Monday, January 08, 2007

Prejudice against Gingers: Daily Echo

Footballer demands referee is punished over 'oi ginger' slur
Clare Kennedy

WHETHER ridiculed or revered, they often find themselves the butt of jokes because of nothing more than their hair colour.

For generations, ginger is the colour that makes it often impossible for people to fade into the background.

Now the taunts more familiar in a children's playground have reached one of the highest levels of the beautiful game.

A football referee today stands accused of shouting oi ginger shut- up' at Southampton Burridge AFC defender, Paul Dyke.

The player has compared the taunt to a racist slur. Full article here.

I wrote this response to the Daily Echo's very interesting - and groundbreaking - article. Groundbreaking because this is an issue I've never seen a legitimate publication touch on before. Congratulations to journalist Clare Kennedy for a brilliant story.

Dear Daily Echo:

I've experienced prejudice for being redheaded my entire life.

At school teachers used to yell "oi, your head's on fire!" When I started working, I was called "ginger" by my bosses. I could never walk down a street without somebody yelling at me and I found myself targeted for verbal - and sometimes physical - abuse whenever I went to the pub.

In 2000, I moved to France and then to America. And it stopped. Abroad, I never once experienced abuse for the colour of my hair. I came to realise it was only Britain that had such a ridiculous prejudice towards people with red hair.

The worst thing? It's institutionalised. Whether on television or in the paper, ginger hair is the last minority you can legitimatly pick on. If you ever turned the tables - and imagined the phrases used to describe ginger people being used to describe black or asian people - there would be an outcry. This is racism, pure and simple.

I'm partly Scottish, not Asian or Black. But it's genetics behind the way I look. That makes these attacks racist. But nobody's willing to stand up and face that ugly truth.

Personally, I've come to think about the word "ginger" the way many black people must think about the word "nigger."

What's worse is there are no redheaded people willing to stand up for themselves - myself included. We've become Uncle Toms.

This has haunted me my entire life and has certainly shaped the person I became. Highly self conscious, with very low self esteem. It wasn't until I went to America that I was able to truly feel confident and free. That's why I'm looking forward to moving back there.

I have written about this issue before:

I must commend the Daily Echo for actually standing up and saying what a generation have been too afraid to - that racism against ginger people (be they scots/irish or nordic) is no better than racism against against anybody else. I look forward to seeing existing racial hatred laws used to punish those who attack redheaded people as they are used when people attack black or asian people.


carrie said...

I was born blonde, and have always, ALWAYS wished for red hair. But I might disagree with you on that being the last acceptable prejudice and tell you that when I weighed 260 pounds, I was treated MUCH differently than I am now. Not only does the world accept not-so-nice treatment of the obese, but I allowed it to happen to myself. Now almost 100 pounds thinner, it makes me sick to think that I didn't stand up for myself back then.
So sad, huh, that everyone can't just get along.

Herodle said...

Mate, you are a star. I don't, however, agree with your claim that no ginger people stand up for themselves. I for one definitely do. Check this shit out:
If you have trouble it's the 'Ginger Tosser Hate Club'.
I've been having an ongoing row with the dickheads on this page for a few days now. It's really quite amusing. If for nothing else, just to vent some frustration.
I'm as sick of it as you are. It winds me up so much that I'm genuinely scared I might lash out and (deservedly) seriously injure someone. It's time for action! What do you suggest? If you want to contact me, search for me on facebook.

Rob Van Moppes.

Hannah : ) said...

i am a redhead and im over weight, but no one has ever made fun of me for either, but this could be because i will joke about myself alot(my weight not my hair) or just because i've been sheltered. No, i was really shy(and still am) so it bugged me that people would stop me places and tell me how much they liked my hair and most of my computer names are redhed or something. ALTHOUGH, i was made fun of my name, Hannah, when i was little lol.

Anonymous said...

Having never lived in Britain, I had no idea that there was such a large prejudice against people with red hair. The only time I've seen prejudice here (America) was in a very offensive episode of South Park. I think it's good that this is finally being recognized as a legitimate prejudice. No one should face discrimination based on things they can't control!

Anonymous said...

I think there should be ginger gangs that fight for our rights with blood.
I am willing to do it. Let's show the world what happens when they piss of the gingers.

Tate said...

I'm willing to say that you are completley incorrect about the "no prejudice" for gingers in the United States. I personally have trouble in my Texas school because everyone singles me out and calls me terms, like "gingiefag" or things of that nature. I personally don't understand why a good natured person like me gets made fun of because of their hair color. The blacks talk all the time about their prejudices, but they are nothing compared to what I face today. The worst thing about this is that I am alone in my strife. Hopefully one day I'll stop getting beat up for my hair.

Anonymous said...

I find stereotypes funny, I'm from Texas so I had never heard of this until it came up in another forum. It just reminds me of how ridiculous racism is. So yes I may laugh at a joke about how it is typical for blondes or blacks or mexicans or whites or asians to do something in a set situation, but I would never want someone to feel bad about how they look. Red hair is gorgeous so be proud and yes do please stand up for yourself.

Pakkerz said...

I have red hair and have been singled out for it all my life! Every time someone calls me ginger its a reminder that im different, but im proud of myself, I am proud to be different. I feel that my hair isn't a handicap to me but to other people because they categorise me as one type of person and theyre wrong because I'm not a stereotype any more than other gingers are. We deserve our rights not to be discriminated otherwise it might as well be racist because it isn't right that people can get in trouble for calling blacks or asians "Niggers" or "Pakis" but they can get away with things like "Ginger". And if we complain it's us that "Can't take a joke" or its our problem, having red hair is not a problem but we have to deal with it like it is one because other people think that that's all we're worth, and we are worth more!!!

Red Pride!!!

Anonymous said...

It's pure double-standards. I would sue in state court for ethnic intimidation-- and if the state court refused, sue the state in federal court for discrimination.

Anonymous said...

I also never realized there was such a prejudice in Britain until very recently. Actually I never knew a prejudice against red heads existed in the U.S. until I went to college and experienced it first-hand. But I don't understand why people are prejudiced. Growing up, I loved my red hair... it makes me unique and I think red hair is beautiful. It's not right that people can get away with it. It's just as bad as racism. There's no excuse for making people feel ashamed of a trait that they were born with. And for the record, I have no desire to go to Britain now.