A Note Regarding David Whitley’s Hateful Remarks

 My name’s Alli & I’m a tattooed degenerate.


 I had some technical issues with my webcam so feel free to read instead of watch…or watch instead of read…whichever makes you happy.  Sorry for the video quality.  I know it’s crappy but I swear I still love you.  This video is not a passive-aggressive attempt at driving you crazy.  I promise. xox


bigotry towards people with tattoos

I need to get something off my chest.  The other night my honey brought an AOL “news” article to my attention.  The piece was “Colin Kaepernick ushers in an inked-up NFL quarterbacking era”  by one David Whitley.  I do not, nor have I ever, given a damn about sports, let alone quarterbacks, but this article really got my goat.  Whitley’s piece was overflowing with what I, and others, perceive as bigotry…towards people with tattoos.

At what I think I’m supposed to assume was an attempt at wit, Whitley made numerous hateful and ignorant remarks about people who don body art, with such insightful commentary as:


“Approximately 98.7 percent of the inmates at California’s state prison have tattoos. I don’t know that as fact, but I’ve watched enough “Lockup” to know it’s close to accurate. “


“That’s what makes Kaepernick a threat to the stereotype.  By all accounts, he’s polite, hard working, humble and has never been to prison.”


or how about saying that no CEO would ever have a tattoo “unless your CEO has done a stretch in Leavenworth.”


Wow.  I honestly had no idea there where people who still thought this way.  I don’t see how, if someone leaves their house and interacts at all with the outside world they can still hold the opinion that only reprobates and moral degenerates have tattoos.  He references middle-aged women with barbed wire tattoos, FFS.  I mean really?  Such archaic observations leave me to believe that the entirety of his tattoo knowledge comes from watching old hairband videos, Pamela Anderson movies and reruns of COPS.   I thought we, as a society, had moved past this non-issue of issues.


Just when I thought his article couldn’t possibly irk me more, Whitley busts out with the most trite and oft hypocritical argument of all against tattoos:


“But I can’t shake the notion that a person’s body is a temple, and you don’t cover temples in graffiti.“

bigotry towards people with tattoos


This “argument” is so tired.  When people claim bodies are temples I always want to ask them what their eating habits and exercise regimen are like.  Do they smoke?  Drink alcohol?  Don’t feed me that line of crap if you don’t take care of your own body.   


Oh, and for the record, every temple I’ve ever been in has been adorned, decorated and beautiful…I’m just sayin’…


Whitley’s article had many calling him out on his nasty remarks.  Some even went so far as to brand him a racist.  Wanting to get things under control, Garry Howard of AOL News quickly issued a follow-up piece (Generations, not races, divide opinions on Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos) in defense of Whitley.  In what was supposed to be damage control, Howard’s article did nothing more than feed the fire.


“Too often in today’s society, great discussions are ground into dust because many find it impossible to articulate specifically what bothers them about a certain subject. “


Are you kidding me?  Whether or not quarterbacks should have tattoos is a “great discussion?”  And if Whitley has difficulty articulating his thoughts then why the hell is he writing for AOL?

Throughout Howard’s piece Whitley continued to make statements that further demonstrated his severe lack of education on the matter at hand.


“I fully realize sailors and Hell’s Angels aren’t the only people with tattoos these days. But tattoos still carry a negative stigma, which is why you don’t see a lot of politicians and captains of industry sporting ink.”

bigotry towards people with tattoos


Sorry Charlie.  Whitley needs to employ a fact checker.  There are plenty of American politicians who have tattoos.  Yup.  It’s a fact, Jack.  Jesse Jackson has a tattoo.  So did Barry Goldwater and Teddy Roosevelt.  The list of tattooed politicians is longer than you’d think.  Teddy Roosevelt, guys.  I mean, come on. The president who gave us the teddy bear sported a family crest on his chest.  And as for the “negative stigma” I know oncologists who have tattoos, as well as teachers, lawyers, artists, engineers and other well educated, upright, law abiding citizens.  Blaming Whitley’s views on the generation gap would be fine if Whitley were merely stating his distaste for body art, but his insistence that those of us with tattoos are degenerates who are inevitably bound for the pokey demonstrates a complete disconnect with modern society.

And to you, Garry Howard I say nice try at spinning this, but your attempt at covering your and David’s asses is a swing and a miss.  Back peddle all you like but there is no misunderstanding.  I, for one, am not buying that the article simply didn’t come across as intended.  The jabs and slights where obvious and intentional. If these two poorly executed articles are examples of what AOL passes off as “news” then I’ll be getting mine elsewhere.

Sorry to rant (actually I’m not) but these two articles royally pissed me off.  If you don’t like tattoos that’s fine. We all have different tastes and different opinions and we are all entitled to them.  However, saying that everyone with tattoos is a convict and implying a lack of morals & good judgment is not only incorrect, but unacceptable.  I don’t judge people for not having tattoos and they shouldn’t judge me for mine.  Hopefully the tongue lashings Whitley has received from the internet community will open his eyes and help him, and other like him, realize the old adage is true:  You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Ahhhhhh…I feel better now.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.


Do you have tattoos?  What are your thoughts on his opinions?  Pop over to my facebook page and join the discussion.



Tattooed Kisses & Opinionated Chaos,

Alli Woods Frederick


image:  my wedding photo © 2010 Trinity Ridge Photography  |  by miha miha  |  teddy roosevelt via the library of congress
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