March 27, 2006

Color me purple

As a person that has chosen the appearance of a good portion of my skin, I've experienced a great deal of discrimination. When I have on a sleeveless shirt or T-shirt, my signature on a credit card will always be checked. I am watched carefully (although not helped) in most nice stores under the same circumstances. People immediately assume I'm a stupid hick. I loved shocking the crap out of people in the wine shop I worked in with my wine knowledge (not that I know everything about wine). It happens when I shop for wine too. You wouldn't believe the stuff people have told me. I'm sure some of it is what they tell regular customers, but in the back of my mind, I wonder sometimes what they would have said if I didn't have sleeves.

I recall a comedy made in the 80's where a white guy wanted to go to Harvard and took tanning pills and whatnot to get a scholarship that was reserved for a black person. He ended up falling in love with the woman who should have had it. Throughout the movie two guys cracked racist jokes and he always said it was OK. At the end, one of his professors asked him what he had learned. His answer was interesting... "I could take it off anytime I wanted."

I can cover my ink, but when I'm forced to do so, I feel a strange sense of humiliation that I'm forced to conform to some other sensibility than what I know to be right. That bothers me every week. People often ask if I regret getting tattooed. My answer is invariably "no". Sometimes I continue with, "I regret the number of close-minded people I encounter in my daily activities". I once had a woman I worked with rant about people that had a lot of tattoos that were 'missing something inside' and that they were obviously disturbed. I had a an hour long talk with her about this. I never revealed to her during the conversation that I was tattooed. Later that week I wore a polo shirt to work for the first time. I was sorry to see she didn't have the balls to stand up for her convictions and she tried to exclude me from her previous observations. She never did get it that I wasn't different from other tattooed people, but rather that she had misperceptions about people who are tattooed.

I once saw a sign in a tattoo studio. "The only difference between tattooed people and those who aren't tattooed is that tattooed people don't care if you are tattooed or not."

4 Comments:

At 11:30 AM, Blogger celtgirl said...

I'm sure I've been guilty of pre-judging in the past - I hope that I now let a persons character speak to me instead of their looks.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Still Searching... said...

Funny, I heard something very similar when I got my tattoo. Speculation that I was in a "crisis", "lost", or "empty". They only saw the ink, not the symbol behind it. And it matters not in any case. I did it for me, not for anyone else. And quite the opposite of what they "perceived" was actually true. I did it only after careful consideration, and it means/represents something to me that "they" just can't fathom.

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger 30Something said...

Very true.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Buffalo said...

I didn't get my tatts to cover them. Hell, when I used to shop at a particular WalMart in white bread land security would follow me everytime - and I was there often.

Humans love to have someone to feel superior too - fuck em one and all.

 

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