In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Christian Picciolini about his experience as a neo-Nazi skinhead. They discuss how Christian got out of the movement, the limits of shame and forgiveness, the cult-like dynamics of white supremacy, the alt-Right, Russian support for white supremacy in the US, “fake news”, the significance of Charlottesville, the SPLC, and many other topics.
Christian Picciolini became a white supremacist at the age of fourteen and went on to become the leader in the notorious Hammerskin Nation, one of the most violent hate groups in the world. After leaving the white power movement at twenty-two, he co-founded Life After Hate, a non-profit organization run by former extremists who are now dedicated to countering racism. He is a TEDx speaker and won an Emmy in 2016 for his role as director and executive producer of an anti-hate video campaign. He’s the author of White American Youth: My Descent in America’s Most Violent Hate Movement—And How I Got Out.