Great article. Thank you. As an Asian-American I was always taught to associate tattoos poorly by my parents too along with other racially coded language. Now, I have one and see it as an art. In summer school a lot of my students from a very not privileged had tattoos that couldn’t have been cheap.

When I was just starting out, I wondered how they could spend so much on tattoos and nice shoes, and then I had to catch myself for that bias — who was I to judge how my students spent their money? Why do we judge how poor people spent their money in general? My family was poor growing up but I remember what we did whenever my dad’s paycheck would come — spend a lot on a nice dinner. Everyone has the right to how they spend, but I’ve always been interested in how families that were once poor like mine and then suddenly have some money deal with money. My dad always put a lot into very tangible material things, like a house when we could finally afford one and then a new car. I guess once you’ve “made it”, you never really forget what it’s like to be poor, so you spend it on things you can touch and things you can see because you feel like it could evaporate at any time.

Anyways, thanks for the thought provoking piece!

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Email: Support me:

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