Theo Wilson did not imagine his curiosity would find him leading a national conversation about race in the United States. The rapper, actor, and slam poetry contest winner simply wanted to know more about why people in the alt-right movement thought and felt the way they did.
So, Wilson assumed an online white supremacist persona called “Lucius25” and spent about six months interacting with people on those forums. And he learned a lot, not just about them, but about himself and his own echo-chamber.
Wilson's foray into the alt-right online world, and the lessons he learned from that journey, are captured in his 2017 TEDX talk, A Black Man Undercover in the Alt-Right:
The most important lesson he learned: We have to talk face to face. It's too easy to dismiss the humanity of someone you profoundly disagree with when you're behind a keyboard. So Wilson wants us to step away from anonymity and meet each other in person to talk about race in this country, even if that is a deeply uncomfortable thing to do.
Poetry, and his TEDX talk, is what brought Theo Wilson to Carroll University this week, and Lake Effect's Bonnie North had a chance to talk with him:
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