ByJancy Richardson, writer at Creators.co
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Cults & Conspiracies seeks to understand the evil that we do to each other and the hatred that informs those actions. MP Super News's dark-leaning, inquisitive show has looked at the Jonestown Massacre and de-programming techniques from a cult expert, but episode 3 focusses on a different kind of destructive cult movement: White Supremacy.

See Cults & Conspiracies episode 3 here.

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Our Cults & Conspiracies guest this week is former neo-Nazi skinhead Timothy Zaal, a reformed White supremacist who now helps to prevent others from falling into extremist ideologies.

Why Are People Drawn To White Supremacy?

An intelligent, eloquent man in LA — quite opposite from our usual pre-conception of white supremacists as uneducated hicks in the rural deep South — what drew Timothy Zaal to racist gangs? As a youth, his brother was shot (non-fatally) by an African American, which developed what Zaal terms his family's ''standard bigotry'' into a deeper seated hatred. Fueled by fear and denied entry to the US army on medical grounds, a young Zaal formed the idea of ''fighting for his country'' on the streets.

Zaal describes a young kid with a sad desire for belonging, desperate to feel important: " I dreamed of being a hero of the white race." Not accepted by the local skinheads, Zaal sought out white supremacist Tom Metzger, the founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), who told him racist lies until he really believed that "the white race is gonna become extinct unless you stand up and do something about it."

The KKK assemble in 'A Time To Kill' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
The KKK assemble in 'A Time To Kill' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

What Was It Like To Leave The Extreme Right Scene?

After a 3-5 year process of leaving the scene (which Zaal says is very normal) he didn't suffer repercussions until he started speaking out against the movement and getting involved with the Museum of Tolerance many years later. Skinheads followed Zaal, showing up at his property, and once even leaving a dead cat on his lawn.

He moved out of state, getting into another scene and feeling accepted. In his newfound swing and rockabilly social group, he met and married to a Jewish woman, who he is still with over 15 years later.

How Many Different Types of White Supremacist Groups Are There?

Zaal explains that there are many types of White Supremacist groups, from gangs like Hammerskin Nation and Aryan Brotherhood, to twisted Christian organization Aryan Nation and the atheistic, anti-region World Church of the Creator. The most famous White Supremacist group is the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which has been around since the end of the Civil War and prompted the first ever federal antiterrorism law with their violent acts of terrorism.

Nazi punks in 'Green Room' [Credit: A24]
Nazi punks in 'Green Room' [Credit: A24]

Zaal identifies the current alt-Right and leader Richard Spencer as another wing of White Supremacy:

"Personally, I think that the alt-right is a joke, I think it's a distraction, it's difficult to distinguish between alt-right and far right... we do need a counter-narrative to extremist behavior."

Ultimately, Zaal says, our only hope for a better, more unified world is to talk and listen to each other: "we have to come together and respect one another."

Catch a new episode of Cults & Conspiracies Wednesday on MP Supernews. Next week we'll be discussing famous cult leaders — Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh — and what drove them to do the things they did.

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