Just thought I'd add my two cents. I see a lot of points on both sides of the coin here, that I find valid.
A guy who lived behind my house got killed (shot 3 times) recently.(that too in a city of 1.5 million with only 10 murders in a year). Our
neighbourhood is a very family oriented neighbourhood. There are parks nearby and lots of young children. The individual who got shot had tattoos of
snakes etc... and he could occasionally be seen by us from our backyard. My wife immediately pegged him for a non-good element of society not just
because he had artwork that invokes a sense of danger - but more just because he had tattoos. After he was killed, we found out that he had a 15 year
track record of being in and out of jails and had a case of arson against him (for burning a restaurant and causing damage in the million dollar
I'm not so judgemental. People who have tattoos are not necessarily out of the ordinary people. However, I have to say that the criminal lot that
operate at the street level seem to be fond of these types of adornment. So, while only a subset of those who adorn tattoos are potentially criminal,
people with tats get scrutinized by generalization more in society than those that don't have tattoos.
Tatoos are not something people are born with. In the past and even in the present, they are not necessarily just considered artwork, but they are
also considered a means to indicate one's strength of character. At least this is what I surmise from what I've seen and is much more indicative in
some societies more than others. To me it also purveys a statement that seems to say "I get what I want - I'm not a conformist". The tatoos themselves
are often a means of communicating the style of the individual who wears them as well - so the content is used in judgement as well.
I used to live in India, and occasionally visit my relatives there. The state where my parents from has 99% literacy (one of the highest literacy
levels in the world). But in spite of education levels, there are a lot of people there that abuse others - I've been on crowded buses and notice such
perverts rub against you for instance. On the other hand, I have heard of such heroic individuals in the society which I hail from - true stories of
people (men and women), who put their life on the line to save innocent people - and they aren't part of any formal outfit whose
duties require such heroism.
In third world countries, it is my impression that a lot of oppression is handed out by the people who *can* do so. Power is corrupting and absolute
power absolutely so. Women and children are some of the most targeted victims in such societies because they are more vulnerable. It isn't to say that
men aren't targeted - it just isn't as easy.
When it comes to protecting women and children, in a society that is increasingly financially and morally distraught, the stereotypes are going to
stick even stronger.
I'm not saying I feel that the OP is in the wrong being male and having tats... It just fits the stereotype for higher potential for danger. It
doesn't make it right, but this is how things are. I feel that people should be aware.
I feel bad for good people, but the world as it currently exists isn't a club exclusive to good people, regardless of the country one lives in -
though some countries exhibit more trouble than others. One can certainly read of the various societal elements if one chose to in travel guides.
Increasing levels of scrutiny and distrust is what I feel we should expect in the near future, accompanied by increasing levels of danger too. Testing
people, is not, I personally feel something to be frowned at or unexpected: I think that that is to be understood as normal and possibly as something
that is beyond just normal: It should be expected. At least that is what one should expect from well-bred people.
Can't say that that is true of the people in the OP's story though, without having met them and seen what they were objecting to.
5-12-2011 by sensibleSenseless because: had a little more to add.