Discrimination comes in many forms and recently my husband, Wayne, was subjected to it.
It was really rather surprising because he is a white, English speaking male in a predominantly similar area and not someone you would initially think would be discriminated against.
Wayne was trying to find a new commercial location for his business and contacted a local real estate agent about a location that was listed for rent. An appointment was set up to view the property for two days later, however; later that same afternoon Wayne received a text from the real estate agent saying that the owners of the property deemed my husband’s use of the property to be unsuitable. The owners of the property never even took the time to show the property to my husband.
There are very few commercial locations for rent in the area my husband wants to relocate his shop to that do not cost a huge sum to rent so finding this property which fit the majority of his requirements had him looking forward to a move that he had previously dreaded.
My husband is a successful business owner whose business has been in the same location for more than 15 years. He is a college graduate, family man and has never had any issues with the law. In addition to his business he is also a dedicated fireman for the neighbouring community, where we live. However; the owners of the property would not know any of this since they never bothered to speak with him. They made a judgement call based on a single piece of information that was provided to them.
So why you might ask would the owners say his use is unsuitable? It seems rather obvious to me (although they never gave a reason). It is because he runs a tattoo and piercing shop.
His shop is the oldest tattoo shop in the area and is health board inspected. In fact he has such a good rapport with the health unit that they have used his shop to help train new inspectors. Wayne only works part-time (for which I am supremely jealous), pays taxes and has never been late with a rent payment. He has tattooed people of all walks of life including local judges, lawyers, doctors, police officers and many members of the military. Certainly I would think none of those clients could be deemed unsuitable and although it is not tracked by Statistics Canada it is estimated that more than one in four adults have tattoos and the figure has been rising steadily in recent years.
As frustrating at this whole situation is I still took this as an opportunity to point out to our children that discrimination can be found anywhere and a reminder of what discrimination is.
Discrimination is defined as the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.
I am very proud of the choices our children have made in the past to include people that other classmates have considered outsiders into their group of friends and I truly hope that by seeing how discrimination can impact people even those not normally targeted, that they continue to treat everyone fairly. I’m sure they will but it never hurts to remind them.
As for my husband he is still looking for a new location for his business. Any landlord that is that discriminatory doesn’t deserve to make a profit and collect rent from my husband.