When a child is born, he or she is blank slate. The concepts and love and hate are foreign to a newborn. They only learn how to treat others, especially if they are different, from their parents and the other adults around them.
Derek Black grew up in a world of hate. But then, he attended college and his world forever changed. His story is told in the new book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist, by Eli Saslow.
The heir apparent to the current white nationalism movement, Derek grew up believing that America was for White Heterosexual Christians only. Anyone who did not fall into those specific three categories was an other, to be mocked, stereotyped and blamed for the problems that America was facing. Then he went to college after spending his formative educational years being home schooled by his mother. After being outed for his beliefs, some of his classmates would have been happy for Derek to transfer to another school. Other students reached out to him in the name of friendship and camaraderie.
Slowly, he began to realize that his views were wrong and more important, hurtful to those around him. The painful revelation was only intensified by the current political climate, leading Derek down a path that forced him to choose how he wanted to live and see the world. That choice forced him to make decisions with emotionally difficult consequences.
This book can only be described by one word: wow. It shows, if nothing else, that change is possible. We can live with and respect our fellow human beings, if we are willing to see them beyond the skin deep labels that are used to define who we are.
I absolutely recommend it.