Wednesday 28 January 2009

Questions for Root Ginger Exhibition's Jenny Wicks has secured an interview with Jenny Wicks, the creator of the upcoming exhibition entitled Root Ginger: A Study of Red Hair.

If you have a question you would like to ask Jenny, please add it in the comments and I will do my best to get it answered for you.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission on gingerism

This article contains an excellent overview of the current state of affairs regarding red head prejudice.

Many recent examples of gingerism are reviewed and the article takes a good look at The Equality and Human Rights Commission's current stance on the matter.

From Sunday Herald:

NOT LONG ago I was sitting on a train trying to read an article by the journalist Brendan O'Neill. Across from me sat a group of teenagers. Their conversation was loud, though not especially obnoxious, until it veered onto the topic of someone called Lindsay's new boyfriend. "He's that ugly ginger guy, is he not?" guessed one of the boys, correctly as it turned out. All were agreed that the lad was "well ginger", a "minger" in fact.

O'Neill's article was about race. As far as I recall he was arguing that the issue, in the West, is now one of etiquette: the liberal establishment is more bothered about getting everyone to use the correct race language than striving towards anything as tricky as actual equality. It was a view I had some truck with, but, in that moment, as a red-haired person on that train, another line of thought occurred to me. Gingers, I reflected, have never been seen as less than human; we have never been enslaved, rounded up and massacred or even denied our basic legal rights. There's no real question of inequality. And yet, and yet ... maybe we could be doing with more of a look-in when it comes to this business of etiquette.


The Equality and Human Rights Commission - formerly the Commission for Racial Equality - does not monitor discrimination against redheads and has nothing to say on "gingerism". In any discussion of how the phenomenon compares to racism, it will be pointed out firstly that red hair comes from mutations of a particular gene, the melanocortin 1 receptor, and isn't necessarily directly inherited from parents; and secondly that redheads have not suffered centuries of systematic abuse. Yet if we accept that black people can be racist towards whites, or that whites of one nation can be accused of being racist towards whites of another, then definitions of racism become less watertight.

Read more

Monday 26 January 2009

Are red heads aliens?

An article about human hair questions whether red heads are even human at all.
There’s a conspiracy theory that redheads are alien-human hybrids. Think about it: Why did several kings and queens of Europe have red hair even though, percentage-wise, redheads are fairly rare? Why do so many Southies have red hair and speak a different language than other Boston locals?

It sounds crazy, but carrot tops do have biological differences other than appearance. Redheaded women bleed longer, which is why doctors make special preparations for them in childbirth. They also have the smallest hair count on their heads, about 90,000 as opposed to 140,000 on people with blond and brown hair. That’s why Kick a Ginger Day began, just to keep these possible aliens on their toes.
Read the full article (the above item is point 4).

Root Ginger Exhibition Interview

Jenny Wicks, the photographer for the Root Ginger Exhibition has elaborated on her event in an interview with Susannah Worth of SpoonFed.

SW: Your previous work has addressed minority groups and sub sets. Can you tell me a bit more about that work and how it fed into Root Ginger?

JW: Photography is a great way to draw attention to groups of people we might see everyday but don't really think about. We all see thousands of images every week – celebs and models. I'm not interested in that, I'm much more drawn to everyday people that are genuinely remarkable but ignored.

SW: Can you describe the research that was undertaken as part of the project (to be presented in the book)?

JW: Myself and Hugh Kippen (a biologist and researcher) did the research. There are a couple of books that were published a while ago and a few interest groups on the net but for something that is so common and related to so many big issues it seems strange there is not more literature out there. It was about pulling together lots of different strands. Red hair can tell us about how humans developed and became hairless, about human migrations, how we survived the ice age, mechanisms of sexual attraction, skin cancer, prehistoric diets, social prejudices – loads of stuff.

Read the full interview

Exhibition Dates: To learn more about the exhibition including times and venue information, please see our Root Ginger: A Study of Red Hair post.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Jeremy Clarkson abuses ginger man in audience

Jeremy Clarkson asks the question "Why do ginger people always grow more of it on their faces?". This is from series 12, episode 3 of Top Gear.

Lost's Sawyer: Shut It Ginger

In this clip from episode 1 of season 5 of Lost, Sawyer says to Charlotte "Shut it ginger, or you're gettin' one too", during an altercation with Daniel Faraday.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Root Ginger: A Study of Red Hair Exhibition

Jenny Wicks has produced an exhibition on red hair, a photographic tribute to a genetic trait that is frequently talked about. The exhibition was inspired by family members, some of whom are red heads.

