What are three ways the story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" represents scapegoating of a minority culture?

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Le Guin makes clear in this story that a group whose well-being is based on the suffering or scapegoating of a minority culture must come up with rationales to justify their abuse and exploitation of the minority group.

In this story, the minority is a group of one: an innocent child who must live without kindness or sympathy, in filth, pain, and hunger, so the rest of the culture can thrive.

Three ways the people of Omelas rationalize this are as follows and are similar to ways minority suffering is often justified by a dominant culture:

First, people comfort themselves that the child, never having known any other life, would not appreciate a good life even if it was given to them:

It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid too long ever to be free of fear. Its habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment.

Second, they say it is too bad that the child must suffer, but the trade-off is worth the price and to do anything but make the trade-off would be sinful:

To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.

Finally, they resign themselves to the idea that there is no other way to organize the culture. As the story says, children, though initially shocked by the sight of the suffering child, are told "there is nothing they can do."

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In "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" it is possible to think of people as being divided into three groups. The child who is locked away, the people who see the child and are complicit in its torture, and the ones who walk away.

The story centers around the idea of a minority (any minority, not just racial or cultural) in a society serving as a scapegoat. A scapegoat is someone or something who takes the blame for the wrongdoing of someone else. In other words, although the wrongdoing is not actually the scapegoat's fault, he or she is punished for the wrongdoing of another person or group. In the case of Omelas, the scapegoat is the child who is locked up, and the rest of the people in the story know that in order to maintain their own health and well-being, they must keep the child in this deplorable condition.

The child represents the neglected minority in a society. The child is symbolic of any abused, mistreated, or ignored minority in society. For example, you could look at the Jews in the Holocaust as a possible interpretation of this child. They were imprisoned and killed while millions of other people were allowed to roam free because of a simple religious distinction.

Most of the people in the story see the child and understand its misery, and they understand that it must stay miserable in order to allow them to be happy. This symbolically represents people who know that a minority is being mistreated but choose to ignore this mistreatment because it does not affect them directly. To continue with the example from above, this could represent the millions of citizens during World War II who went along with Hitler's tyrannical rule and did nothing to stop the Nazis.

The third category is the people who "walk away" from Omelas. They see the misery that one person has to suffer, and they decide that even one person suffering is not worth their happiness. In the story, these people decide to walk away. In real life, in the example we are using, this could be any of the people who stood up to the Nazis and tried to resist in some way.

The Nazi example is just one possible interpretation, but the same reasoning could be applied to any such situation. There is always injustice happening in the world to minorities. Some people choose to ignore it, and others choose to actively fight it.

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