When a teen walked into the Marine Corps recruitment office in Arkansas, the officer in charge took one look at the Greenbrier, Arkansas teen and sent him packing. Why? Because he has a tattoo on his upper arm.
Now the teenager has gone public about why he was disqualified for joining the Marine Corps. If it wasn’t for his Confederate flag tattoo, the military would have allowed him to join.
18-year-old Anthony Bauswell is outraged that this “Southern Pride” tattoo disqualified him from joining the Marine Corps.
He was prepared to sign himself over to the U.S. Military when the recruiter learned about his Confederate flag tattoo and told him the enlisting process would not go forward.
- Now Bauswell is speaking about what happened to him…
“As soon as I said rebel flag on my ribs, he says DQ, just automatically, DQ,” Bauswell told KARK.
The teen’s tattoo depicts a Confederate flag blowing in the wind with the words “Southern Pride” written in a banner across the center.
The United States Marine Corps does not allow people to have Confederate flag tattoos because they represent a time when slavery was applauded.
“I felt pretty low,” Bauswell added. “My own government wasn’t going to let me serve my country because of the ink on my skin.”
Bausell is a high school graduate. He claims to understand the negative stigma around the Confederate flag. He explained that his tattoo was not “racist” but meant to show pride in his white southern upbringing.
“I definitely don’t want it to be seen as racism, which is 99 percent of the reason I got ‘Southern Pride’ on it,” he told KARK.
Bauswell had put all his hopes into joining the Marine Corps, but now that they have rejected him, he doesn’t know what he’ll do.
The Marine Corps officially forbids tattoos that are “racist, sexist, eccentric, or offensive” including the Confederate flag and Nazi swastikas. The Marine Corps is currently working to update this policy to make it even clearer what this includes so service members do not get into trouble.
“Having talked to them, I don’t think most Marines understand what the policy is,” Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told the Marine Corps Times on Jan. 20, according to The Daily News.
“I don’t think they understand what they can do,” he added. “They just know they can’t get a sleeve.”
Readers across the country are split on this decision. Here are some responses shared on OpposingViews.com:
“Rules may be rules. The question is, is the rule right?. I think not,” Kaileigh Row shared.
“Knowing the Marines have a policy about tattoos, why even take the chance….getting a tattoo of something that “can” be interpreted as racist, whilst knowing the Marines have rigid rules, was a stupid move on his part,” Roberta Gundersen wrote.
“look at the bright side, if there is ever another draft and you don’t want to go to canada, just get a tattoo,” Judy Duncan joked.
What do you think? Was the Marine Corps right to reject him?
Please SHARE YOUR OPINION in the comments below!