As I approached them, covered in my own share of tattoos and piercings, they were immediately on the defensive. I told them who I was and asked if they minded if I sat and chatted with them a bit. They were hesitant, but agreed.
I asked them what they thought of all the crazy tattooed people walking around, and M.J. (73) admitted that they had been whispering about it just before I approached them. They confessed their feelings of confusion and even dislike for what they were seeing. Instead of being offended, I let them know that I completely understood what they were saying and I shared some of the reasons why we do what we do.
In the course of 15 minutes or so, Mary (63) who had been relatively quiet during this conversation but had been listening raptly, began to join in the discussion which had turned from accusatory to understanding. Both of them began asking questions about the tattoo process and how we know it’s safe when we get them. At the end of our conversation, both of them agreed that there is too much hatred in this world to judge people simply because they are different and that my taking the time to talk to them had changed their perceptions of tattooed people.
If we could all take a few minutes out of our day to change just one person’s stereotypical views of us, just imagine what we could accomplish in a year or more.