Words of Hate Transformed Into Art
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Aired 3/13/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Tammy Gillies, director of the San Diego chapter of the Anti-Defamation League
Frank Meeink, former Neo-Nazi recruiter, author of "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead"
Many of us would like to think that the age of hate groups in America has passed. According to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the opposite is true. In the last 10 years, the number of what the center terms "hard core" hate groups has almost doubled, as have efforts to transform hate into understanding.
The San Diego chapter of the Anti-Defamation League is marking the ADL's 100th anniversary with an unusual art exhibit and a speaker with a remarkable life story.
When the Montana Human Rights Network acquired 4,000 volumes of white supremacist propaganda from a defecting official of the World Church of the Creator, it approached the Holter Museum of Art in Helena with the idea to use the books to create art for an exhibition. More than 100 artists from coast to coast responded to the museum’s open invitation to reflect upon or transform this propaganda into contemporary art.
Frank Meeink, a former Neo-Nazi recruiter and author of "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead," will be speaking at the opening night of the exhibit tonight.
He calls himself a "recovering skinhead," and changed from being a white supremacist to being an advocate for diversity.
Meeink told KPBS that "human nature and science" made him question all of his beliefs. He said the idea of DNA went against his white supremacist teachings, and he changed his beliefs after working for a Jewish man who became a mentor.
Claire Trageser contributed to this report.