The Tats Were Permanent, But the Hate Wasn't

This is an interesting story about a reformed skinhead who, with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center and an anonymous donor, is ridding himself of the extensive white supremacists tattoos covering his face, neck, torso, and arms.

While MSNBC's headline makes a prominent reference to the "agony" Bryon Widner is suffering with the tattoos' removal, Widner himself is less inclined to indulge concern about the pain he's experiencing: "If anything he felt that he deserved the pain and the public humiliation as a kind of penance for all the hurt he had caused over the years."

Widner's straightforwardness about the depth of his previously-professed "principles" is compelling, too: "I wasn't on any great mission for the white race. I was just a thug."

I would've liked to read more about what brought Widner to reject white supremacy—a movement in which he was so enmeshed that, when he approached the SPLC, their chief investigator of hate and extreme groups, Joseph Roy, described it as "like the Osama Bin Laden of the movement calling in."

It's a profound transformation, and I hope Widner will continue to use the new life he is being given to move ever further from hatred and to inspire others to similar changes of heart and mind.

[Via TDW.]

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