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Tattooed And Unemployed

Updated on May 10, 2011

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Is There A Correlation?

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:12

An acquaintance of mine saw a news segment recently about how people are coping with losing their jobs. In passing, she mentioned it to me. With enthusiastic disdain she went on and on about this one interviewee. “Doesn’t he realize he’s not getting hired because of that tattoo?!?” she kept saying. Apparently, this man, in his younger years, had paid to have a series of numbers tattooed on his head. Being that he is bald, these numbers are quite noticeable. My friend is positive that this is why, despite numerous job interviews and job fairs, he is still unemployed. As she spoke, I just stood there, taking it all in. “Don’t you have an opinion?” she asked me, deciding to come up for air. “I think it’s just a bad economy honestly.” I had replied. At this point, the conversation ended. I hadn’t given her a strong enough response I guess.

In our present day economy where jobs are few and applicants many, I imagine that the criteria for hiring someone is somewhat different from criteria of the past. While someone without a college degree may have been hired to fill a certain job before, today that is not the case. Though it’s not legal or right, I can’t imagine someone with health problems who may be out of the office more than they are in being hired over a physically fit, young thing. Yet, has the job market gotten so stringent that people with body art are being passed over for less qualified, clean cut applicants? It’s hard to believe, but it may be so.

Numerous people in my abundantly traditional family (including one of my brothers) have tattoos. What they see as self-expression their parents and others of the older generation see as a deterrent to leading an honest, decent life. (Who will hire their child looking like that? What type of person will want to settle down with someone with a tattoo? Has my child ruined everything by getting that thing?) They have this stereotypical picture in their minds of a character from Hollywood. You know the one. He/she pulls up to a seedy bar on their Harley Davidson, clad in leather, reeking because they haven’t showered in months. They push through the door and go to the bar, ordering the stiffest drink one can legally order. They light a huge cigar and puff on it, grimacing at everyone around them, surveying fellow customers to decide who they’ll pick a fight with tonight. By the end of the night, they will be in handcuffs on their way to serving a life sentence with other people with tattoos. This picture is so utterly ingrained on their minds that no amount of good deeds done by someone bearing a tattoo will ever be able to erase it. Once that needle injects that first bit of color, they are a permanent lost cause.

I believe that people with tattoos shouldn’t be discriminated against. While there some people with bad intentions that are covered with tattoos, the ink didn’t make them this way. In fact, I have known far more people who have committed crimes against humanity that didn’t have a single colored dot on them. We judge too quickly.

There are people walking the streets who didn’t have a choice in getting a tattoo. Someone under the leadership of Hitler, forcibly branded them with a mark that no surgery can ever truly remove. Others choose to have a deceased loved one’s name imprinted on their skin with the hope that though they are lost, their name will live on. Others have such strong religious convictions that they cannot rest until a cross, Star of David, pentacle, etc. is tattooed on them for all to see. Yes, there are many more people who got a tattoo on a drunken whim or because it looked cool. (Without these people, tattoo removers wouldn’t exist.) Still, for the people who got tattooed with a genuine purpose, who are we to judge?

My acquaintance, and probably so many others, saw this man and wrote him off as a bum. They didn’t take into account that those numbers may have meant something. They didn’t factor in that maybe he always had them covered until he got sick and lost his hair. For all we know, he may be embarrassed by them, but didn’t want to be rude and wear a hat on television. Regardless, he (and far too many more) is already down and doesn’t need to have dirt kicked in his face. We’ve all made dumb decisions and wish we could go back in time and fix things. (When he was younger, he probably didn’t expect that those numbers would become such a big deal and a deciding factor in whether or not he’ll be able to feed his family.) In our search to find ourselves, we often forget that the steps we take may one day come back to haunt us. Why does one lapse in judgment matter more than any other?


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    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 8 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Thank you for the comment, Bbush! :o)

    • profile image

      Bbush365 8 years ago

      I like tattoos but tattoos in the head are way to extreme for me. Thanks for sharing