Sunday 21 December 2008

Seeing red over ginger bullying

Irish Times writes:
Prof Diane Negra at the University of East Anglia feels the current upsurge in attacks on redheads is not uncommon at a time of economic tightening.

"Often during recession you have a pronounced rise in discriminatory crime, and this all strikes me as another manifestation of that trend," she says. "Red hair is an interesting one though, because it works in very different ways depending on what culture you're in. The way redheads are treated in the US, for instance, is very different to the way they might be treated in the UK or Ireland. In Britain, the attitude is very negative, in Ireland it is more mixed, while in the US it is a very positive thing right now to have red hair, and even has an erotic sexuality attached to it."
Primary school teacher Aoife O'Donnell says kids can be very aware of hair colour from a young age. In her current class of 19, only two pupils have red hair, and while teachers are far more conscious of bullying and name calling, she thinks redheads still get a raw deal.

"I think name-calling because of hair colour is somehow seen as less harsh," she says. "The dictionary we use has evolved in other respects such as ethnic origins and so on, but that doesn't seem to be the case with redheads. The names I would have heard in my schooldays are the same ones being used presently."
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