He doesn’t want to put his name out there just yet, but we know him from back in the day. He reconnected with us and wanted to share his life’s journey with everyone.
I am a 42 year old ex-White Supremacist and I am writing this story down for the first time as a lesson in the power of love over hate. I am not going to dive into the past with stories of experiences and people, no names will be mentioned and no groups will be mentioned either. It isn’t my job to expose anyone publicly as I don’t care to be involved in that side of things, but I feel strongly about sharing this with you as a reminder of what happens when you decide to live instead of deciding to hate.
I lived in the NE part of this country and was highly active in the WN scene. I attended meetings, demonstrations, recruited people, wrote articles, was a moderator on Stormfront, and ran a nationally known WN group in my area. My first face to face interaction with Daryle was at a demonstration we held in North Jersey. We had a few words for each other but no physical altercation.
The funny part is that at the time one of my best friends was pretty active in the Antifa scene, and despite our differences in beliefs we were very close. That was the first step for me to realize the error of my ways, starting to embrace other’s points of view and being able to be friendly to them.
Later on in our friendship, she had Daryle call me. He was well aware of who I was and I will never forget his words to me on that phone call, “you are better than this.”
I am proud to say I didn’t directly take part in any racially motivated attack on anyone. I am not proud to say that I knew those who did, and I didn’t condemn those people as friends. That is the same thing as doing the act morally. It is something I live with to this day knowing that people I knew committed hate crimes, and a few of them murdered people. It is something I can’t forget, ever. The level of hate it takes to commit acts like that is out of the realm of my comprehension.
Any fight I was in was with rival skinhead factions. Silly, isn’t it. Most of our issues were related to other groups and drama between them. We pretended to be morally correct in our ideology while fighting each other, getting drunk every week, acting like hooligans, and embracing that entire outlaw lifestyle.
It was a complete fabrication of a movement and it took one moment for me to leave.
In the early 2000’s I was at a bar near my house when a black man sat next to me. He struck up a conversation with me and we discussed politics, religion, sports, current events, and even race. I wasn’t shy about my beliefs and he listened to me like a gentleman. At the end of it all I got up to go home, he extended his hand and I took it. We shook hands and he echoed a similar statement to what Daryl said to me on the phone, “you are better than you think you are.”
I walked home that night, didn’t sleep, and the next day started to walk away from the hateful scene.
I won’t lie to you and say it was easy. I left behind friends, I left behind a life I built for myself mentally, and I did it without any repercussions because I didn’t go public and rat people out. I kept to myself and disappeared from the groups, I disappeared from the bulletin boards, and I cut ties to the past methodically and started to work on my own psyche.
In the ensuing years I attended therapy to find out who I am as a man. I started to diversify my friendship base with other races, other belief systems, other religions, and embraced other cultures fully. My mom raised me without any hints of prejudice or cultural isolation, embracing the WN scene wasn’t taught to me, it was learned from my anger at the world, anger at my dad dying, and misdirecting it towards an outlet that could have ruined my life.
In the coming months and years ahead, I slowly started to throw away the past. Books, clothing, music, magazines, pictures, World War 2 German artifacts, etc. I didn’t even sell those artifacts to make money, I just threw them away. I didn’t want blood money on my hands from them. I wanted everything away from me.
I never forgave myself for the past, and I still don’t in some ways. I know I am a different man now, but I look back on this time with immense regret that I wasted my emotional health on something so harmful.
Today I am happy with who I am as a man. I am politically aware in a way that recognizes systemic racism, I have marched in BLM rallies to support humanity, I support my brothers and sisters in the LBGTQ community, my brothers and sisters of all races and nationalities, and I unequivocally have their backs in the fight against seen and unseen racism and bigotry.
I have a career that I truly love, I am in the healthiest and happiest relationship I could possibly imagine, and I can look in the mirror proud of what I came from.
It all started with me walking away from a cancerous movement over 10 years ago which could have had disastrous consequences for my life.
I sit here writing this in tears because this is opening up some wounds that I didn’t really want open but I feel strongly about sharing this with you. Not as a warning because if people are dedicated to hate, they won’t listen. Not as a lesson because some of those people will never learn what it means to love, hate will rule their world. Not as a success story, because I have guilt over this and I have scars that will never fade. I share this because I chose love over hate. I chose to live my life over having something else run my life. I chose to listen to that man in the bar who told me I was better than I thought I was and as hard as it was to walk away from a life I was creating is as much I am so damn glad I did.
I forgive myself for the past, I was angry, hateful, jaded, and hurt. I lashed out on others who didn’t deserve that and I took active part in a movement that is filled with hate, anger, and resentment.
I am sorry I did, but it made me who I am today. It led me on a direction in life that was filled with experiences and doors opening for me. The past made me realize that I have empathy, it made me realize how much I value love, it made me realize that my passion is strong and if I channeled that towards healthier pursuits I can do amazing things with it.
Ending this is hard because I do have a lot of skin to shed for this, but it has to end somehow. For all those fighting against hate, I am with you. For all those who battle against hateful rhetoric, I am with you. For all those on the side of Supremacy, I love you and you deserve better. It is never too late to make a choice to love rather than hate. It is never too late to live.