Former White Supremacist Gives Revealing Interview: The Group ‘Told Us To Go Out and Hurt People’
Christian Picciolini was once a leading white supremacist. He preached the same beliefs that the group who performed the Nazi salutes and yelled “hail [Donald] Trump” a few days after the election preach. In fact, if you ask him, he’d say — regretfully — that he paved the way for them.
Someone did ask him, actually. He sat for an interview with the folks at Upworthy and in it, he got real about why he got involved in white nationalism, what his time ascending the ranks among neo-Nazis was like, and how he got out and formed a non-profit to help others leave, too.
He described joining a band made up of of skinheads to get “a sense of power that [he] was lacking.”
When describing the band, he said, “It told us to go out and hurt people because we needed to protect ourselves and, in fact, we did do that. We did go out and attack people because we believed that was the right thing to do.”
Picciolini only got out of the movement when he had a son and began meeting with people of color and members of the LGBT community to do business relating to his record store, which he opened to sell music that promoted the white nationalist ideology. They gave him compassion, he explained, and he felt he didn’t deserve it from them. It shifted his views.
He pointed out that now, it’s less likely to see a neo-Nazi with a shaved head or a swastika flag because the “normalization of racism” involves white supremacists who play the game by going to college and dressing well to blend in. With the recent furor over members of the alt-right getting their own glamorous profiles in big-name magazines and newspapers and being lauded for being “dapper,” that assessment makes sense.
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