Reformed KKK/White Supremacist Members?

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

Do you believe that a former member of the KKK, white supremacists, or a NeoNazi group can be reformed? Do you think these members still carry a bit of their "old selves" in them?

The reason I ask this is because I do know someone in real life that, at once point in his life, he was heavily involved and influenced in the white supremacist movement. He recruited impressionable, naiive, gullible teens and young adults. He was considered to be part of an "elite inner circle."

Then- he was incarcerated, and turned his life around. Turned away from the hate groups and began a legal career. He is a single dad now, and says he carries the burden of his hate from 20 years with him every day. We have had lengthy conversations, and says talking to me is the best therapy he's been through in 20 years. He said he even put himself into a psychiatric treatment facility at one point.

He knows he has changed, but he calls himself an addict, and one traumatic event could send him spiraling into a hateful hell. He said he can't fully explain it, but he fears that he would become his former self one day.

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MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/29/2012

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Depends on what type of addiction. If it is drug addiction. Well, I just up and moved across Canada, to a place where I knew no one and focused on bettering my life. That did it for me, no therapist or other crap, required. However, this is not always available to all. Sometimes, therapy may work. Again, none of it will work unless you truly want to change and do everything within your being to make it happen.



It sounds to me this guy is really trying. If he keeps it up, he will be OK. He is obviously very real in his convictions and he is not afraid to face them. Now, all he needs to do is to continue to move forward and leave the past behind. I hope it all goes well for him. ;)



ETA:

Oh and I, myself, would not put him in the category of child molesters or rapists. Sure, the things he has done are unspeakable but they just aren't the same, IMO. He brainwashed kids to hate colour (which is terrible, in itself), he did not take away their person by ripping out their inner soul and taking their most precious innocence.

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Karla - posted on 06/02/2012

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I think for some people they need the lifelong support and therapy of groups like AA or a counselor, but I also know Meme is right and moving away, or finding new friends outside of the abuse (whether it's hate, alcohol or drugs) is a huge help. Many people do both of these things; I suppose it depends on the person as to what will work best for them.

Sapphire, I sure hope your friend continues on this path of recovery!

[deleted account]

Yeah I totally think people can change opinions.

When I was in my teens I was an evangelical Christian and now I'm an atheist!

Stacy - posted on 05/30/2012

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I think people can change. Look at people who have overcome alcohol and drug abuse. It takes more than just stopping the drinking or drug abuse; people have to reinvent themselves, often having to stop communicating with certain people and changing their day-to-day activities. It's a life-long process. That's why people keep attending AA and NA meetings--it's long-term therapy that helps people deal with situations that arise that might make them regress to their previous behavior. With the right kind of therapy, I think your friend has a very good chance of full recovery. Good luck to him.

[deleted account]

When we reconnected via Facebook 3 years ago, he sent me this really long 3-4 page email apologizing for his past, his crimes, what he did to me in high school. (Which half of the shit he claims he did to me I have no recollection of). I do think of him as a close friend and he confides so much in me. He continuously thanks my husband for allowing me to talk to him! I beleive he has changed, but there's always that one thing that can go wrong.

Charlie - posted on 05/29/2012

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With the right support and will power to be a better person I think it may be possible but very hard.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/29/2012

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I don't know if people can truly change. I need to hope that they can.

Karla - posted on 05/29/2012

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Sapphire,

My experience with indoctrination or abuse or addiction is that the person will need to get outside help, generally via therapy, quite often. Because there are so many triggers and all of a sudden they have residue thoughts coming to the forefront and they need help getting centered again.

[deleted account]

MeMe, you hit the nail on the head by mentioning rapists and child molesters.

I suppose I bring this up because he does feel like his past comes up a lot, just by simply Googling his name. He has been compared to the evils of rapists & child molesters. I think it truly eats at him. He owns up to his crimes, doesn't try to brush it off, and tries to use himself as an example of how not to lead your life.

But Karla, you are right too in regard to the brain chemistry and certainly the brainwashing that these hate groups use in recruiting. He feels that any little trigger can put him back into a hateful cycle; example- a car accident with a black guy, being harrased by a Hispanic guy, or being wronged by a Jewish guy. That's brain chemistry working the wrong way I suppose.

I do believe addicts can overcome their addictions- and even people who were indoctrined by the harshest of brainwashing over time. But I do see my friend's fear of being pulled back into the hate.

Karla - posted on 05/29/2012

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I think indoctrination is similar to brainwashing; so recovery is hard but not impossible. I agree with your friend about the similarities between his indoctrination and previous activities and addiction. They both alter brain chemistry, and both require constant vigilant recovery methods. Having said that, I do believe it's absolutely possible to be reformed.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/29/2012

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I most definitely believe "some" people can change. They have to have the heart in it, though. They have to be able to see their wrongs and make them right. As Krista said, they must be conscious of their thoughts and be able to manipulate any former ones from entering within.



I know some people can change. They just have to really want to.





BTW - I say "some" because I truly have little hope for child molesters or any rapist. I am sure they can change too, I just don't trust it when they say it. Anywho....completely off topic. ;)

Krista - posted on 05/29/2012

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Well, good for him for turning his life around! That's fantastic!

I think that people CAN change, yes. But I think that when we're talking about changing deep-seated attitudes, the person needs to be vigilant and conscientious, as it's very possible that those old attitudes will sometimes pop back up, even in "mild" ways. So I think that as long as your friend is conscious of it and aware, he can recognize any hateful thoughts that arise and deal with them in a thoughtful fashion.

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