Monday, November 30, 2009

Ginger hatred comes to America

Three Calabasas middle school students arrested in 'ginger attacks'

Three boys have been arrested in connection with the so-called "ginger attacks," instigated by a Facebook message, in which at least seven red-haired children were beaten up at a Calabasas middle school, a sheriff's spokesman said this morning. Full story here.
If you search for the term 'ginger' on this blog, you'll find dozens of posts I've written about how English society had it in for redheads. From catcalls to outright assaults, it ain't easy growing up ginger in the UK - especially not since society generally condones or dismisses this ingrained prejudice.

Me as a ginger kid! Victimized because, according to the Facebook group mentioned above: "gingers are not proper humans and should be socially mocked."

America's generally a different story - since the nation's such a melting post, most people are more accepting of different appearences, especially in this area. Since the New York area was colonized by the Irish, redheads historically haven't been as much of a 'minority' as they were in England - not to mention the fact that nobody would pick on a ginger since many Irish New Yorkers were in, or had family in, the police.

When I first 'red' the story about the Calabasa attacks, I was dismayed - was 'gingerism' finally making it's way over the Atlantic? Then I realised that the way the paper was treating the whole situation was different. In the UK, when somebody's victimized for being ginger, the newspapers have a field day with the funny language - 'mugging victim sees red' or 'ginger nut gets cracked.' It's all one big joke to them.

Here in America, the newspapers and authorities haven't really made much issue of why the redheaded kids were victimized - just that they were.

That's another reminder of why I enjoy living here.

I'm not saying America's perfect - there's still an awful lot of ingrained racism and prejudice, especially in certain parts of the country, or regarding gays and lesbians. But for me, at least, it's a whole new world. Stories like the one above make me sad, but the reaction to them reminds me of everything I've come to appreciate about living in America.


Sasha Sappho said...

Oh. my. gawd. That picture is ADORABLE.

(yes, I know that's not at all the point of this post, but I just had to comment.) :)

Coffee Bean said...

Well weren't you just darling!!! My goodness!

You know... only during the day care/school years is it "normal" to be surrounded by children your own age. One of the things I really liked about homeschooling is that it wasn't like that. There's a certain pack mentality that is fostered when kids are grouped that way. For a lot of kids, especially the social types, it can be a positive experience. Unfortunately, it isn't for everyone. Never at any other time in one's life are you only with those your exact age.

I hate to hear about kids being tortured because of what they look like. I am very fair and freckled and got some of that growing up. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had my hair been red too. Many times I looked at myself in the mirror hating all my freckles and thinking I was ugly. It was only after I had a child that looked like me that I began to think differently about them. I didn't want her to feel about herself the way I did about myself. And... there are people in this world that really like them... like my husband. LOL!

I don't understand why some people/children are so cruel.

Connecticut Yankee said...

Ugh. The article you linked to just reminds me why I dislike children. I was going to mention how "South Park" has been making ginger jokes for awhile, but it seems the show may have influenced the kids' behavior.

I agree with the other comments though; you were a cute kid!

Susanne said...

I think red hair is fine and lovely! Your picture is really cute. :)

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