Anthony Bauswell’s dreams of becoming a Marine were shattered when he revealed the tattoo etched on his ribcage. Now, many Americans are rightfully outraged about his disqualification from the Marine Corps over the ink he displayed on his body.
According to the Daily Mail, the Arkansas teen’s tattoo is comprised of a “Confederate Flag” with the words, “Southern Pride.” Bauswell, who recently graduated from high school, says that he was “automatically disqualified” as soon as he showed the tattoo.
“As soon as I said rebel flag on my ribs, he says DQ, just automatically, DQ,” said Bauswell.
“I felt pretty low,” he said. “My own government wasn’t going to let me serve my country because of the ink on my skin. I definitely don’t want it to be seen as racism, which is 99 percent of the reason I got ‘southern pride’ on it,” Bauswell said. “I kind of felt like I had a plan for my life, and now that I can’t go, I am not sure where I stand.”
According to Arkansas Matters, the tattoo actually violates the Marine Corps Tattoo Policy Maradmin 198-07, which reads, “Tattoos/brands that are sexist (express nudity), racist, eccentric, or offensive in nature, express an association with conduct or substances prohibited by the Marine Corps Drug Policy and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), to include tattoos associated with illegal drugs, drug usage, or paraphernalia, are prohibited.”
The Marine Corps is in the process of updating their guidelines to provide more concise clarifications about what tattoos are permissible. On the Marine Corps website, there is a poster promoting the slogan, “Think Before You Ink” to encourage Marine hopefuls to really take the time to consider what they brand themselves with because a tattoo they aren’t personally offended by could offend others.
When it comes to professionalism, any tattoo that could lead to controversy should be avoided. Staying as neutral as possible would seem like the most effective way to avoid this type of controversy. While it’s your decision what you want to put on your body, it’s an employer’s decision whether or not it affects their decision to hire you, and unfortunately, it’s no different for the U.S. Marine Corps. Be aware of rules and regulations for positions you desire in your future before you make a mistake that costs you the opportunity you hope for.
[Image via KARK-4 Screen Capture]