The Progressive: Overcoming Hate

Overcoming Hate: A Former Skinhead Works for Racial JusticeDecember 2017

Photo Courtesy Milwaukee Jewish Day School.

Arno Michaelis was once not just a white, racist skinhead, but a white, racist skinhead leader—a gang leader, he will tell you. He has left the beliefs that drove him—the bigotry, the hatred, the violence—far behind.

Yet he has not turned his back on that world or the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who inhabit it. Instead, Michaelis is devoting his life to repairing the damage he feels responsible for and embracing the human diversity he once hated and feared. He hopes to encourage those flirting with that life to turn away before it draws them in, and help those locked into that worldview to find their way out…