We’ve got a provocative but deeply practical episode today. All of us have people in our lives — whether it be our personal lives, our professional lives, or even just people we see on TV — with whom we disagree. So how can we coexist, or even reach a state of mutual understanding, with these people? It’s not an overstatement to say that your personal happiness, as well as the future of the planet, may rest in part in our collective ability to hone these skills.
My guest today has done this work in some of the most extreme ways imaginable. She is a reformed neo-Nazi by the name of Shannon Foley Martinez who now works to deradicalize extremists. She’s also a consultant at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab. In this conversation, we talk about how she got into the white power movement, how she got out of it, her methods for de-radicalizing people who are still in the movement, how she applies those methods to more mundane conversations across the many lines of differences that run through our society—and how you can, too.
Just a quick note - you’ll hear some background noise, from a lawnmower and a barking dog— but that’s just the reality of recording podcasts in the middle of a pandemic. Also, as you might imagine, we hit on some pretty sensitive material here, including discussions of hate-fueled violence, racism, sexual assault, and homophobia.
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