Discrimination is a strong word. Something we associate with bigotry, something we view as (hopefully) bygone backwards thinking.
Those that are different.
Being treated differently.
Being viewed as negative stereotypes.
Websters dictionary defines discrimination as: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
Tattoos do not fall under the category of race, age or sex. However they do fall under the category of “different”. To be fair I don’t consider the color of anyone’s skin or the gender of anyone while tattooing my own flesh.
In my home town a tattoo shop has been trying to establish itself on our Main Street.
The same home town where I rode my bike as a child, ran tame ’til street lights came on in the summer, where I have worked, known public servants, raised my own children, paid taxes, volunteered, defended against the slur “Garbage Grove,” contributed financially at various festivals, historical societies, Boys and Girls Clubs, Arbor Day works, elder care, church functions and day to day LIFE.
This same home town is telling everyone that will listen that a tattoo shop with an art studio in front is basically a “candy store with cigarettes in the back”.
Ironic considering an existing liquor store on Main Street sells both candy and cigarettes in front. Alongside one another.
People that have tattoos, i.e. service men, my brother included that served in Afghanistan (how does that freedom taste Main Street council?), professional athletes, dance instructors, artists, police men and women, teachers, have also been lumped in with “types” that will bring “God only knows what” to Main Street.
Again. Ironic considering the gentleman trying to open the studio is active in his church and a devoted family man.
Let me tell you a little something about our Main Street.
They have a car show every Friday that is frequented by the same people every week (I would wager 30% of which have tattoos, and before you start checking facts MSNBC has reported that 20% of Americas population have tattoos, up from 13% in 2007). And a farmers market on Sunday that I forget about and I LIVE a half a mile away. They have a kitschy restaurant with Elvis memorabilia, subpar service and a full bar. Another bar. A steak house with a full bar. And a fledgling sushi establishment with (I think) a full bar. Yet a tattoo parlor will change the “tone” of Main Street?
I personally get tattooed in Fullerton. Do you know when I get tattooed? On Saturday evenings when it is more quiet in a tattoo shop than a library at 11:00 am on a Thursday.
Do you know why?
All of the trouble makers are out getting wasted at bars. At my tattoo shop it’s peaceful. It’s quiet. And it’s where I spend my money.
And I’m not alone.
On Saturday evening I went from our tattoo shop in Fullerton to The District in Tustin and you know what? The District, full of intoxicated soccer moms free from the kids felt more obnoxious.
While yes. There can be trouble where any sort of “unseemly crowd” might be present, but that can happen anywhere (can we all recall the drunk gentlemen accosting the guard at the happiest place on earth in front of children)?
If we’re going to talk dollars and cents, when I get tattooed, I go for 3 hours MINIMUM. Whomever is with me always wanders off to local establishments and spends money at coffee shops, retail stores and restaurants. Tell me how it’s “bad” to give back to the local economy. Furthermore, I asked all of the lovely people on Facebook as to whom these people are that are so scared of the tattooed folk. Please, let me know. I’m a tax paying citizen who also happens to be a hard core introvert. I will avoid negativity and confrontation at any cost and will tell others to do so as well.
These people are my neighbors?
The people that wave so cheerfully to my children but scowl at their mother?
No thank you, sir. I will take my dollars, volunteer work and positive attitude elsewhere.
The outdated stigma of tattooed people is embarrassing. I’m ashamed that I live in a place where such discrimination can exist. If there were actual educated reasons for not allowing the rezoning to take place (such as blood born issues, etc) then I would say, “Ok, fair enough.” But a fear of “bloody skulls”?
Closing: I have been told that the council meeting for June 18th has already been decided. That the City council will vote however the Main Street council dictates.
*sighs* I wasn’t ready to teach my children the corruption of politics. But I guess I have to start somewhere. Might as well be in our hometown.