Response to Matthew Colwell’s “Inked”

Joseph Reino

The issue that is problematic with your argument and offensive to people of legitimate minority groups is that people with tattoos should have an entitlement to employment. People don’t choose their race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic background and to a large extent, religion. People who are tattooed make the choice to be different. They are actively limiting the possibilities they have for their future.

I’m speaking of people in our own culture who voluntarily participate in acts that negatively distinguish themselves from the “mainstream.”

Let me explain why people with tattoos are discriminated against in the marketplace and why it is totally appropriate. People, as they get older, tend to get married, have families and become slightly socially conservative. As time goes on, their children grow and move on. These American parents have suddenly found themselves at their highest earning potential with the least amount of dependents.

These people have become relatively stable and want to protect what they have earned, so they become slightly economically conservative. They have also become the most important entity in the American marketplace: a consumer with extra cash. If I’m someone who wants to sell goods and services to people with discretionary income then I’m going to kowtow to their beliefs, and unfortunately your tattoos aren’t going to mesh with their conservative lifestyle.

To older people, tattoos represent a lack of planning, carelessness, thoughtlessness and a drug culture that is undesirable. People don’t care about your personal life as much as you think they do. They don’t care about the reason behind a tattoo, and they definitely don’t want to hear you explain it to them when they are making a business transaction.

That’s why you will have a tougher time looking for a job, rightfully so. However, this does not mean you don’t have a place in the market, it just means your place is part of a niche and limits your possibilities to financial success. Given the crisis our nation is facing, don’t you think you should reconsider your next tattoo?

Joseph Reino is a sophomore political science major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].