A van strikes worshippers outside a London mosque. In Washington, D.C., nooses are hung on American University’s campus. In a Kansas City bar, a man from India hears the words, “Go back to your country,” before he is shot dead.
We cover the business of doing good but it is impossible to ignore the proliferation of hate crimes across the world. The Southern Poverty Law Centre’s Ryan Lenz sums it up as “an extremely polarized political environment that has given way to the ideologies of hate and extremism as they move from the margins to the mainstream.”
Lenz monitors America’s radical right for the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and says there are more than 900 hate groups operating across the nation right now. Angela King works to deradicalize those who want to leave these groups. King herself is a former skinhead and co-founded Life After Hate, the only nonprofit in the US founded and run by ex-violent extremists. “I was taught racial slurs, stereotypes, homophobia from my parents as a child,” King tells us. “At 15 years old, being involved in this new violent world gave me a sense of excitement, of power, of belonging and being accepted.”
In this podcast, Lenz and King discuss some ways to help extremists disengage from hate groups; they share their concerns about the way politicians and the media frame terrorist acts, and King talks about how she transformed her own racist and violent mentality while serving time in a federal prison. “Everyone knew I was there for a hate crime,” she remembers. And then a woman of color invited her to play a game of cribbage. “It really honestly changed my life,” she tells us.
Life After Hate website
SPLC’s Intelligence Report
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Washington Post article: Southern Poverty Law Center says American hate groups are on the rise
Life After Hate on Twitter
Lenz on Twitter
Featured Image: A ‘White Lives Matter’ supporter talks to a counter-demonstrator in Austin, TX. (Nov 2016)
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