NYT Op-Ed: Should ‘Ugly’ Be a Protected Class?

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There’s another op-ed in the New York Times that gives The Onion a run for its money. The column is entitled, “Ugly? You May Have a Case.” In it, the author, a professor of economics (naturally) at the University of Texas, Austin, argues that it’s time for ugly people to be recognized as a protected minority:

Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice. Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors. This is not a matter of evil employers’ refusing to hire the ugly: in our roles as workers, customers and potential lovers we are all responsible for these effects.

How could we remedy this injustice? With all the gains to being good-looking, you would think that more people would get plastic surgery or makeovers to improve their looks. Many of us do all those things, but as studies have shown, such refinements make only small differences in our beauty. All that spending may make us feel better, but it doesn’t help us much in getting a better job or a more desirable mate.

A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

Making “ugly” a protected class? Now there’s a law that would sail through that freakshow of a Congress we have.

Life on this earth will never truly be fair until that day when ugly people — people so ugly that when they were born the doctor slapped their parents… people so ugly that their mothers had to get drunk to breast feed them… people so ugly that strip clubs pay them to put their clothes on… people so ugly that when they were kids their fathers took them to work every day so they didn’t have to kiss them goodbye… people so ugly that when they visit the haunted house they’re handed job applications — can take those bags off their heads and shout from every mountaintop, acne ointment aisle at Wal-Mart, Star Wars convention or NOW meeting, “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!”