Why Do People Think It’s OK To Victimise Readheads?

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Equality, Human Rights, Random
Tags: , ,

Some of you reading this will find this funny. Some of you will not. Those of you who find it funny will have never been on the receiving end, that I can confidently guarantee.

We live in a society where the majority of people hold the belief that the right to not be victimised and persecuted for something you have no control over is a basic human right.

We’ve abolished slavery because every human has the right to be treated fairly. We (on the whole) have rid our society of the disease of homophobia, although sadly we still have a long way to go. The same can be said for racism. Most people would not be able to convincingly argue that a particular person is more superior than another because of their race or sexual orientation. It strikes most people as grossly unfair to persecute or verbally abuse someone because they’re from a different country, or because they’re attracted to the same sex.

In much of the west liberalism is taking over as the political ideology of choice. The belief that we are all free to be ourselves providing we don’t harm anyone is a belief almost everybody I know shares.

Unfortunately, however, it seems there is one thing that remains on the list of “acceptable” persecutions: having red hair.

To those who have no experience of this it may seem slightly trivial. Indeed I will hold my hands up and admit I was once in this camp. Surely those with red (or “ginger”) hair can’t experience the feelings of rejection that ethnic minorities or homosexuals have experienced? Sadly, though, they do.

My partner has red hair and I love it. It’s one of the things that stood out to me when I first saw her. Throughout her entire school life she was bullied for it. Bullied for no other reason than she had red hair. At this point some of you will be thinking “kids are cruel” or “kids will bully people over anything” and this would be true except it’s not only kids that do it.

Even to this day when walking down the street she gets abuse shouted at her. If the abuse was racially motivated it’d be a crime and the perpetrators could be arrested. If it was sexuality motivated the law protects her too. In fact, there have been times when this abuse has been thrown in the presence of a police officer; did they do anything? Of course not. Obviously had she been called a racist remark the cuffs would have been out. But because it’s only her hair colour it doesn’t matter and she should apparently just ‘get over’ it.

This attitude is common place in society. Many of those who wouldn’t laugh at a racist joke will laugh at a “ginger” joke. Mainstream media, whilst afraid to air racist or homophobic comedy, has no qualms about airing jokes about redheads.

So it raises the question: why is it different? Why, when society has moved on so much do we still think it’s OK to laugh, ridicule and persecute someone simply because of the colour of their hair? What is the logical difference between calling a gay person names and calling a redhead names?

If you ask me there is no difference and it’s not OK.

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Comments
  1. muirz says:

    I agree;
    I hear people slagging off redheads all the time! they have no control over what hair coolour to be born with!
    And people say the cruelest things; like gingers have no souls, wtf?
    personally i would love to have red hair, infact im dying it a reddish orange soon 🙂
    And why do people always associate redheads with the irish?
    Nice blog,
    Muireann.

  2. Glad I’m not alone on this! People do think it’s OK to say these things. Regarding the Irish…I must say myself I’ve noticed that there does seem to be a LOT of Irish redheads, the red gene in my partner comes from her Irish roots!

    Thanks for commenting. Good to see you’re a new blogger, welcome to the world of blogging!

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