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Theo E.J. Wilson explained to a TEDxMile High audience how he became 'Lucius25' - a white supremacist lurker.
Speaking in July, in Denver, Colorado, Wilson talked about all that he had learned about the alt-right on his anonymous ventures.
Wilson used the same anonymity that the internet affords to members of the 'alt right', to become 'Lucius25'.
He called it the anonymity of a 'klan hood'.
Wilson first encountered the racist online trolls after posting his own viral videos.
In a bid to circumvent the social media algorithm that fed him only the liberal news he wanted to see, he created a ghost profile, and his 'undercover' identity was born.
As a lurker, Lucius25 joined the far right forums on InfoWars, American Rennaissance, and National Vanguard Alliance.
To be honest, it was kind of exhilarating.
As Lucius25, Wilson would comment negatively about Black Lives Matter, so called 'race baiters', and other issues discussed by white supremacist.
He also visited the profiles of the trolls who used to abuse him in the comment section of his videos as Wilson.
A lot of these guys were just regular Joes.A lot of outdoors men, a lot of hunters, computer nerds, some of them family guys with videos of their families.I mean for all I know some of you could be in this room. Right?
A lot of these guys were just regular Joes.
A lot of outdoors men, a lot of hunters, computer nerds, some of them family guys with videos of their families.
I mean for all I know some of you could be in this room. Right?
He was surprised by the compassion he felt for these 'alt right' keyboard warriors, who Wilson said were being 'demonised' for the race and gender that they were born.
Wilson argues that the echo chamber of online feeds the right as well as the left, depriving them of diversity in the perspectives they encounter.
What he learned from his time 'undercover' was:
The way to overcome this is to have courageous conversations with difficult people.People who do not see the world the same way that you see the world.
The way to overcome this is to have courageous conversations with difficult people.
People who do not see the world the same way that you see the world.
See the full TedxMileHigh video, here:
More: One of the world's oldest news organisations has stopped using the term 'alt-right'. Here's why you should too