This Iowa Tattoo Shop Removes Racist Ink For Free

“It’s basically good versus evil. To give people a fresh start,” the tattoo shop owner said.


A tattoo shop is helping out people who express regret for some of their objectionable tattoos and want to get them removed.

The shop situated in Dubuque, Iowa, offers to remove such tattoos and the best part is they don’t charge anything for it. It is free.

Owner Rober Bader thought of this idea way back in 2011 but at that time, he didn’t have the money. Fast forward some years, he runs Retrospect Tattoo Removal. Situated in the back room of his shop, the Crow’s Nest, people who wish to remove regretful ink from their bodies are welcomed to get such tattoos removed for free.

“Unfortunately, when you brand yourself, it stays with you,” Bader said. "These are people who think differently about the tattoo than when they got it. These are people that have changed."

The shop uses lasers to remove racist or hateful tattoos.

Bader does this for free “to touch lives and to change lives,” and “to give people a fresh start.” According to the tattoo artist, removing racist and hateful tattoos means removing hate from the world.

“It’s basically good versus evil," he said

The tattoo removal concept popped in Bader’s head earlier, when a client wanted to get his granddaughter's name tattooed on his body. The granddaughter was just a few months old.

While inking the grandpa with the baby’s name, the tattoo artist noticed a “large and deeply racist tattoo” on the man’s body.

“He saw that I had noticed it and he just had this look of disappointment,” Bader said explaining that he had a conversation with the man after that for almost three hours. The man told Bader his upbringing was from rural Alabama and he got involved with the Klu Klux Klan when he was a teenager. But now the man was a different person. He had changed for the better.

“He knew that it was wrong,” Bader said. “My heart went out to him. You could see it in his eyes and his tears that he had changed.”

And now after some years, the tattoo artist has a tattoo removal shop that helps such people.

"I have seen ex-gang members filled with the same deep regret. Even with college degrees, some are still unable to move forward in their life due to permanently being marked in a highly visible area. I hear stories of them still being profiled, shunned, turned down, all because of an influential upbringing steering them into a lifestyle that included getting tattoos to show their loyalty," he said.

His act of kindness is an example for other people as well. Yes, people do get carried away with various bad affiliations and some ignorant beings also think that inking racist symbols on their body will make them look loyal to a cause.

However, only a few think of helping out these people when they really do want to change.

Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters

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