Erasing Hate is a true story of redemption. This original MSNBC documentary chronicles the grueling journey of Bryon Widner, a skinhead "enforcer" who—with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center—extracted himself from the white power world, only to find that the racist tattoos covering his head and body were a constant reminder to himself and others of his violent past.
I hope you'll watch Erasing Hate to see how you're helping to make a difference in our fight against hate.
Sunday, June 26
9 p.m. ET
I'm looking forward to watching this documentary this weekend. Maybe we should liveblog it here at DKOS...more below the fold.
Please visit this link to learn more about Bryon Widner and his wife the focus of the documentary.
For years, Bryon Widner thrived on hate as a violent skinhead – a razor-carrying "enforcer" who helped organize other racist gangs around the country. His hate was literally etched on his face in the form of tattoos with racist and violent themes.
But with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center – the nation's leading monitor of hate and extremist activity – Widner left the white power movement and endured nearly two years of excruciating laser treatments to remove the tell-tale tattoos so that he could start a new life with his wife and children.
I'm interested in finding out about his story of TRUE redemption and why he decided that a life of hate was no longer the path for him. Bryon was an up-and-coming racist in the white supremacy movement. He was mean and vicious. He met his wife at an event, a skinhead event. At some point, they both saw through the lies and hypocrisy of the white supremacist movement.
There was one problem.
Widner gained notoriety within the movement for the tattoos covering his face and body. Eventually, he caught the attention of SPLC officials, including Roy, a former police detective who has spent 25 years monitoring hate and extremist movements for the SPLC.
The article goes on to say that Bryon changed on the inside but the outside remained the same. I urge you to visit the link and read the story. There is also video posted from the documentary.
I'm really moved by Bryon's story. His sincerity and his quest to make amends is incredible. It doesn't happen often. He doesn't deny that what he did was racist. He divorces himself from his hate-mongering friends. In other words, he doesn't try to make excuses for his past and offer token gestures, such as visiting the Civil Rights Memorial as a deed of absolution.
And it is a testament to the SPLC and anti-racists here in the US that even though outwardly, he bore the markings of his past, they offered him forgiveness and helped to pay for his laser surgery to remove his racist and violent tattoos.
I find this to be true of those fighting against racism generally. When people are generally willing to be sincere, name their shame, apologize to those they have hounded and offended, and their actions reflect a true change in course, not some game-playing, that generally those on the anti-racist side of issues are more than willing to get past horrible words and deeds.
But it takes bravery to admit when you were wrong. You can't just bypass the contrition and hope no one remembers. WE Remember. You can't offer an olive branch and think that all will be okay in your continued denial. Rightfully, those who were on the brunt of your ill-will, laugh at your tokenism and gestures because you've not the courage to make things right! And so you continue to try to over-compensate and the laughter roars on.
At any rate, please watch the documentary to see true contrition and the righting of wrongs. Maybe, just maybe, some will see that empty gestures are just that...empty!