Facing History students attend a Q&A session about a former white nationalist

Facing History students attend Washington Post journalist Eli Saslow's discussion of Derek Black, a former white nationalist. This experience was detailed in Saslow's book,

Facing History students attend Washington Post journalist Eli Saslow's discussion of Derek Black, a former white nationalist. This experience was detailed in Saslow's book, "Rising out of Hatred."

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On Monday, Oct. 28, Facing History and Ourselves students across the mid-south went to the Orpheum to listen to Washington Post journalist Eli Saslow discuss his book “Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist.”
The book is about Derek Black who was described as “the heir to the White Nationalist movement.” Derek Black’s father, Don Black, was the leader of the hate group Ku Klux Klan and was the founder of the biggest white nationalist website,  “Stormfront”. Derek Black helped modernize the movement by elevating it into mainstream politics and appealing to moderate white racists rather than extremists. However, after attending college, Derek leaves the white nationalist movement and is now in D.C. trying to combat racism with policy groups.
Facing History and Ourselves classes read, studied and discussed the book in order to gain a new perspective on racism and a lesson on forgiveness and change. The experience Derek faced at the community college changed not only his mindset but also those of audience members, including senior Diana Ngo.
“With the book, it gave a new definition of white supremacists. [Before I thought] they’re bad, terrible people and viewed them as outwardly racist people. But with this book, it made me realize that racism can take the form of many different shapes,” Ngo said.
In a time where political and social tensions are high, Ngo believes the book is necessary in order to understand others with differing opinions.
“In this world, we’re so divided; there’s a schism; everyone is set in their views. But I feel like if we can embrace others like the community at the college Derek went to, then there wouldn’t be as much as a divide,” Ngo said.

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