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Addicted To Hate: Studying White Supremacist Groups And The People Who Leave Them

Courtesy of Matthew DeMichele
RTI International

While last month's “Unite The Right” rally in Washington D.C. was small, it brought renewed attention to white supremacist groups in the United States. 

Researcher Matthew DeMichele has been studying these groups for years, and his recent research concludes that while many people do eventually leave, the process can be as difficult as overcoming an addiction. He and other colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with dozens of former members of white supremacist groups in the U.S. to examine what makes people more susceptible to joining a white supremacy organization, how individuals enter these hate groups, and how they unlearn hate and reenter society.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Matthew DeMichele, a senior research sociologist with RTI International’s Applied Justice Division about his findings.

NOTE: This program originally aired on August 17, 2018. 

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.