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‘Don’t Discount Kindness’ When Fighting Hate


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.”

RYAN LENZ 2015 INTELLIGENCE PROJECT

Ryan Lenz, Senior Investigative Reporter for the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and Angela King, co-founder and director of Life After Hate 

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.”

ANGELA 07011999 ARREST Mugshot square

                  King’s mugshot in 1998

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.

Additional Resources:

Life After Hate website

SPLC’s Intelligence Report

Washington Post article: Southern Poverty Law Center says American hate groups are on the rise

CNN article: ‘Make America White Again’: Hate speech and crimes post-election

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)

If this podcast made you want to know more, or if you would like to ask us anything about the business of doing good, ask us a question

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