If you check out my twitter feed you'll notice that I follow some individuals who hold view that you will likely find repulsive. A lot of the time people think that following someone on twitter constitutes an endorsement of their views (not true). I follow people on twitter for a very simple reason: I want to know what they have to say.
I spent a great deal of time researching white supremacists on-line for my novel, and in the process of doing so, I began to develop a much greater understanding of their psychology. This understanding, in turn, helps me to see the bigotry in a much clearer light. And in the context of twitter, it doesn't bother me. I have pretty thick skin, not just on-line, but in RL too.
Do I hate white supremacists? Do I have a morbid fascination with them?
No, and probably yes.
For many years I had a deep interest in Islamic extremism, probably since I had recently come out of a similarly fundamentalist worldview. I saw their views as analogous to views I had once held.
Following racists on twitter helps to serve as a check to the internalized, subconscious memes of white supremacy that still float around the back of my mind - as a function of living in the West, they're more or less inescapable. So really, I look at their views as a form of inoculation - as a vaccine of sorts.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis