How to Convert a White Supremacist: The Case of Christian Picciolini
Christian grew up with parents who worked extensive hours to support their family’s basic needs. Christian lived in a nice house, had clothes, and was well fed. But his parents weren’t present in his life. He spent nights at his parents’ house and days at his grandparents’ house in a neighboring town. Christian didn’t feel like he belonged to anyone or any place.
As he grew up, Christian explains that he, “desperately wanted to be a part of something.” He yearned to belong to a group that was bigger than himself. And his chance came when a mutual family friend named Carmine introduced Christian to the leader of the Chicago skinhead movement.
Clark Martell gave Christian discipline, structure, a mission, and, more importantly, a sense of belonging. Christian was barely a teenager at the time, but within ten years, he would become a major leader of the white supremacist movement in America.