Tattooed really is the new black

And by that I mean that “Black Like Me” has become “Tattooed Like Me”. In 1961 journalist John Howard Griffin — a white man — published the book “Black Like Me” detailing a six-week journey through segregated America while convincingly disguised as a black man. Now in 2012, journalist Brad Casey — a plainskin — has written an essay for Vice magazine detailing his five day experience in today’s America while convincingly disguised as a man with a facial tattoo. He describes the constant, never-ending and very annoying staring (and breaks down the types of stares), often drunken comments and insults, terrified babies, apparent prejudicial treatment at a job interview, and women undressing him with their eyes hoping that the tattoos signify him being a sex freak for them to have a one-night-adventure with.

So what does Brad, who jokes that his untattooed condition is due to his fear of becoming addicted if he were to get a taste of the modified lifestyle think of the whole adventure? That “having a face tattoo was fun most of the time and taking it off made me feel, in the days following, like something was missing” and that “the most difficult part of having a face tattoo is spending your day explaining your shitty life decision to every single person you meet.” It’s really just a fluff piece, but a fun read nonetheless. Check it out at


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

9 thoughts on “Tattooed really is the new black

  1. Kinda like Tyra’s fat suit… I will read it, but judging from the picture, I’d have hoped that they’d give him fake piercings just so it doesn’t look like he woke up and tattooed his face but doesn’t even have an prior interest in the community?

  2. Nooooooooooooooooo no no no no no no no no. People can be shitty to folks with lots of tattoos are piercings, but it is not the same as being a PoC in America.

  3. It’s a pretty lame piece of fluff. Though i can relate about the People thinking what kind of other freaky things I may be into because i’m pierced (no facial tattoos, htough i desperately want to) and the employment dificulties, I think if he hadn’t looked like an unwashed, uncombed dirty person, he may not have had so many problems?

    and Paige, I agree. It’s not the same deep discrimination, in my opinion as a person of color, than it is a pierced/tattooed/modified person.

  4. That seemed more like a blog post than an actual article, and is anyone really surprised that a fine dining place won’t hire (or bother with) a guy with a facial tattoo?

  5. I totally agree with Paige. I’m white, I have a very noticeable skin condition, and i get treated terribly whenever it flares up. I was ‘let go’ when i was a temp for comcast because they said some of the women complained about my skin being “creepy.” Every job i work at i have a different dress code than the rest of the employees because my skin looks different.

    Discrimination is the American way.

  6. Hmmm, idk. I mostly agree with the comments above. I have 15 facial piercings and I don’t ever get negative comments. Maybe 1 or 2 in last 5 years I remember, and they were not even that negative;what have you been doing since high school, poking yourself in the face?’ Most people seem to keep it to themselves, if they don’t like it I would guess. I almost never notice stares. Occasionally I’ll get questions, but usually they are out of intrigue and most often are not negative, often complimenting the placement or on the colour. I don’t know if this guy did it wrong. Maybe his insecurities translated and people picked up on it? …As he said about the girl wanting to rub and touch it. Perhaps people sensed he was putting them on. I think it does depend on where you live sometimes, people are different and more or less accepting in often. The time I got the most q’s and stares was in a service center in Ohio(don’t know why). I live just North of TO, close to this guy it would seem based on the article. I have zero tattoos, just fyi. And I don’t get piercings to draw attention to me. It’s just me. Actually my most negative comment was upon my 2nd piercing(nostril)-ew gross. Thinking back, I was far more insecure about them then, perhaps that is why. idk.

  7. I agree it’s not the smartest thing to do to have a facial tattoo!
    @calmliama: discriminiation is global problem, not just american!

  8. “the most difficult part of having a face tattoo is spending your day explaining your shitty life decision to every single person you meet.”
    haha, imagine you should explain your shitty life decision for the rest of your life… Tattoo shops should not give someone a facial tattoo. It can ruin their life..

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