Shane Johnson, 26, was practically born into the Ku Klux Klan — and his body had the tattoos to prove it.

After growing up with pro-KKK uncles and cousins, along with a dad who served as the Imperial Nighthawk (or lead enforcer) of his local Indiana chapter, Shane's skin was covered in racist and gang-affiliated graffiti.

Then he had a change of heart, and he wanted to make sure his exterior matched his interior.


Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

Shane first noticed his feelings were starting to change a few years ago when he met Tiffany.

Tiffany, who Shane would eventually marry and start a family with, would ask him questions that challenged his belief system and how they didn’t match up with the man she had met and fallen in love with.

"The main one stuck in my head was, 'Could I kill an innocent black child?'" he tells me in an email. "At the time, I answered yes to her, but in my mind, and heart, I knew the answer was no. And if the answer is no, then there is an obvious flaw with what I believe. Why do I have empathy for these people I am supposed to hate?"

Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

White supremacy is one of the oldest skeletons in America’s closet.

And after the protests during the summer of 2017 in Charlottesville, its specter is back under the spotlight. But there are signs of change.

"We believed we were the superior race," Shane says. "But in reality, we were just … pushing the blame of us being failures onto others."

Once his personal awakening began, Shane and Tiffany fled his hometown to start a new life together.

Finally free of generations of hate, it would be easy for Shane to quietly move away and forever deny the shameful legacy he was born into.

Instead, knowing it could take years and thousands of dollars to cover his tattoos, Shane decided his "path of self-discovery" would involve speaking publicly about putting his racist days behind him, even if it made him a target of those still practicing hate.

"My once most-prized possession was now the biggest burden ever," he says. "It's my dream to travel, speaking to kids and others exposing the white power movement," he explains, to help them move past the hate.

Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

When Shane heard about a nonprofit group that offers to remove racist and gang tattoos for free, he connected with them.

He is now helping the company, Southside Tattoo, raise money and awareness.

"I started with his neck, replacing a swastika with roses," Dave Cutlip, co-founder of Southside Tattoo, tells me in an interview. "There's still a lot of work to do, but we're hoping to just get it to where he can wear a regular shirt in public."

Shane also was contacted by GoFundMe Studios, which produced a short film about his change of heart and public outreach efforts.

As his personal transformation continues, Shane has decided to become an activist and hopefully an inspiration for others against hate.

He's been speaking out and appearing in local TV interviews to show that people can have a second chance at a better life if they choose to let go of their hate. In fact, he's become the poster model for a fundraising campaign to help other people cover up their racist and gang ink.

Along with enjoying a renewed life with his wife and son, Shane is trying out other new experiences. Dave says after one of the re-inking sessions, he told Shane to try créme brûlée. When Shane marveled over it, Dave says he told him, "Dude, this is what life is!"

via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Believe it or not, there has been a lot of controversy lately about how people cook rice. According to CNN, the "outrage" was a reaction to a clip Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng posted as one of his personas known as Uncle Roger.

It was a hilarious (and harmless) satire about the method chef Hersha Patel used to cook rice on the show BBC Food.


Keep Reading Show less