Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Last Pariahs

(from the New York Times, Sunday Review, Op-Ed)

STARTING in the 1970s, lawmakers across the United States enacted punitive “lock ’em up” policies. The prison population more than quadrupled, and the United States became first in the world in both the total number of prisoners (about 2.3 million) and the rate of imprisonment (1 of every 100 adults is behind bars).
Now, budget pressures, court orders and a recognition of the social costs of incarceration have prompted America to reconsider some of these draconian laws. Incarceration rates may be topping out.
But most criminal justice advocates have been reluctant to talk about sex offender laws, much less reform them. The reluctance has deep roots....


  1. There has never, ever, ever, ever, ever, been any society in the history of mankind that has not required, and desperately needed a scapegoat. If there could ever be one, surely our 'tolerance' society would have come close. Rather, it has witnessed the most thoroughly systematic persecution of any societal subculture since the times of Nazi Germany.

  2. here is my essay

    Comparing the Situation of Soviet Jews in USSR with Sex Offenders in the U.S

  3. As a former Soviet citizen and Soviet Jew, I experienced a huge discrimination in the USSR. All Soviet citizens had passports with a record of nationality in them. Some people had Russian nationality, some Ukranian nationality, and some, like me, had a Jewish record on the first page. We needed to show a passport when applying for jobs, getting housing, or entering University. And when you had a Jewish record it was like being a registered sex offender in the US today.

    Jews were pariahs in the USSR. You should not tell anybody you were a Jew. Some Russian people would beat you. Silently, the Soviet government supported this. When I was a child, some neighbors knew we were Jews, so they sent their kids to fight with me. I was beaten many times, just because of the Jewish Scarlett Letter. The Soviet Police were responsible for maintaining the passport system, and
    putting the Scarlett Jewish ID there. This looks just like the situation for sex offenders in many states today. When their neighbors learn a sex offender family has moved next door, the sex offenders and their families are hassled, possibly their houses attacked, and some sex offenders have even been killed.

    After graduating from high school I was going to Leningrad University. A University worker asked for my passport. He made a note about nationality, and told me there are too many Jews here. As a result I got an F on my first test, and could not enter University. I was an A+ student in high school. When I tried to go to a technical college, they again noted my Jewish record.

    As a result I got C's and B's on tests, but they allowed me in. I was all A student in college. Jewish people were not allowed to go for PhD, so after graduation I was going to try to work in a Military Industry plant. When I came to Human Resources, the first thing they asked me was, 'Are you a Jew?' And then they did not want to give me a job, but finally had to give me the worst position. Each time I was looking for job, HR asked for a passport, and looked for the Jewish record.

    This is very similar to the employment situation for sex offenders in the USA. Human Resources will look for a sex offender record, and then you will not be hired, or you will be kicked out if you already have been hired. Last year I got a a low level job repairing some hardware. I worked just one day and then was kicked out when HR got the background investigation result.

    What is the difference between my past Jewish pariah status and now my sex offender pariah status? I am unemployed for 6 years, since 2002.

    In 1996 I thought I had enough in the former USSR. I had relatives in the US, and sent them an application for entering the US. The US embassy invited my family for an interview in Moscow. I explained to them all the discrimination I had experienced. I remembered that one of the US officers interviwing me asked me if I could practice my religion. My answer was: ¨Synagogue¨ here is a very bad, illegal word, so what are you talking about?'

    I got refugee status based on human rights´ violations in the former USSR. My family moved to the US. But in the US I did not escape the Scarlet Letter, I got another one! I was branded ¨sex offender.¨ There is an article about how this happened to me. You can find it here

    As you can see from this article, the situation for Jews in the USSR was exactly the same as the situation for sex offenders in the year 2008 in the USA!

    All governments in all ages need enemies! They try to create a class of pariahs to blame for everything, and divert people attention from the real problems.

  4. Wow, an amazing article! Please check out: