Arno Michaelis became deradicalized when faced raising his baby daughter, an unusual story even for those working in the field of preventing violent extremism (PVE).
PVE practitioners often enough look at the role of gender and how it intersects with extremism — but almost always though the lens of the feminine.
In this podcast, the story is flipped, as we interview former white nationalist Arno Michaelis about how becoming a father deradicalized him (see a bio of Michaelis below).
Following a video interview with Clarion Project, Michaelis sat down with Clarion’s national correspondent, Shireen Qudosi, to talk about gender and how a person moves toward imagining a new story about what it means to be a human being.
In an unscripted conversation, the two speak about creating a new lens through which to see — and heal — the outrage, trauma and grievances that are often carried around by extremist individuals.
Michaelis and Qudosi address:
- What was it about becoming a father that deradicalized Michaelis and pulled him out of the white nationalist movement?
- How can we evaluate the anti-patriarchy feminist movement and themes of toxic masculinity within the traditional understanding of extremism?
- How Michaelis learned to embrace his vulnerabilities and why it is manly do to that.
- How can we understand power in the context of the masculine and a feminine, and where do we find balance?
- Why narratives of systemic racism rob people of their moral agency.
- How do we create a new lens that reorients what it means to be human at this time?
If You’re Concerned About a Loved One
If you’re concerned about a loved one getting mixed up with any kind of violent extremism, from far right to far left to Islamism, please call this number: 1-844-49-peace or visit www.Parents4Peace.org. Arno and his team have former extremists advising, along with an accomplished staff of mental health professionals.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arno Michaelis was a leader of a worldwide, racist, skinhead organization, a reverend of a self-declared Racial Holy War and the lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties. The band is still popular with white supremacists today.
Single parenthood, love for his daughter and forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno’s life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all types of people.
After spending over a decade as a successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno is now a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, co-author of The Gift of Our Wounds and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development as an educator working with Serve 2 Unite.
Founded as an ongoing peaceful response to the August 5, 2012 Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Serve 2 Unite creatively engages students with a global network of peacemakers and mentors in partnership with Against Violent Extremism, The Forgiveness Project, Search For Common Ground, and Parents for Peace.