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Is the 'tan tax' racist?

Mention the new "tan tax" in a major news outlet and cries of discrimination and reverse racism often follow. The case can seem deceptively simple: Since patrons of tanning salons are almost exclusively white, the tax will be almost entirely paid by white people and, therefore, violates their constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

But IS the tan tax actually racist? Tell us below.


By Cameron Smith  |  July 8, 2010; 5:12 PM ET  | Category:  Local , National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Ohh WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA~~~~~~~~

boo hoo hooooo -Tanning is not neccessary to live on this planet at all, if you don't go to a tanning booth you won't get hit with the tax..

Yes or No?!? The last time I checked the Sun is free...

So go and get some free Skin Cancer!!!

Posted by: andio76 | July 8, 2010 5:51 PM

According to Joe R. Feagin, renown Sociologist, the definition of "racism" is: A centuries old system intentionally designed to exclude Americans of color from full participation in the economy, polity and society. As a woman of color, I find it disparaging that people would equate the hardships of being a person of color in America to having to pay a tan tax.

Americans are nothing, if not vain. The cost of our vanity should not be compared to the cost of bigotry and prejudice that millions of Americans still face in this supposed "post-racism" society.

Pay the tax, and don't complain. At least you aren't subjected to pre-judgment, mistrust, or the annoyance of being blatantly ignored in your own country.

Posted by: JaneanLWatkins | July 8, 2010 5:52 PM

According to Joe R. Feagin, renown Sociologist, the definition of "racism" is: A centuries old system intentionally designed to exclude Americans of color from full participation in the economy, polity and society. As a woman of color, I find it disparaging that people would equate the hardships of being a person of color in America to having to pay a tan tax.

Americans are nothing, if not vain. The cost of our vanity should not be compared to the cost of bigotry and prejudice that millions of Americans still face in this supposed "post-racism" society.

Pay the tax, and don't complain. At least you aren't subjected to pre-judgment, mistrust, or the annoyance of being blatantly ignored in your own country.

Posted by: JaneanLWatkins | July 8, 2010 5:54 PM

Also, I thought one of the reasons to impose this tax was because it was similar to taxing tobacco. The intention is to get Americans to stop a bad (carcinogenous) habit.

Posted by: Fabrisse | July 8, 2010 5:55 PM

Fabrisse,
You nailed it. Spend some time in a dermatologist's office and you will change your opinion.

What's particularly galling is that this is being politically spun when there is no political angle. Cynical political groups want to create a canard.

Posted by: boscobobb | July 8, 2010 6:38 PM

A Tan Tax is just like the lottery - a tax on stupidity. I'm all for it.

Posted by: financepirate | July 8, 2010 7:13 PM

Subjecting your body to ultraviolet radiation promotes skin cancer. If people are going to willingly engage in behavior that has the potential to make them sick, and the healthcare cost is going to borne by others (through increases in insurance premiums), then they should be taxed so they understand the true cost of what they're doing. It is not racism, because people of any shade, if idiotic enough, can go lay in a plastic contraption that is spewing radiation.

Posted by: bikinibottom | July 8, 2010 7:16 PM

Huh? Racist? Who came up with that? No, scratch that. Why is the Post devoting space to that idea?

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | July 8, 2010 7:46 PM

Too funny. The results say tanning is a choice, race is not.
Isn't there another debate going on about illegals?
As in, illegal is a choice...

Posted by: r_leever | July 8, 2010 7:50 PM

The people crying "racism" are as stupid as the people who use those cancer generators.

As far as I'm concerned, any product that is strictly voluntary, has negative health effects while offering absolutely nothing beneficial in return should have a mandatory tax. You want to harm yourself, at least give a little so the rest of us can build around you.

Posted by: Liebercreep | July 8, 2010 8:24 PM

Ugh. Why, why, why is the Post even validating this idea with a poll? There is no such thing as reverse racism.

Posted by: sopheathene | July 8, 2010 8:27 PM

Any person can tan.

Even people of color's skin gets darker (yes, even Black people). They can choose to go to tanning beds just like white folks do.

My tax dollars shouldn't be paying for irresponsible tanning practices.

VERDICT? Not racist.

