Must-Read: “A Former Neo-Nazi’s Guide to Deprogramming Trump Cultists”
“The riot and storming of the Capitol … took what was a schism in our society and turned it into a chasm—and if we cannot learn to bridge that chasm, will lead to further division, violence, and the real potential of civil war.”
Be sure to check out this powerful new opinion piece in the Daily Beast by Tony McAleer, a former white-power movement leader who’s featured in our critically acclaimed new release Healing from Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation. In the article, McAleer, who rose through the ranks of a violent neo-Nazi group as a young man and now works to de-radicalize white-nationalist extremists, weighs in on the Capitol riot, the rise of far-right extremism, and the “radical compassion” he believes will be necessary to defeat the politics of hate.
“We can despise the ideology and the actions,” McAleer writes, “but we should never despise the human being. No one is irredeemable. Every single ‘former,’ like myself, has a story with this same basic theme—of having been extended compassion by someone when we least deserved it. It has the power to transform, something I can personally attest to. In times like these, when anger and division are stoked, this approach may feel all too soft. But people want, and need, to be truly heard and seen—the absence of which is something I believe lies at the root of hate-group affiliation and activity.”
Go here for the full article. And go here to learn more about Healing from Hate, award-winning filmmaker Peter Hutchison’s searing and moving profile of McAleer and other “formers” who are now working on the front lines to understand and defuse the kind of violent right-wing extremism that exploded at the Capitol last month. The film, along with McAleer’s article and our just-released discussion guide, are ideal for classroom use.
Healing from Hate is now available through university libraries that subscribe to the Kanopy streaming platform, via streaming subscription through MEF, and on DVD. From now through the end of February, to mark Black History Month, we’re offering it at 25% off with the code BLACKHISTORY21. Click here for more information.
Praise for Healing From Hate
“If I had only one film to show my students to make sense of the Capitol riot, this would be it.”
— Sut Jhally | MEF Executive Director, Professor Emeritus at UMass-Amherst
“Makes visible both the urgency of the threat of domestic extremists and the healing power of empathy to overcome the disease of hatred.”
— Beverly Tatum | Author, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
“A no-holds-barred, raw masterpiece defining the causes and solutions for America’s ugliest disease: racism.”
— Daryl Davis | Author, Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan
“Promises to spark the type of collective soul searching our nation desperately needs in these divisive times.”
— Adam Hodges | Author, When Words Trump Politics: Resisting a Hostile Regime of Language
“Goes beyond a shallow understanding of white supremacists as ‘bad’ people to explore the circumstances that draw them into these ideologies. A very useful teaching resource.”
— Dr. Raka Shome | Professor of Communication, Villanova University