Saturday, January 8, 2011

After hate

Arno Michaels found violence thrilling as a child. He was a bully and would pick fights. The skinhead-white supremacist subculture attracted him because it allowed him to lash out at the world. He soon embraced the skinhead ideas and was off down the trail of hate, reinforced by the paranoia the white supremacists taught.

He didn't have to prove he wasn't black, but that culture constantly demanded he prove he wasn't gay. The easiest proof was to seek out some gays and bash them. He had a gay uncle who died in a mental hospital. It took a long time for him to understand his uncle's mental problems were due to ostracism, not because he was gay.

A buddy of Michaels was murdered in a street fight. Michaels realized that prison could take him away from his daughter, so he left the skinhead movement. Without the constant reinforcement his paranoia and hate faded. As he got to know people of formerly forbidden cultures he discovered how much more fun life could be. Michaels has now written the book, "My Life After Hate." It highlights the need for us humans to give and receive compassion. Michaels now takes part in anti-violence and anti-bullying programs.

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