Posted by: bosslady1 | July 8, 2010 8:33 PM

Also, to those who voted that a tan tax is racist?

Black people DO tan! They go to beaches, they enjoy the sunshine and like getting darker.

So essentially tanning is for everyone. Only certain healthy ppl choose to tan all year round. Cigarette tax? check. Alcohol tax? check. Tan tax? check.

Posted by: bosslady1 | July 8, 2010 8:37 PM

"No way. Tanning is a choice; race is not."

Huh? Just because something is voluntarily done doesn't mean it could be liable to racism.

People in urban areas voluntarily choose toeat fast food, which is high in fat and cholesterol. Why not tax that? If anything, the resultant obesity and high health costs (diabetes especially) are way more of a tax on the health system than tanning - which are small businesses typically owned by women.

To be sure: they did not tax fast food because there WOULD BE CRIES OF RACISM. The same way the Soda Tax in DC with met with clamors of racism.

This is a laughable policy. Either the tan tax is racist, or a soda/fast food tax isn't. Which is it liberals? Or maybe it's as simple as Democrats knew they could rely on white guilt to implement a tax on an activity that is almost wholly used by white people.

Posted by: dnara | July 8, 2010 8:46 PM

@DNARA

A fat tax and soda tax hurts poor people bc that food is cheaper than healthy food. And in poor communities healthy, fresh food isn't as readily available. Still wouldn't call that racist.

Last i checked, 48 percent of Americans on welfare are white. Americans of all races are fat.

If obesity was only a Black/Brown person's issue Americans would know nothing about it or wouldn't care. That's how it works most of the time.

Posted by: bosslady1 | July 8, 2010 9:00 PM

Whites who tan are outraged...because tanning is a mark of stupidity, undercutting whites' claim to greater intelligence compared to persons of other races.

Posted by: jjedif | July 8, 2010 9:34 PM

A tax on tanning is not racist. A poll on whether a tannning tax is racist is aboslutely IGNORANT!

Posted by: PepperDr | July 9, 2010 9:23 AM

White people are always trying to tan to get black, yet they put down black people and try to make them seem as they are nothing. What's wrong with this picture? In actuality and reality, they are the bottom race going to the bottom. Oh happy day!

Posted by: fatflush3 | July 9, 2010 12:14 PM

If you think the tanning tax isn't racist then we truly have an ignorant nation. What would happen if our government imposed a 10% tax on rap music only? Who would cry racism then? To make things fair for everyone lets tax all who go to the beach or lake since all races use them. Lets also campaign to get Florida to change their name from the Sunshine State to the Unhealthy State because tanning is harmful for us says our US government. There are 18,000 tanning salons nationwide, 67% are owned by women. It's nice to see Obama attack a minority and small businesses. What would you tax next?

Posted by: vivared | July 9, 2010 2:40 PM

White people are always trying to tan to get black, yet they put down black people and try to make them seem as they are nothing.
What's wrong with this picture?
Posted by: fatflush3
--------------------------------------

Uhh, no whities don't get black. White people get either brown or red when tanning.

So stupidity is what is wrong with this picture.

Posted by: Greent | July 9, 2010 5:13 PM

vivared wrote: "What would happen if our government imposed a 10% tax on rap music only? Who would cry racism then?"

Ummm... probably white people, because they buy WAY more rap music than anyone else.

But anyway. Taxes are not used to dis an entire race, and they're not selected randomly to generate revenue ("hey, let's tax velvet today!") They are used to discourage certain (often unhealthy) behavior that has negative impacts on society as a whole. Like taxing cigarettes or alcohol. Sometimes such a tax affects one race more than another. For instance, poor people eat more foods with sugar because those foods are cheaper (because the basis of sugar is often corn, which is subsidised by the government). A lot of poor people are black and hispanic. If you tax sugar, those people will be disproportionately affected.

Posted by: bikinibottom | July 10, 2010 3:23 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I swear some people are alive just to crack me up. Its like watching a soap opera. What makes it great are the actors, who aren't acting at all. Unlike their thespian counterparts, these people actually BELIEVE the script.

The white people tax! Instant Classic! Can you all get any more paranoid?

Posted by: trident420 | July 12, 2010 9:07 AM

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