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“Resources for Recovering Racists: Part One”

Prepared by Brandon Kidd (link to librarian profile) at Guelph Public Library (link to website).

First published: (date) | Last updated: (date) | Last accessed: (date)

Relevancy: Teen Readers, Adult Readers (third option “Children or Parents”)

Tags: racism, extremism, neo-nazi, white supremacy, recovery, psychology, history, social psychology

Rating for guide: (1-5 stars)

Reading Guide

The first part of this resource guide is personal, psychological, and biographical. The aim of this list is to challenge and expunge racist ideologies, primarily by exposing the
reader to narratives by former racists, people who have traveled the journey to recovery personally and learned to abandon their hatred. This guide also examines the racism of the Third Reich, its origins in the first half of the twentieth century, and the political motivations behind encouraging hatred and anger within a population. Readers are encouraged to go through this guide in the order in which titles are mentioned below, as the resources mentioned first will likely be the most accessible for recovering racists as they begin their journey.

The first three titles in this guide are autobiographies, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story by Frank Meeink and Romantic Violence by Christian Picciolini both offer accounts of how each author was approached as a young man by a representative of an organized hate group. They authors explain how and why the ideologies of hatred and racism appealed to them in their particular socioeconomic contexts. The book My Life After Hate by Arno Michaels follows a similar theme and construction.

At first glance, the next three titles appear to go off on a tangent, but their inclusion here is meant to provide historical and psychological understandings of racism. In other words, lacking one comprehensive title which explores the question, the next four resources explore the question of racism and anger are used to control and manipulate both individuals and populations.

The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon and The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt are both studies in social psychology which explain how different social circumstances and individual psychologies affect one another. Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram and The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo are more contemporary studies which explore and demonstrate the same ideas.

The last two titles in this list specifically explore the racism of Nazi Germany from angles which white supremacists ignore or… etc. etc. etc.

“Part Two” to this guide (link to other guide’s permalink) is designed to give recovering racists ideologies to replace the ones they are trying to overcome; it attempts to show the various ways that all humans share something much deeper and grander than the physical differences that distinguish us.



Resource List

Autobiography of a recovering skinhead: the Frank Meeink story as told to Jody M. Roy, Ph.D. by Frank Meeink (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0979018824. (links to local library resource, GoodReads, Amazon, LibraryThing, etc.)

Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead by Christian Picciolini (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0986240423. (links)

My Life After Hate by Arno Michaels (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0983129097. (links)

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0156701532. DDC: 321.9. (links)

The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon (Author).

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo.

Nazism and War by Richard Bessel. DDC: 320.5330943

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. ISBN-13: 978-0553296983. DDC: 940.5318092.

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This reading guide is really useful and thoughtfully prepared. My own library doesn’t have several of these resources, but I plan on making sure to include them at our next collection development meeting. –Librarian Name (link to profile) at Library Name (link to website). Date of comment, etc.