There have been many people who have left the white power movement. Some of these people have gone on to do great things such as become parents, start organisations, write books and star in movies about their own life.
Here’s some inspiring men who have left white power behind:
Frank Meeink was once a skinhead and Neo-Nazi recruiter who had his own racist cable TV show. He was eventually arrested for violence and imprisoned. While in prison he made friends with fellow inmates from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. When he left prison he decided not to get involved with his skinhead mates again because he couldn’t hate on people who were now his friends. Frank started a program called Harmony Through Hockey and wrote a book about his life called Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead.
Bryon Widner was once a racist skinhead who was covered in tattoos. However when his wife gave birth to their son he quickly realised that he didn’t want to raise his son around white nationalists and their racist ideals. He moved interstate to start a new life with his family, had his tattoos removed, and created a documentary about his life called Erasing Hate.
Matthew Collins was a young racist activist. One day he and his mates committed a violent racist attack at an anti-racist rally. Matthew became so disgusted with his group’s behaviour at that rally that he gradually became an anti-racist and now works at Hope Not Hate in the UK and wrote a book Hate: My Life In the British Far Right.
TJ Leyden was a violent neo-Nazi skinhead who later became a recruiter for the movement by indoctrinating school students. TJ left the movement when he realised that his young son had absorbed his racist attitudes. He knew that his son could potentially end up in prison or get killed if he continued to learn neo-Nazi attitudes. TJ also started to question the motivations behind neo-Nazi ideologies, realising that even if they did succeed in the race war, that it wouldn’t stop at skin colour but would continue to become more extreme.
Arno Michaelis is a founding member of one of the largest racist skinhead organisations in the world. Arno has spoken of several incidences that contributed to him leaving the movement. One moment was when he was watching his young daughter play with children at daycare and realising that she did not discriminate between race – all children were her friends. Another was when he felt ashamed when an African American woman saw a swastika tattoo on his finger and told him that he was better than that.
Arno is a co-founder of Life After Hate, a monthly online literary magazine dedicated to promoting human goodness.
Six weeks after a white supremacist gunned down Pardeep Kaleka’s father and five others at a Sikh temple in the U.S. in May 2012, Kaleka was skeptical when a former skinhead (Arno Michaelis) reached out and invited him to dinner. But Kaleka accepted, and he’s grateful he did. Since then, the grieving son and repentant racist have formed an unlikely alliance, teaming up to preach a message of peace. Together they work through the organisation Serve2Unite.
Derek Black, whose father founded the white-supremacy forum Stormfront and whose mother was once married to a former KKK grand wizard, announced in July 2013 that after a lifetime in the white nationalist movement, he could no longer support the beliefs he once preached. In a letter to the white power movement’s biggest enemy, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a Montgomery, Alabama–based anti-racism group, he shocked his former allies by detailing his disillusionment with white supremacy. He wanted out.
He credited the impact of his friends in helping change his mind: “The people who were important in the process of changing my mind were those who were my friends regardless, but who let me know when we talked about it that they thought my beliefs were wrong for specific reasons and took the time to provide evidence and civil arguments. I didn’t always agree with their ideas, but I listened and they listened to me.”
Arnoud Van Doorn was a leading member in far-right Dutch PVV party, which has been long known for it’s anti-Islam rhetoric and rants. In 2013 Doorn converted to Islam after an extensive study about the Islamic religion and Muslims. “This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.” Arnoud Van Doorn told Al-Jazeera English satellite channel. Doorn was driven by his party’s anti-Islam discourse to do his own research and dig into the truth about the religion himself.
Tommy Robinson was a leader and founder of the far-right English Defence League (EDL), and notorious for leading anti-Islamist marches and demonstrations across the UK that often involved racist chanting and led to violent confrontations.
Robinson, along with co-founder Kevin Carroll, quit the EDL in October 2013, after saying they could not control extremist elements in the organisation. Robinson said the decision was made after a period in jail during which he could “evaluate everything, think about everything”. After leaving the EDL, Robinson joined Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank, saying that “I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”