Yellow Stars and Pink Triangles

If you paid much attention to the history of the mid-twentieth century you know to what I am referring.

Jews and people with not-sanctioned sexual orientations look just like the population in which they reside. In Nazi Germany this was Germanic, of course. In the US, people of color were easy to pick out of a crowd so we didn’t feel quite the same desire to require individuals to wear labels that told us whether we were expected to treat then with normal good manners or not.

I was listening to a story, some time back, on NPR, about a white man, as a youth in the Jim Crow South, who disturbed his employer’s white customers by treating the black customers with the respect his parents taught him to show to his elders.

Perhaps the bigot needs to treat someone as a lesser being. Pain, for the bigot, is to, perhaps, accidentally treat a member of the despised group with the same courtesy he would expect for himself. In Nazi Germany that pain was avoided by publicly marking those persons who were not to be given common courtesy. I guess the closest we got here was the Scarlet Letter.

Love and a courtly bow,

Stephen

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