The exhibition also aims to explore the social aspect of having red hair, or more importantly how society treats minority groups.

Root Ginger: A Study of Red Hair by Jenny Wicks, will be exhibited at Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London E2, 17 February - 1 March 2009.

You can find out more about Jenny Wicks at her official website: Jenny Wicks Photography.

Note: I'll be going to this exhibition. Not sure what date yet. I will update the gingerism twitter account when I know more.

Update: The book accompanying the exhibition can be found on Amazon: Root Ginger Book.

Gingerism; the last acceptable prejudice?

Simon Hattenstone, the father of one red headed child elaborates on his misinformed prejudice against his own daughter, whilst asking the question "Why do so many seemingly decent people - the type who would hate to be considered prejudiced - think gingerism is perfectly acceptable?"
In my time I have been a revolting gingist. My daughter Alix was born 17 years ago with a fine carrot topping. Over time, she developed into a fully-fledged ginger. Ginger is one of the first words she learned. Why? Because I called her my little ginge, my ginger darling - on a good day.

At other times, I went the ginger with two hard Gs route. What made me think I had the right? Because I was her father, because I thought I was being funny, because I loved her? Whatever, there was no excuse. When we met other gingers, I'd smugly announce, "Look, one of yours!" and expect the both of them to crack up at my sparkling wit. Thoughtless bastard.

Worst of all, I travelled the road euphemistic. Despite my "banter", I told Alix her hair was copper, Titian, russet - anything but ginger.
Read more at The Guardian

Friday 23 January 2009

This one made me laugh

A reader of spotted this comment on ITV's teletext and emailed it in to us. (Click on the image to enlarge it).

The text reads: "It's a well-known fact that if you're ginger you live longer. Something to do with tomatoes - Cha, Condorrat".

Thanks to Gingerism reader Andy Old for emailing in this photo.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Kiss a Ginger Day receives global coverage

Kiss a Ginger Day is celebrated on 12th January.


Derek Forgie, talent co-ordinator for MTV Canada and a natural redhead, recently created Kiss A Ginger Day on Facebook, which was celebrated on Jan. 12.

Forgie said he started it as a "karmic counter-event" to Kick a Ginger Day, which made national headlines last November after redheaded kids were bullied for their hair colour.

That event was also started on Facebook, by a Vancouver Island teenager. Kick a Ginger Day was based on a Southpark episode and quickly spread across the country. In Prince George, B.C., one boy was sent home from school with bruises after being kicked at least 18 times.

People of all nationalities and hair colours reacted to the event, described as an example of "gingerism" -- the discrimination against redheads, or "gingers."

Read more

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Celtic coach hair colour insult before attack

From The Independent:
Two men were jailed today for a "vicious, brutal and cowardly" attack on former Celtic captain Neil Lennon.
Bar worker Liam Cameron, 24, told the court that the men apparently mocked Lennon about his side's defeat that day to Old Firm rivals Rangers and insulted his hair colour.

The men called Mr Lennon a "ginger cunt", Mr Cameron added

He said Lennon raised his middle finger to the two men before fighting erupted.

Read more here and here

Red head Dakota Blue Richards tells of school bullying

From The Argus:

A Hollywood starlet has revealed how she suffered torment at the hands of school bullies because of her ginger hair.

Brighton-based teenager Dakota Blue Richards attended St Paul's School in Brighton, Blatchington Mill School in Hove and KBis Theatre School in Brighton.

She said fellow students picked on her after she dyed her hair red for her role in box office blockbuster The Golden Compass.

Read More

Simply Red's Mick Hucknall elaborates on his self image

From The Guardian:
Both my mum and dad had red hair. I had a problem with being a redhead at school but, since my success, I have become proud of it. In teenage years, if you look unusual, you can feel insecure.
Read More

'Ginger' considered less offensive than 'Paki'

From The Daily Mail:
Paki does not equate with calling someone ginger; only if people with ginger hair have been attacked in race riots, barred from renting property, beaten up in school and not given jobs because of the colour of their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, would it somehow be on a par.
Read More

Note: Ginger kids were beaten up as recently as last year due to the high-profile Kick a Ginger campaign promoted on FaceBook.

Being called names such as "ranga" could be good for young people

From The Daily Telegraph:
IF your child is being teased in the playground - don't worry, it's good for building character.

