Amid a national surge in extremist groups and hate crimes, one Maine tattoo parlor is doing what it can to stop the spread of racist iconography.
Siren Song Tattoo, owned by Rockland-based tattoo artists Alison and Justin Wheeler, wrote on its Facebook page on Saturday that there has been “an alarming amount of people wanting Nazi/KKK tattoos this year.”
“So,” the Wheelers continued, “we are declaring now that we do not create images or re create images that pertain to these parties and like parties. Also anything slightly related, like any ‘Viking’ imagery that has been used in white supremacy iconography. Get over it and stop asking us, we ain’t about that shit!”
The post also included a message from an anonymous person seeking “a Nazi logo” on their chest.
The Wheelers’ observation about the “alarming” uptick in requests for white supremacist symbols sadly follows a national trend. The number of hate crimes in the U.S. reached a five year high in 2016, with 6,121 incidents, according to the FBI’s annual report of incidents reported by law enforcement agencies nationally. This includes 40 in Maine alone. (It is worth noting that many agencies do not report these crimes; the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates as many as 250,000 hate crimes a year nationally.)
The Southern Poverty Law Center observed that the the FBI’s numbers took “a noticeable uptick toward the end of the year around Donald Trump’s surprise Electoral College victory.”
At least in mid-coast Maine, people interested in branding themselves with racist symbolism will have to look elsewhere.
After Siren Song’s declaration, the shop’s Facebook feed was filled with people thanking the Wheelers “for standing up against the normalization of white supremacy,” including one who was tempted to “drive all the way up from southern NH to get my next piece done.”
Photo: icanteachyouhowtodoit/CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons