It Was Literally Illegal To Be Deformed/Disabled In Some Major Cities
We're not going to sugarcoat this: Up until the 1970s, it was illegal for "unsightly" people to go outside in certain places, lest their hellish appearance cause a crash in local housing prices.
Back in the late 1800s, several major cities across the U.S. enacted "unsightly beggar ordinances" (which later became known as "ugly laws") to stop unpleasant-looking people from begging on city streets and corrupting unborn babies (seriously). One "ugly law" introduced in 1881 Chicago targeted anyone who was "diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object." And this wording was so popular (read: awful) that it was soon copy-pasted into similar ordinances in Omaha, Columbus, Cleveland, and Portland. The end result was that someone found flagrantly, um ... existing under these laws was fined or thrown in the poorhouse.
Lewis Hine/Library of Congress“Your crime spree ends today, granny. You’re under arrest for aggravated pointy-nose-having and unlawful possession of a frumpy hat.”
It's also worth noting that the guy responsible for passing the Chicago "ugly laws," a city alderman named James Peevey, hated disabled people with a vigor that would make even staunch eugenicists clutch their pearls. In an op-ed for The Chicago Tribune, he described the targets of his legislation as "street obstructions ... the one-legged individual who, with drooping eye and painfully lugubrious countenance, holds forth his hat for pennies [or] the woman with two sick children who was drawn through the carding-machine in a woolen mill."
Yeah, you tell 'em, Peevey. Those goddamn *checks notes* cripples and injured single mothers had it too good for too long, and we hope that this crusade against the disabled didn't take too much time away from hunting for the one-legged man who accidentally kicked your childhood dog.
By the 1910s, most states had stopped prosecuting the "ugly laws," but that doesn't mean they went away entirely. In 1974, one policeman in Omaha had a hate-on for a homeless man so strong that he combed through local ordinances looking for some reason, any reason, to arrest the guy. He stumbled on his local "ugly law," and the arrest was made. But the subsequent trial collapsed, not only because the key "evidence" was the fact that the guy had scars, but also because the judge asked how one could reasonably assess "ugliness," and oh good lord was he really the first person in all those decades to actually ask that question?
Unbelievably, it could've been worse for that homeless guy.
The Ancient Greeks Used To Sacrifice "Ugly" People
The ancient Greeks were obsessed with physical perfection, which made things ... not ideal if you weren't a walking benchmark for physical perfection.