Before it was cool to be seen with a tattoo, there was a time when having a scar on your forehead was seen as a sign of weakness, and a sign of a man who had no sense of self discipline.
During the 1800’s the tattoo was a tool to show that you were of high status and you had a lot of money. After that, people began to think of tattoos as something that looked good on you, but didn’t show anything else.
So while it’s technically true that an African American, who just had a small scar, could have a large tattoo in a number of places, there is no such way to tie those tattoos to your social status, other than the way a black supremacist might look at an individual as being of low status. The history of the meaning of tattoos is only relevant as a tool to show that you had money.
How does the definition of a tattoo change over time?
What’s the difference between a scar and a patch? These are not the same. The way they were used, if you were in a social or professional situation, you could get a “striped” patch or a “full” scar and it would have been more in terms of aesthetic.
A scar was just a patch, and the purpose of a full-striped patch was to show that you had money and were a man. So instead of people “tattooing” that you were a man or a white supremacist, you could just get a patch.
In other countries a guy could get a full-striped tattoo and say, “Look how good I am, I bought my own gun,” and then nobody would take it seriously.
The way some people want to define a tattoo has changed based on what people want it to mean. I was the opposite.
In fact, I would be in favor of the definition of a tattoo changing as well.
What do we call a tattoo?
I’d call it a patch.
When I was a kid when I was little kids what we called each other on the street was a patch. What were my parents doing to me when I grew up? Well, they had a kid with a full skin peel, and that was what we called it.
That’s part of the reason that I think that a tattoo is kind of like a scar; they’re both patches. They’re both just part of your body that you use to show respect
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