Is it a stereotype, or discrimination?

By on April 23, 2014

A male walks Lititz streets, with his well dressed friend, he has a sleeve of tattoos and gauged ears and a lip piercing. He is outgoing and friendly, you’re across the street and glance with a smirk. You may think “why is he walking with that trouble maker?” or “that guy needs to get a life.”

You have perceived the male as something he may or may not be by judging his character, solely based upon his appearance. This is a stereotype. When does this become discrimination?

You see this male in a bar a few weeks later. He is quite handsome, but you cannot get passed your disgust of tattoos and stretched ears. You approach him, to converse with him. What is your next move? You begin your conversation with “have you done jail time?” or “you look nice, why did you degrade your body?” This is a fact of discrimination based upon appearance.

Not everybody with tattoos and gauged (stretched) ears are mean, ugly or, in fact, a trouble maker. Yes, there are some bad apples that have these attributes, and some that do not have these. Furthermore, stereotypes and discrimination of any sort can and have hurt others. Bullying has been known to be placed in this category, but that is another subject to be discussed in the future.

I, myself, have been stereotyped by friends, enemies, family and acquaintances. My ears have been stretched since the 9th grade, with several different hair styles and colors, I have two tattoos. Yes, I have been in trouble; however, this isn’t a reflection of my upbringing.

I am a well mannered young man, jubilant, and easy to talk to. I won’t be rude to you in any way (unless you give me cause to). I don’t use drugs and I am not Satanic. I’m an open book, not afraid of my past and what I have learned from it.

Ozzy Osbourne said it best when he was quoted, “I have a saying. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. I say that because I don’t even know who Ozzy is. I wake up a new person every day. But if you’ve got a fantasy of Ozzy, who am I to say? I mean, if you think I sleep upside-down in the rafters and fly around at night and bite people’s throats out, then that’s your thing. But I can tell you now, all I ever wanted was for people to come to my concerts and have a good time. I don’t want anyone to harm themselves in any way, shape or form &tstr; and my intentions are good whether people want to believe it or not. I’m not going to suddenly become a Jesus freak or anything. But I do have my beliefs and my beliefs are certainly not satanic.”

David Mitchell is employed as a dishwasher at a local restaurant.

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