The Face of a Baby

The first baby born in Hungary January 1, 2015, was news and had his picture in the paper. Because Rikardo Racz is Roma, also known as gypsy, the picture attracted the attention of Elod Novak, the deputy leader of a far-right party. He posted a picture of himself with his wife and three children on Facebook decrying the presence of the Romas, with statements such as the fact that to him they were multiplying and will soon make people like him a minority in their own country. The post triggered s torrent of both condemnation and approval and reflected the racism—and anti-racism—currently at work in the country.

Not long before this incident a Roma baby in a village south of Paris was denied burial by the mayor. In this case the mayor of a neighborhood village shocked by the refusal offered a spot in the cemetery of his village.

There’s something foul and pernicious about the use of a baby to vent one’s prejudices. It happened with Roma babies, since Roma are a shunned and unwanted minority and presence in several European countries. No doubt it happens in other countries about the babies of any of the many groups who are discriminated against. When racism shows its face through that of a baby, it’s time to ask ourselves how we would react to the babies of minorities or even to those we hold prejudices against.

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