A New Kind of Hate — What is the Deal with Gingerism?
Everyone knows a redhead. They are people just like everyone else with brown or blonde hair. So, why are they treated so differently? What makes them different? Why are people so anti-redhead?
Redheads have been all over the news, internet, and television lately. More and more women are dying their hair to a more red tint. But, there are still miss conception about the redhead race. There are also a lot of hateful words and actions being sent to the group. The only thing that is different from the general population is their hair color. this difference is creating a great separation of them from everyone else. Why are they so different? Why does it matter?
Red hair is the most rare hair color out there. There are only about 2 out of every 100 people with the color. It is thought to be a mutation developed in people living further north from the equator. The gene mutation allows the fair skin to absorb vitamin D in low light areas. In this process to help people get a little sunshine when there is little light, this is helped by the pheomelanin pigment. The pheomelanin pigment is a part of the gene mutation and causes the color of red in the hair. Basically, redheads have a different pigment than most with eumelanin (darker) pigments. Therefore, redheads are humans just like everyone else.
Through the centuries people have come up with their own explanations for redheads and where they come from. Redhead Mark Twain once said that while all other humans came from apes, redheads come from cats. In Marion Roach’s book “The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, and Sexual Power of Red Hair,” it is explained that there is scholarly speculation that Adam was redhead. This idea comes from the fact that the Hebrew word for red is adom. It is written in the Bible it is written that both David and Judas were redheads. So if both good and evil characters are thought to be redhead, why is there an increase in redhead discrimination?
Gingerism is a term recently coined for the dislike or hate of people with red hair. Though the word is new, the uncomfortability towards redheads has been around since the Greeks. The ancient Greeks believed at one time that when a red of hair person died they would come back as a zombie. In the witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they would burn at the stake redheads for conspiracy of being witches. Hitler banned the marriage of redheads so they would not produce “deviant offspring.”
Do the people that are now blindly hating “gingers” realize they are copying Hitler, one of the worst human beings to ever exist? A lot of people think it is a funny joke that began with an episode of South Park, but it is not just an internet fad. This joke goes past claiming redheads have no souls, people are having their lives ruined or taken.
Because of endless torment for their hair color, a family in England has had to move homes twice. In 2003, a young man was stabbed in the back for being “ginger.” A young boy, tired of the daily torture, took his on life in 2009. One of many lives lost because of a hair color. Some of the bullying comes from the nicknames that have been invented. Ginger, carrot top, and the Australian ranga (after the orangutans) are a few examples. But, these names can lead to further separation for those called them. A Facebook page was created to try and push November 20th to be National Kick a Ginger Day. This fake holiday was created by a young boy that is now under investigation by his native Canadian police. Where is this absurd discrimination coming from and where is it headed?
The video below shows a very graphic idea of what this “ginger” hate could lead to. It is all so reminiscent of past segregations and hate acts. (Be advised: This video is somewhat NSFW).
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This is a problem closer to home than some think. Most are under the misconception that redheads are mainly from Ireland. This is not true. The highest proportion of redheads to other hair types is in Scotland. Ireland falls as number two on that list. But, both are dramatically low populations of redheads compared to the United States. America houses approximately over six million redheads to Scotland’s 650,000 and Ireland’s 420,000. And these numbers are not all strangers.
Here is a short list of some of the world’s most famous redheads.
- Helen of Troy
- Queen Elizabeth
- Winston Churchill
- Willie Nelson
- Lucille Ball
- Thomas Jefferson
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Mark Twain
So redheads, though slightly different, are not that bad. This ignorant and silly dislike of them is completely unwarranted. If hating someone for their skin color makes sense to the majority, why is it so hard for people to feel the same about a difference in hair color?