LOS ANGELES, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In light of the heated rhetoric that has come to characterize this historically polarized presidential campaign, USC Shoah Foundation has released a new activity on IWitness - its free online education platform for secondary students - called "Skittles, Deplorables and 'All Lives Matter': Leadership and Media Literacy."
The aim of the activity is to help students discern the difference between arguments, persuasion and propaganda in an age where the volume and velocity of information via traditional and social media channels can be dizzying. It also highlights the dangers of portraying entire groups of people based on race or religion as homogenous. The activity was piloted last month in the classroom of an after-school program in Chicago run by an organization called After School Matters. "The idea is to encourage teens to carefully consider the source of the messaging they see in the media - no matter their political beliefs," said Dr. Kori Street, director of education at USC Shoah Foundation. "This activity better equips them to navigate the blizzard of information with a critical eye, and to become savvy consumers of media and responsible contributors to the public dialog." Like all IWitness activities, "Skittles, Deplorables and 'All Lives Matter'" is rooted in the video testimony of genocide survivors and eyewitnesses. It opens with a clip of testimony from Ruth Pearl, a Holocaust survivor and the mother of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in 2002 by terrorists who denounced his Jewish ancestry. "Dehumanizing people is the first step on inviting violence like the Nazism and fascism," Pearl says in the testimony. "It's very easy to dehumanize. I'm sure the killers of Danny didn't have any sense of identifying the humanity that connects us."