New research has found playful teasing, and being called names such as "ranga", could be good for young people because it helps them bond and develop social skills.

It may even make "victims" more likely to take on leadership roles in the long term. Dr Erin Heerey, of the University of Bangor in North Wales, studied a group of university students in California and found that their "playful humiliations" led to them becoming better friends.
Read more

Jamie Oliver's ginger beard banned from kitchen

From The Sun:
Last night the telly star showed just how much he's grown, sporting a full-on, scruffy beard.

And instead of his blond locks, his hair looked rather ginger.

Writing a news article dedicated to the colour of Jamie Oliver's beard is strange but it's hardly an example of gingerism. However, the tone continues to hint in that direction with the final comment.
Let's hope he has a quick shave next time he is let loose in the kitchen.
Read More

Sunday 18 January 2009

Red hair bullying cases could end up in court

From The Register:
"In the UK, anti-discrimination legislation prohibits only less favourable treatment on certain grounds – currently sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and, in employment, age," said Barker. "Less favourable treatment on the grounds of hair colour or appearance, except where it is linked to race, isn't specifically prohibited and name calling of someone with red hair won't amount to unlawful discrimination."

"It could however amount to bullying," she said. "In the workplace, if an employee feels that they are being bullied or harassed for any reason, for example because of their hair colour or appearance, they could lodge a grievance and ultimately could even take the fairly drastic step of resigning and claim constructive dismissal if they could show that their employer failed to intervene to prevent the bullying or harassment concerned."

The practice of picking on people with red hair is thought to be a particularly British trait. Though it can sound trivial to others, years of abuse at school and then also at work can leave the bullied person feeling extremely distressed.
Read More

South Park: Ginger Kids

This is one of the more popular clips from the South Park episode entitled 'Ginger Kids'. Although from the outset it may be considered offensive by some, the episode is more involving in raising awareness of gingerism than actually condoning it.

You can find the episode including small clips like this one on Hulu (the full episode is US-only unfortunately).

Man stabbed over 'ginger hair'

This is the first known case of gingerism resulting in the stabbing of a person.

From BBC News:
A 20-year-old man has been stabbed in the back after an argument over his ginger hair.

The victim was stabbed three times following the altercation at Kirkby's Wine Bar in Baildon, West Yorkshire, on Sunday night.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "There was a minor altercation earlier in the evening in the wine bar when comments were made about his ginger hair.

Read more

Red-haired family forced to move

This article details the abuse received by a red headed family from Newcastle. The family were forced to move house three times because of the persistent red head bullying they received.

From BBC News:
A Newcastle family claim they have been forced from two homes by thugs who have targeted them over their ginger hair.

Kevin and Barbara Chapman say they and their four children, aged between 10 and 13, have endured years of taunts, smashed windows and violence.
Read more

Is gingerism as bad as racism?

This article signifies a turning point in national recognition of gingerism as a prejudice.

The article was prompted by the alleged abuse of a red headed family from Newcastle, England, which resulted in them having to move house.

From BBC News:
Here's a joke. "What's the difference between a terrorist and a redhead?"

Here's the punchline. "You can negotiate with a terrorist."

Is this offensive? If it was made in your workplace, within hearing of a redheaded colleague, would you make a fuss? Probably not.

But mock someone's ethnicity, religion or sexuality and you will attract the beady eye of management. Make a sexist joke and prepare to be dismissed as an antediluvian relic.
Read more

Friday 16 January 2009

BBC Breakfast interview with 'Ginger' photojournalist Charlotte Rushton following Newcastle redhead bullying scandal

'Ginger' photojournalist Charlotte Rushton is interviewed by BBC Breakfast shortly after the Newcastle redhead bullying scandal of 2007.

Excellent overview of global redhead prejudice

From Sydney Morning Herald:

"Some months ago the sports pages and in fact all media reported on the incident of Andrew Symonds being called a 'monkey' by an opposing player," Leseley began. "Today, Kerry O'Keefe saw fit to call all redheads 'rangas' (orang-utans)." Why was one ape-ish label OK, and the other not, she asked, and ended with a plea. "I need to know that somewhere, someone may hear and agree."

I hear you, Leseley Willmott. I, too, am borderline ginger, and was quite dangerously so as a child. Ours is an affliction many with high levels of the pigment pheomelanin have endured throughout history. There is some evidence that the ancient Egyptians buried us alive. The ancient Greeks thought our humours - phlegm, yellow bile, black bile and blood - unbalanced.

