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Help us improve your experience by providing feedback on this. Some racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on—which may be especially toxic for people of color. Two colleagues—one Asian-American, the other African-American—board a small plane. A flight attendant tells them they can sit anywhere, so they choose seats near the front of the plane and across the aisle from each another so they can talk. At the last minute, three white men enter the plane and take the seats in front of them.

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She was a violent white supremacist. But an encounter in prison changed her life forever. Angela King had gone to the bar expecting trouble. The neo-Nazi had arrived at the local dive in South Florida with a gang of violent skinhe. King, 23, sauntered in with a 9mm pistol in the waistband of her jeans. She and her friends wore combat boots and coloured braces, their skin emblazoned with racist iconography.

I had Vikings tattooed on my chest, a swastika on my middle finger and 'Sieg Heil' on the inside of my bottom lip, which was the Hitler salute," King says. They hated black people and Jews and were also virulently homophobic. Plus, one of them was her boyfriend. So King didn't dare to admit that she was secretly gay. As the group drank they became louder and more aggressive.

A large brawl broke out after a man ordering a drink took exception to King's boyfriend. It took nothing to get my boyfriend swinging," King says. King and another woman from her group grabbed the man's companion and beat her up in the bathroom.

I was a neo-nazi. then i fell in love with a black woman

They fled after hearing the police had been called. They settled on a convenience store, but farcically it had closed while they argued about who should go in. They eventually targeted an adult video shop, reasoning that pornography "wasn't beneficial to the white race". The clerk was Jewish.

King, the eldest of three children, had been raised in a strict conservative family in South Florida. She went to an expensive private Baptist school and attended Catholic Church services each week.

My mother used to say to me, 'I will never stop loving you King started going to public school when she was 10 after her family moved. She struggled with her weight and self-confidence, and was called names by fellow students. When verbal bullying became physical, she finally snapped.

It just blew the lid off the anger and rage I had been holding on to for so long. King fought back and realised violence and aggression gave her a sense of control that she had never felt before. She soon became established as the school and neighbourhood bully.

Her parents divorced and while she and her sister stayed with their mother, their brother went to live with her father. Desperate to belong, she ed a group of teenagers into punk rock who were starting to flirt with neo-Nazism. The group pasted racist flyers around neighbourhoods at night and started fights with anyone who disagreed with them. King assumed she had found the right path, because many of their views reflected the casual racism and prejudice she had heard at home.

King was proud of her new identity and wore it "like a mantle" each day. Despite this, little action was taken at school.

Birds to look out for

In one earth science lesson she put a swastika flag on a model she had built of a moon base. It was left on display for weeks before anyone noticed. Although the model was taken down, King still received a B grade for it after her mother argued she had the right to freedom of speech. Her parents didn't object to her beliefs, but warned her she was "too blatant about them.

King began to hang out with older skinhe and ed a violent white extremist group in her teens. King was asked to leave her school when she was 16 and went to work in various fast food restaurants. Her mother eventually kicked her out for causing too much trouble and she slept in cars and on friends' sofas. It was around this time, inthat King was involved in the robbery of the adult video shop.

Soon afterwards she fled to Chicago with her boyfriend who was wanted for another hate crime. However, she was arrested weeks later and taken to the Federal Detention Centre in Miami. It was the first time she had lived in close quarters with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

I assumed I would spend my time with my back to the wall, fighting," King says. It was the start of an unlikely friendship and King found her racist belief system crumbling as a result.

Her friendship circle widened as she was taken under the wing of a wider group of Jamaican women, some of whom had been convicted for carrying drugs into the US. During her first year in the detention centre she was tipped off that a newspaper article was coming out about her case. She told one of her new friends how worried she was about the publicity. The day it came out she stole the paper and hid it so no-one could read it. She, a black woman, did that for me, an ignorant white woman who was inside for a hate crime.

King was sentenced in to five years and moved to the county jail so she could give evidence against one of her former gang.

British finches: an identification guide

When she was returned to the detention centre she discovered her circle of friends had been moved on to a prison in Tallahassee. Meanwhile some new inmates had ed the detention centre, including another Jamaican woman who took an instant dislike to King. One day as I passed, she asked: 'How do you even get to be like that? The two women began to talk and realised although they came from different worlds they had had similar experiences on the streets. Slowly the antagonism faded and they formed a bond.

They realised over time that their feelings went beyond friendship.

We were like, 'How on Earth did this happen? It got quite serious but we had to keep it secret. For both women it was their first serious gay relationship. King's girlfriend was sent on to the jail in Tallahassee before her.

King says it felt "like torture" and they wrote to each other via intermediaries. However, the relationship fizzled out a few months after King was transferred to the same prison.

Unmasking 'racial micro aggressions'

When King was released in she was determined not to fall back into old habits. She was also keen to meet other gay people and started by talking to people in chat rooms.

I found acceptance in the gay community and realised I wasn't alone. King went to community college to study sociology and psychology. She wanted to understand if her experience of extremism was a common one. While there she made contact with the local Holocaust Centre, and sat down with a Holocaust survivor in to share her life story.

She has been doing public speaking for the centre ever since. Then in she went to an international conference where she met other former extremists. I wasn't alone," King says. She met two Americans who had founded a blog called Life After Hate, in which they shared their stories. They agreed to work together to create a non-profit organisation to help other people leave the far right community.

King was all too aware of the hurdles people wishing to leave white supremacist groups had to overcome. She had tried to walk away following the Oklahoma bombing in Then I found out the bomber Timothy McVeigh shared many of my views," she says.

King was under house arrest at the time but also stopped using her phone. One day she found bullet holes across the front of her apartment block. Her extremist friends hinted they had something to do with it.

Without outside support, King didn't feel able to leave. She now uses that experience to help others. Everything in their life has to be changed, from the way they think, to the people they associate with, to dealing with permanent tattoos.

The organisation runs a programme called Exit USA that stages interventions. It also offers mentoring and points people trying to leave to different resources.

A group of around 60 former extremists provide peer support to each other. The recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been particularly difficult to deal with. Life After Hate had its government funding cut back by the Trump administration in June, but King says personal donations from around the world have helped make up the shortfall. Meanwhile she has reached a better place in her own life. Her relationship with her parents has improved and she believes they now accept the fact she is gay although she says she "doesn't care" if they do.

But I know I would not have been able to do this work had I not had those experiences," she says. King is having her old tattoos lasered - a process that started after she left prison.