TONY McALEER TELLS a story about one of the other founders of Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people leave neo-Nazi and other extremist groups. McAleer’s colleague was being served at McDonald’s by an elderly African-American woman who saw the swastika tattooed on his hand. She looked at him, and said, “Oh honey, you’re so much better than that.”
That seed germinated for years until the man left white nationalism and dedicated himself to helping others leave.
“The hardest thing in the world is to have compassion for those who have no compassion,” McAleer told Sojourners in an interview in his native Vancouver, British Columbia. “But those are the people who need it the most.” And given the number of such people attracted to such ideas in the wake of a certain presidential election, we all need pointers in how to deter folks from the fringes of what is now called the alt-right and what was once called neo-Nazism.