COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) - Dickie Marcum says at one point in his life, he was a racist.
He made the statement in a recent Facebook post that has since gone viral. He also says that chapter of his life is over—that he isn’t racist anymore.
Marcum grew up in Mt. Healthy, graduated from Mt. Healthy High School, and explains he now lives in Colerain Township with his wife and children.
He says he grew up in a household where racial slurs weren’t uncommon.
As for the swastika tattoo he once carried on his chest, he says he got it when he was 19.
“I had an ex-fiancée, six months after we got together, she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by an African American male who recently got out of jail for his crime,” Marcum said. “That’s what fueled the tattoo and fueled the hate.”
Marcum is now 34.
He says about five years ago, he tattooed an ‘X’ across the swastika in an attempt to cover it up.
“The reason I tattooed the ‘X’ over it is, those beliefs have been long dead, but I found out I was going to be a father,” Marcum said. “I didn’t want to raise my kids around hate or intolerance. They don’t deserve that, and a lot of that stuff is taught at a very young age. They needed a chance.”
As the years passed, Marcum says he continued to feel shame because of the tattoo on his chest. He says that ‘X’ simply wasn’t enough, because you could still see what was there before.
“Once that hate started to go away, I started to feel a lot lighter,” Marcum said. “I wasn’t carrying all that baggage, and I want people to know they don’t have to live like that. They don’t have to have that in their heart.
“What helped kill the feelings of what that tattoo represented to me was working with a bunch of a diverse people, and getting to know people on a personal level and them embracing me and showing me love, knowing what I had on my body, and they didn’t care.”
On Friday, Marcum went to Silkworm Tattoo, where he got the swastika completely covered.
He did it on Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the US.
“They drew up the tattoo for me, and I didn’t care what it was as long as I didn’t have to look at that symbol anymore,” Marcum said.
The finished product was done for free.
Tattoo artists at Silkworm Tattoo say they’re covering any racial tattoos right now for free for anyone who donates to a charity. They also say they aren’t the only tattoo shop doing this.
“My kids are going to know what I had,” Marcum said. “They are going to know how I felt, but they are never going to be taught to feel that way.
“I have said and done some things that I am still filled with shame for, and anybody out there that knows me or knows of me or has been affected by me in any negative way, I want them to know I am truly sorry.”
Marcum says he has also recently participated in local protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
He also says he never expected his post to go viral and that he’s received a lot of support and love from people he doesn’t even know.