Google defines discrimination as […] making a distinction in favor of or against a person […] based on the group, class, or category to which that person […] is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit.
The world is often discussing discrimination based on race, gender, disability, age, sexual preference, etc… but discrimination crosses into every category of human. I would like to acknowledge the discrimination of those with tattoos.
I realize there are many justified stereotypes regarding tattoos and the people wearing them. That being said, tattoo discrimination is real. Although stereotypes are becoming much more watered down, the stigma is still present.
Like all forms of discrimination, I believe that if we work to understand what was really going on with a person, their story and history, perhaps we would practice more empathy.
I’d like to share my personal journey into tattoos. I grew up in a very rough area where there was a lot of different cultures in close proximity to each other: Black, Mexican, Samoan, addicts, gangs. I was a good kid, self aware and very conscience of the people and violence around me. So – very long story short- I decided to use tattoos as armor to wear and protect me as I navigated through Oceanside as a teenager. The tattoos never changed my brain, my thoughts, or my sprit – they only served as camouflage. In reality – I chose to get tattoos because of the stereotype; I wanted to portray a rougher appearance to counterbalance my gentle interior.
I can think of countless times where I’ve felt the discrimination. From mothers clutching their kids, to shop owners hovering, I often feel myself going out of my way to put strangers at ease. If they only knew how harmless I am under here….
I hope we as a people always aspire to understand each other more and more – with empathy, common courtesies, and respect. Through my travels and life experiences, I find inspiration in diversity – some of the more intellectual conversations I have are with people with tattoos, people of different races, people with different sexual orientations.. diversity keeps the conversation interesting. Diversity grows our perspective and deepens our understanding of each other.
There are good people and bad people in this world, all types, colors and lifestyles. My hope is that we learn to have conversations before we make judgements.
*Photo By Lani Lee