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Romantic Relationship with Black Woman Is Final Nail In Coffin for Reformed Neo-Nazi’s Racist Beliefs

Angela King joined a violent neo-Nazi group as a teenager. (Photo by Mark Seliger)

A Florida woman with former ties to a neo-Nazi group said her racist beliefs crumbled away after a chance encounter in prison changed her life forever.

Toting a swastika tattoo on her middle finger and a “Sieg Heil” on the inside of her bottom lip, Florida native Angela King fell in with a gang of violent skinheads as a young teenager, according to the BBC. The group did not care to hide its hate for Blacks and Jews nor its virulent disdain for gays. So, King didn’t dare reveal she was secretly a lesbian.

As the eldest of three children raised in a strict conservative household, King said keeping such a secret left her feeling angry and abnormal because she was attracted to individuals of the same sex. She knew it was something her religious parents just wouldn’t go for.

“I knew I had to keep it to myself,” King told the news site. My mother used to say to me, ‘I’ll never stop loving you, except you better not bring home a Black person or a woman.”

All the rage and resentment came to a head after King began attending public school at the age of 10, where she was constantly bullied about her weight. She recalled the time one of her classmates ripped open her shirt in front of the entire class, exposing her chest.

“I was in a training bra and felt completely humiliated,” King said. “It just blew the lid off the anger and rage I had been holding on to for so long.”

It was in that moment she established herself as the neighborhood bully, as her realized violence and aggression gave her a sense of control she’d never felt before, according to the BBC. By the time her parents had divorced and her brother had gone to live with her dad, King had joined a group of teens who enjoyed punk rock — and neo-Nazism.

“I joined them because they accepted my violence and anger without question,” she said, adding that she assumed she had found the right path because many of the group’s views mirrored the casual racism she had heard at home.

“They told me that Jews owned the slave ships and had brought Black people to America to endanger the white race,” King said of the older skinheads and white nationalists she had started hanging out with. “It sounds ridiculous but when you are uneducated or trying to fit in, you soak up the new reality like a sponge.”

In 1998, the Florida woman was involved in the robbery of an adult video shop (which was owned by a Jewish man), after which she fled to Chicago with her then-boyfriend who was wanted for another hate crime, according to the news site. She was arrested weeks later, however, and transported to Miami’s Federal Detention Center.

It was there that she befriended a group of Jamaican women who took her under their wing and helped her begin taking responsibility for her past actions. Her skewed beliefs about race and white superiority soon began to fall away.

“I hadn’t really known any people of color before, but here were these women who asked me difficult questions but treated me with compassion,” King said.

The BBC reported that King was sentenced to five years in 1999 and moved to the county jail so she could testify against one of her former gang members. When she returned to the detention center, however, she realized her group of friends had been moved to a prison in Tallahassee. They were replaced with a group of new inmates, including another Jamaican woman who made it clear she did not like King.

“People said she had been in violent gangs and was a real badass,” she said. “One day as I passed, she asked: ‘How do you even get to be like that?’ I stopped and answered her as fully and honestly as I could.”

The two women slowly set their differences aside and formed a bond. Over time, they realized their relationship went beyond friendship.

“We realized we had fallen in love with each other. We were like, ‘How on Earth did this happen?'” King said of her first serious relationship with a woman. “We spent a lot of time together talking and shared a cell for a while. It got quite serious, but we had to keep it secret.”

However, the relationship ended a few months after King was transferred to the prison in Tallahassee.

Since her release in 2001, King has earned a degree in sociology and psychology and worked with other reformed extremists like herself, the BBC reported. She said she also has found acceptance in the gay community and has come to forgiver herself for her past mistakes.

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