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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

You can subscribe to the Mother Jones Podcast using any of the following services:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest