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There is a singular set of people, ______, who are treated peculiarly and have been for centuries. They occupy a distinctive position of subservience in many societies around the world. When they find work at all, ______ usually are in low-level or dead-end jobs. A fortunate few fill niches in certain arts or entertainment sectors of the economy, or in other pursuits outside the mainstream.

Individual _____ are often stared at, sometimes innocently as curiosities, in other cases with fear or hostility. Their presence in many contexts is viewed as a surprise; people comment when one of them is seen doing advanced or sophisticated tasks. A ______ when noticed tends to be seen as an object, "one of them", not a person with a name and a history. But surprisingly, in many circumstances ______ are virtually invisible, except to each other. People treat _____ as part of the landscape, look right through them, and talk as though they aren't there.

______ until quite recently had limited legal and voting rights in most countries. They still are subject to state-sponsored restrictions in some parts of the world. Their special socioeconomic status (or lack thereof) has often limited their opportunities to get good educations, and so they are noteworthy for their absence in many fields of letters, science, and the fine arts. Attempts to increase their numbers in those fields appear likely to take generations to succeed, and in the meantime have aroused stiff opposition from some non-______ who feel threatened or see such remedies for past discrimination as unfair.

Many ______ are quietly bitter about how they are treated each day. Many others are simply resigned to their station in life, and notice it as little as we all notice the air we breathe. A few lash out. Those _____ tend to be scorned as freaks, or boxed up and set aside as threats. Arguably the wisest ______ over the years have channeled their frustrations into teaching, learning, and consciousness-raising --- and have done wonders, long-term, in improving the lot of their group and of humanity as a whole. Their love for all, ______ or not, is a powerful miracle.

There is a final shocking truth, which many people try to avoid thinking about. Everybody's ancestry is literally full of ______, directly or collaterally. And, if one is blessed with descendants, they're eventually certain to include ______ as well. Maybe that's a reason for hope!

Saturday, August 21, 1999 at 17:04:42 (EDT) = Datetag19990821

TopicJustice - TopicSociety - TopicLife

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