Tattoos are the New Black

A while back, writing about charges of discrimination by white referees against blacks in NBA foul calls, I said:

My sense is that we make snap decisions about other people based on a
wide range of physical attributes, including height, attractiveness,
clothing, tattoos, piercings as well as visible racial characteristics
(e.g. skin color) and race-related appearance choices (e.g. cornrows).
It would be interesting to see where skin color falls against these
other visible differentiators as a driver of third party decisions
(e.g. whether to call a foul).   My sense is that 60 years ago, skin
color would be factor #1 and all these others would be orders of
magnitude behind.  Today?  I don't know.  While skin color hasn't gone
away as an influencer, it may be falling into what we might call the
"background level", less than or equal to some of these other effects.
It would be interesting, for example, to make the same study on level
of visible tattooing and the effect on foul calls.  My sense is that
this might be of the same order of magnitude today as skin color in
affecting such snap decisions.

I may have been on to something:

Russell says in the last two months he's applied for over 100 jobs. In
almost half of them, he says he was denied because of his tattoos. He
says that's discrimination.


  1. mith:

    The overlawyered post replaced the most ironic quote of the story with ellipses:

    On the inside of his elbow the scripture, 'If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out.'

    "It means if you can't stand to look at me, don't," said Parrish.

  2. Jack:

    There is a fundamental difference between discrimination based on race and that based on tattoos. You did not choose your race, but you choose (as an adult) to have yourself tatooed. It does say something about your attitude and your judgement (or lack thereof).

  3. Bob Smith:

    Yes, it is discrimination. So what? It isn't *unlawful* discrimination, nor is it (in my mind) immoral. I hope the Florida legislature ignores him.

  4. Dan:

    I once traveled from Detroit to Toronto for a job interview with a Japanese company, along with a bunch of other people attending the same hiring session (a big part of the job was interpersonal skills, so I'm sure they wanted to see how the applicants interacted with other people). It was a 3-day, very organized hiring process, with cuts being made each day.

    There was one girl there from Minnesota, right out of college. She had purple dyed hair and numerous facial piercings. She was absolutely SHOCKED! that she was cut on the first day. Who could have predicted that?