Think Out Loud’s” executive producer. “We can meet students and get different perspectives, and also we can let you know how the show works. So [coming to colleges] is a win-win situation.”
Rothenfluch said she would like to know what college students are thinking about and learning in class.
“What are the big issues on college campuses that are important to college kids, and how can we tap into that and get into those sorts of conversations?” Rothenfluch commented.
Students, faculty and a group of students from McMinnville High School filled the audience for an educational experience.
“Bringing OPB was well worth the investment by the [mass communication] department,” junior Blanca Esquivel said. “It brought life to the campus knowing something so important was being spoken about.”
Kelsey Sutton/Managing editor
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.