Local News

Former White Supremacist Speaks to Soldiers

Posted October 28, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— A former white supremacist brought a powerful message to soldiers at Fort Bragg Monday.

As a former member of the Aryan Nation, Floyd Cochran knows what it means to hate someone simply because of the color of their skin. He knows racism first-hand, but learned about it long before he became part of the Aryan Nation. Like many young people in America, he says he just grew up with it.

Cochran says talking about it is the way he believes people can begin to change each others' hearts and minds. He says the military is ripe for infiltration by hate groups because of its cultural diversity.

Killings in Fayetteville last year, which were apparently racially motivated, are an example of hate turning to violence. Since the black couple in were gunned down, allegedly at the hands of white supremacist soldiers, the focus on racism at Fort Bragg, and in the military in general, has been non-stop. Soldiers say they've learned from the deaths, and from Cochran.

SSgt. Robert Scott ...

Corporal Charlotte Boyd ...

Cochran says often people joining the military come from small, rural areas where they are not exposed to diversity. Suddenly, they find themselves tossed into a melting pot where they become uncomfortable. Hate groups, he says, know this. They deliberately play upon the fears of these young people.

Minds will not be changed overnight, he says. It's up to every community to educate young people about diversity and understanding before they learn to hate.

Cochran says he began to see what hatred could do to people after he fathered a handicapped child.