In this episode, Rob talks to Christian Picciolini about his descent into America’s Neo-Nazi movement and how he grew up in a relatively normal household. Christian reveals what it felt like to go to his first Nazi meeting and why his craving for acceptance led him to hurt people. The lack of control made Christian lose everything he had and eventually became a prominent figure among the group. After meeting his future wife and having a child, Christian started questioning his views and seeing minorities as human beings. The most conversations he had with others in his racist record store, the more his eyes opened, and the less he wanted to lie to others. Later, Christian explains how he helps others disengage from extreme movements and the responsibility he feels for the music he previously released. The internet is radicalizing young people by spreading racism and desensitizing them to specific ideas like the holocaust denying. Lastly, Christian talks Russian propaganda, how he lost everything, and signs someone is being radicalized.
Listen as Podcast
Here's what you'll discover
- [02:45] Radicalized outside of the home
- [06:05] First Nazi meeting
- [08:15] Craving acceptance
- [10:10] Hurting others made him feel better
- [12:00] Christian’s wife challenged his views
- [16:00] Conversations in the racist record store
- [19:05] Helping others disengage from extreme movements
- [21:45] Dylann Roof asked for more of Christian’s music
- [25:50] Desensitizing young people to racism
- [28:45] Russian propaganda
- [37:00] Christian lost everything
- [41:00] Signs someone is being radicalized
Christian Picciolini is an MSNBC contributor, an Emmy Award-winning director and producer, a published author, TEDx speaker, global peace advocate, and a reformed extremist. His work and life purpose bear witness to a deep-seated desire to atone for his grisly past, and an urgency to transform the hurts and wounds he inflicted into vehicles for profound healing. Christian tenaciously works to use the redemption he has been offered to make the world a better, more peace-filled place.
After leaving the violent hate movement he helped create during his youth, he began the painstaking process of rebuilding his life. Christian earned a degree with honors in international relations and international business from DePaul University, began his own digital media and counter-extremism consulting firm, and was appointed a member of both the Chicago Grammy Rock Music Committee and a board member for the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival.
In 2010 and 2011, he was nominated for three regional Emmy Awards for his role as executive producer of JBTV, one of America's longest-running, nationally-broadcast music television programs. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for his role in directing and producing an anti-hate advertising campaign called “There is life after hate,” aimed at helping youth disengage from white-supremacist groups. He has worked as an adjunct professor at the college level, and contributed to Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Director of Jigsaw, Jared Cohen's, New York Times bestseller, The New Digital Age.
In 2009, he cofounded Life After Hate, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities and organizations implement long-term solutions that counter racism and violent extremism. Christian is currently leading the Free Radicals Project, a global network of extremism preventionists, who are helping people disengage from hate movements and other violent ideologies around the world.
In 2018, Christian premiered Breaking Hate on MSNBC, a television docu-series produced by Part2 Pictures.
His involvement in, and eventual exit from, the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement is chronicled in Christian's memoir WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out(Hachette Books, 2018). The book is used in courses at Yale University, Texas Woman's University, Northern Illinois University, and the New York Institute of Technology, among others.
Christian is a frequent commentator and focus of national and international media platforms such as MSNBC, CNN, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, CBS Face the Nation, CBC, Vice, Washington Post, NY Times, Vox, Rolling Stone Magazine, GQ, Time Magazine, BBC, NPR, Glenn Beck, PBS, DemocracyNow!, CSPAN, and others. He has also appeared as a guest on shows by Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee, Adam Carolla, Mitch Albom, and many more.
An explorer by nature, Christian loves to learn new things and thrives on challenging himself with “positive disruptive thinking.” He values kindness, selflessness, sincerity, and respect for all people. Christian believes that small ideas can compound to change the world, and wherever we are we should all “#MakeGoodHappen.”
Connect with Christian
Twitter – https://twitter.com/cpicciolini
Website – https://www.christianpicciolini.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cpicciolini/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/cpicciolini
<accordion thingy here>
CALL TO ACTION
!!! ADD CALL TO ACTION !!!