A Former Klansman Talks About How He Left a Life of Hate

“The fact that I believed that shit is embarrassing to me.”

Alyssa Schukar

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Shane Johnson was born into the Ku Klux Klan—now he works to convince others not to join hate groups. How did he get out? And what can we learn from his story?

On the Mother Jones Podcast, senior editor Wes Enzinna shares insights from his extensive reporting on the movement to deradicalize white supremacists and tells us how Johnson was able to turn away from a lifetime of hate. Enzinna shares exclusive audio from his interviews with Johnson, the subject of Mother Jones’ cover story this month. It’s a fascinating conversation that explores the difficulties of leaving violent extremist groups, why some researchers think extremism is similar to addiction, and the complicated ethical questions raised by a key step in the deradicalization process: getting extremists to engage with someone from a group they hate.

Also on this week’s podcast, DC bureau chief David Corn explains why President Donald Trump’s behavior makes him feel like “we’re in the upside down world in Stranger Things.” Plus, he gives us a big update in the Russia investigationand it doesn’t bode well for Trump.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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