Michael Kent’s story isn’t run-of-the-mill. A thirty-eight year-old father and ex white supremacist, he spent 20 years of his life having his skin fiercely tattooed with symbols of white supremacy.
Then something happened. Something that would cause both his perspective and physical appearance to change.
Redeeming inputs often come from places that we don’t expect, and there’s no doubt that Michael didn’t expect to find rebirth in Tiffany Whittier: his African American parole officer. But it was not long after he was first assigned to her in prison that he acknowledged the important role she would play in his detachment from racist beliefs.
Perhaps it was because she was not there to judge him, but rather to help him; because she was able to see past Michael’s marked skin and focus on the human (in)side of him. And by doing so, was able to positively influence a man deeply in need of new perspective.
By the time Michael had left prison, he was a different person: he gave up his extremist views and had his tattoos covered over (the work being done by Redemption Tattoo – a nonprofit organization that helps former skinheads and neo-Nazis get rid of their racist ink for free).
The transformation did not stop with the removal of tattoos however: Michael now works on a farm where he says he is the only white man. Moreover, he has committed himself to bringing up his kids with the ideals of tolerance and respect for racial diversity; teaching them to live without hatred in their hearts as he himself, with Tiffany’s aid, has learned to do. Indeed it could be said that Michael Kent is living a new life, written in new ink.