The nub of the ped problem

From William A. Percy
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The key problem is that our society, like many others, has a seemingly irrepressable tendency to marginalize certain groups. There is also a kind of circulation of marginalization--as the stigma fades from one group it migrates to another.

We can agree that there is much in this process that is irrational, but once a group has been assigned to this pit of obloquy it is very hard to secure its release. It cannot be done merely by rational argument on the part of the shafted individuals and their allies.

Only the host society can release the victims from their inferiorized status. That is, among other things, what I deduced in my days as a teenage Communist. It didn't matter how much rational argument appeared in the Daily Worker and elsewhere. The marginalization was there to stay. In some ways it stil is.

The stigma is a kind of enchantment, in the negative sense of the word.

Viewed in this comparative perspective, defending the peds is a little like Don Quixote intervening to help damsels in distress. As with the Man of La Mancha's idols, they are not really damsels, but in many cases rather ugly, selfish individuals. That is the reality,

Above all, these unfortunates cannot be released from their enchantment by such intervention. Only the enchanters, the host society that defines itself by this marginalization, can release them. Needless to say, there are no present prospects for that happening.

Doubtless you will continue to enact the role of Man of La Mancha. It has a certain nobility. But the endeavor remains quixotic.

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