The neo-Nazi who found redemption thanks to an unlikely friendship - Godyears

The neo-Nazi who found redemption thanks to an unlikely friendship

October 02, 2017

For most of his adult life, 38 year old Micheal Kent has been a neo-Nazi and part of a violent white supremacist group, the swastika tattooed on his chest while in prison a sign of his strong beliefs.

This year, he finally walked into a specialist center and voluntarily got his tattoos removed in a grueling 15 hour procedure. And it is all thanks to an unlikely friendship with his parole officer, Tiffany Whittier... a black woman.

Micheal Kent's transformation after a lifetime of racial hatred is a wonderful example of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi.  "No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption."


Refusing to hate Kent who discriminated against 'her kind', Whittier decided she wanted to be a positive influence on him and chose to use her time beside him being his friend and making him choose happiness over hatred. Months of friendship overcame decades of personal racial beliefs as the father of two would go on to remove the Nazi banners in his house and actually put up - on her insistence - smiley faces instead.

“When you wake up and see a smiley face, you’re going to go to work and you’re going to smile.” Kent recalls Whittier telling him.

Kent now works alongside dozens of other employees in a chicken farm - the only white man of the lot - and is happy to have them as his family. And he knows he has Whittier to thank for it.

“Before all this, I wouldn’t work for anybody or with anybody that wasn’t white,” said Kent. “Now we have company parties, or they have quinceañeras, I’m the only white guy there!”

Removing the tattoos was a painful procedure but Kent agrees that it was worth the pain.

“I don’t want my kids to live the life I lived and live with hate,” said Kent. “I want my kids to know me for who I am now—a good father, a hard worker, and a good provider.”


Unknown to him, Whittier made the journey to visit Kent - who had not seen her for a year - the day after he got his tattoo removed. You can watch the lovely reunion of these unlikely friends here.



Author's note:

If we can look beyond our inner prejudices, we are all capable of a positive change. Micheal Kent's transformation after a lifetime of racial hatred is a wonderful example of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

"No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption."



Write Tribe
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.
Tiffany Whittier is a genuine hero of compassion. 
There is a lot more kindness where that came from.
I have compiled over 30 heroes of kindness and compassion this year.

You can find the list here

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34 comments

  1. What an amazing turn around!! Yes, given the right direction, inspiration and motivation, anyone can change. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story of compassion and redemption.

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    1. If after decades, people can still change their course for the better, I think it becomes more important not to give up in these trying times

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  2. "No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption." Loved this quote. Beautiful video. It’s wonderful to read such stories of kindness and compassion that leads to positive changes. There is so much good in this world!

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    1. There is. We need to focus and showcase these stories of kindness rather than keep focusing on the past.

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  3. Pperceptions in mind have a different place in our lives. And later in life some situations or persons make a mark on our mind. And unknowingly we change for good.

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    1. True. I can only imagine the amount of hate he had in his life prior to that moment

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  4. Yet another great untold story of a true hero. Love and kindness can alter views indeed and make us better part of our self. It was a great read!

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    1. Have been seeking out such stories this year, wanting to showcase them on the blog.

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  5. What a lovely story of friendship and kindness. Thanks doc for sharing it.

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  6. Wow now thats whats called influencing someone! What a courageous woman to go out and do this without once thinking he hates her!!

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    1. Seriously, I don't know if I would be capable of such deeds.

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  7. Such a heartening story. An amazing woman I'm sure because it's often difficult to overcome the hatred and deep rooted prejudices. Kudos to the woman :)

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  8. What an amazing woman! This is how kindness heals the world, one act at a time!

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    Replies
    1. Seriously, it comes down to just that - one act at a time.

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  9. Amazing! Even today when hate seems to be winning, such a heartening tale shows us there is time and space for love to grow.

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    1. Exactly why its important to highlight these acts of kindness... change the narrative. Instill hope.

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  10. Years of hatred just melted because of a smile! Nice read! Stuck great acts of kindness changing one person at a time!

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    Replies
    1. That seems to be the way to go... Chip away at the hatred one person at a time.

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  11. Hats off to Ms Whittier for being a great gradual change catalyst. Thank you Dr Roshan for bringing up real life stories that inspire!
    -Anagha from Team MocktailMommies
    Https://mocktailmommies.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. It started off as part of the a to Z challenge where I found 26 such stories. Now I have so many left over that it makes sense to share them all over a period of time

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  12. Such a positive feel-good post this is! It proves that an act of selfless love can win over years of hatred. We need more people like Whittier in this world. She's a hero!

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    1. Most of the heroes I find in real life are ordinary people who just do the right thing when faced with bigotry and hate. That's what's needed here.

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  13. True, happiness and positivity can surely change a person. Liked the post and your mission to showcase such stories on blog.

    Cheers
    MeenalSonal from AuraOfThoughts

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  14. Thanks for sharing the story of love amongst so much hatred in the world. Hats off their friendship! :)

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    1. True... need more friendships like this to be showcased to the public to undo these prejudices

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  15. A great story, worthy of sharing, Roshan. I wish it inspired many living in the wilderness of prejudices and ego.

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  16. Wow, i smiled on the note of when he removed the tattoo. after all its the win of love and kindness over hatred and differences.

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    1. Exactly... that would be the literal physical manifestation of victory of love over hatred, right?

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