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July 8, 2016


DAILYKENN.com -- Placing a person's name inside three parentheses indicates that person is Jewish. (Three parentheses originally suggested an echo for emphasis.) For example, one could indicate that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is a Jew by typing his name as (((Stephen Breyer))). 

The practice is condemned by the American Defamation League as anti-semitic and is included in organization's hate symbol database

• A false presumption exists that identifying Jews dates back to the Third Reich when Jews were notoriously required to wear a yellow Star of David badge in some areas. 

In reality, the practice of identifying Jews by outward markings dates back at least to the 8th century. Umayyad Caliph Umar II introduced the practice in Muslim countries and again by Caliph Al-Mutawakkil (847–61). Jews were required to wear two yellow badges, one on headgear and the other on the neck. They were also required to wear lead hung from the neck that included the word Dhimmi. Women were required to wear one red and one black shoe. They also had to wear a small bell on their necks or shoes. 

The law lasted for centuries. 

Pope Innocent III ruled in 1215 that Jews and Muslims must wear distinguishable clothing. 

In 1219, Pope Honorius III ordered the Jews of Castile, Europe's largest Jewish population at the time, to wear distinctive clothing. 

The identifying clothing varied from time to time and from place to place. Jews in Spain, for example. wore turbans


In In 1227 Jews were required to wear oval badges on their chests as mandated by the Synod of Narbonne. Louis IX of France imposed a fine of about one pound of silver on Jews who violated the requirement in 1269. Various local councils enforced the law by imposing fines of their own for violations. 

Edward I of England enacted the Statute of Jewry  in 1274. That law required Jews over seven years old to wear yellow badges measuring six inches high and three inches wide. 

A cone-shaped hat (Judenhut) was commonly required to be worn by Jews in some German-speaking regions. The Vienna city council, for example, held a special session in 1267 requiring Jews to wear a Judenhut. Originally, the Judenhat was worn by choice. 

Badges remained the preferred identifier, however, and were known to be used into the 18th century in some areas of Europe. 

• The practice of forcing Jews to wear distinguishing badges or clothing may seem discriminatory. However, medieval Europeans generally held each other to clothing restrictions as certain garments indicated social status or occupation. 

Sumptuary laws have been used in most cultures throughout history for various reasons such as preventing commoners from imitating aristocrats.  

• In 7th century (BC) Greece, the Locrian code banned free women from wearing an embroidered robe unless she was a certified prostitute. Likewise, men were prohibited from wearing effeminate robes made in the city of Miletus. 

• In ancient Rome laws regulated the number of stripes allowed on tunics worn by men according to social rank. 

• The most strict sumptuary laws were found in Japan.
• Islamic law forbids men to wear robes that drag on the ground. Even into the 21st century, Hindus living in Afghanistan were required to wear yellow badges.

• Americans living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were prohibited by law from wearing "lace, silver or gold thread or buttons, cutwork, embroidery, hatbands, belts, ruffles, capes, etc." unless they possessed a personal net worth of 200 pounds. 

• In England all males over age six were required to wear woolen caps on Sundays and holidays. The law was passed by Parliament in 1571. 

• Religious groups have long used clothing, hair, and adornments to identify their faith. Amish, for example, are readily identifiable by their hairstyles and clothing as are many Hare Krishna members. Some orthodox Jews sport payot, a long strand of hair in front of each ear. Many Muslims self-identify by clothing and hairstyles. Male followers of the Jack Hyles cult, a fringe group of fundamentalist Baptists, wear their hair extremely short on the sides. 

• Some states in the United States prohibit wearing Klan robes and hoods. Some nations, such as France, has enacted limited prohibitions on religious wear, particularly the niqab that covers the face of Muslim women. 

White people who weave their hair are often condemned by blacks and accused of cultural misappropriation. 

Identifying people by groups has apparently always been part of the human experience. Using such identifiers or the prohibition of identifiers, to evoke hate is, of course, immoral. 


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