Talk to kids about hate

A former neo-Nazi from Vancouver says the violence in Charlottesville, Va., presents an opportunity for parents and educators to become more aware of how easily youth can be lured into a seemingly exciting but potentially deadly world of hate.

Tony McAleer, 49, became immersed in white supremacy at age 15 when some skinheads befriended him through a subculture of punk music.

"By the time I got into organized groups, I was 17, 18," said McAleer, adding he has dealt with his guilt about targeting non-whites and gays for 15 years by helping others exit a similar lifestyle.

Unlike in the days of his own experience, the internet has made it much easier for youth to become radicalized without having to seek out neo-Nazi groups or attend meetings that could draw protesters or undercover police, he said.

McAleer said it's important for parents to regularly talk with their kids about issues such as last week's nationalist rally in Charlottesville where a 20-year-old man allegedly rammed a vehicle into a crowd of anti-racists, including a young woman who was killed.

"Ask them what they know about Charlottesville. What do they think happened? What do their friends think? Just come at it from a non-judgmental place and get them opening up and communicating," he said.

"If you wait until they come home with a fascist haircut and a tiki torch, I think at that point it's too late. Once they get a certain point down the rabbit hole, it's beyond the education and skill set of most parents to handle properly."

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