In Britain, where the persecution of such people is virtually a national pastime, the BBC reported in 2003 that a 20-year-old man had been stabbed three times in the back outside a wine bar in West Yorkshire after comments were made about his ginger hair.

As recently as last year, the Beeb reported that a family had been forced to move home twice because of their children's orangeness.

Read more

Tuesday 13 January 2009 is now on FaceBook

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Monday 12 January 2009

Being fat, having bad fashion sense and being ginger shown equal disdain

In a review of Hustle by Times Online's Tim Teeman:
Naturally, Hustle didn’t want us to interrogate the murky morality of one act of financial impropriety trumping another, so Mickey instead first tricked a fat (they’re always fat), striped-shirt wearing (they’re always wearing striped shirts) banker eating lunch beside the Thames. Now, you might have thought watching this little scene of manufactured chaos that the fat, striped shirt wearing (did I mention he was ginger as well?) banker might have noticed something awry, but no, he was a predictable pawn.
Read the review

Jeremy Clarkson strikes again

From Business Daily Africa:
As you may know, I’m not well disposed to the idea of governments banning things, except for beards and ginger hair and butter beans and Scotsmen sitting in Westminster and caravans and any talk of global warming by people who don’t know what they’re on about and the Toyota Prius and books with no plot and costume dramas on ITV and anything with Jade Goody in it and Ken bloody Livingstone, but the only thing that stops me from banning the Fiat Panda from the outside lane of a motorway is that May would become even later for his call times on Top Gear.
Read more

Sunday 11 January 2009

Prince Harry asked if his pubic hair is ginger

A video has been released by The News of the World containing racially sensitive comments by Prince Harry. In the video, Harry refers to an Asian squaddie as "our little Paki friend", whilst saying of another colleague "Fuck me, you look like a raghead".

Later in the video Harry is asked "Are your pubes ginger too?", to which he replies "Yes, they are".

Further investigation concludes it's likely all comments were light hearted and in no way meant to harm. However, response to this article has people questioning why the perceived prejudice against one group of people has more weight from that of another.
I do spot some hypocrisy here - at the end of the video a joke is made about Harry having ginger pubes. If it weren't for the overly PC 'anti-racist' nature of our country today both comments would carry equal weight and it wouldn't be an issue.
Loved the pubes comment. That could be seen as racist towards ginger people by the way, but no one seems to care about that...
I wonder how many people take the mickey outta him cause he's ginger .. same difference isn't it.
It's an interesting topic, especially when our "Is gingerism as bad as racism" poll currently shows most people think gingerism is as bad as racism.

You can find the original article with Prince Harry's video on The News of the World's website.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Are you offending red heads without even knowing it? exists to raise awareness of red head prejudice. It's a problem red haired people suffer on a near-daily basis (and definite-daily if you're still at high school). It's easy to find examples of red head prejudice (commonly referred to as gingerism) within mainstream society and the media. What's more difficult, however, is educating non-red heads of their own use of gingerism.

When the Royal Navy commissioned a recruitment advertisement focusing on the job of a weapons engineering technician, I'm certain they had no intention of insulting red headed people. The reality is somewhat different. See if you can spot it.

Did you hear it? If you're a British red head you probably did and you're likely to have made a mental note of it. Non-red heads will probably miss it, or hear the comment and dismiss it as a friendly greeting. Still don't hear it? The Engineering Technician asks "Keeping busy, ginge?" to his red headed colleague.

"Ginge", - or to give its complete form - "ginger" is commonly used as an informal greeting to a red headed friend. It is also the most likely word in any verbal attack. On an insult scale of 1 - 10 it's around a 6 or 7, with ranga, fanta-pants and the god-awful ginga (pronounced with an almost silent second g) occupying the top spots.

The problem is, non-red heads don't seem to realise that calling someone ginge or ginger is actually very insulting. When you call someone ginger, even if it's entirely innocently, they will be reminded of the thousands of times in the past that the word has been used as a jibe.

An individual's use of the word ginger may be innocent, but the connotations tacked onto it by modern society are not. When Tim Minchin recounts ex-girlfriends asking him "can they call me ginge?" in his brilliant song Taboo, he replies in a fast paced, nip-that-one-in-the-bud tone "And I say I don't think that's appropriate!"

Or to hammer in the point more strongly, when my Grandmother's 90 year old friend stated "I don't mind the niggers" she wasn't trying to be offensive, not in the slightest. is now on LiveJournal

You can now receive up to the minute gingerism related news by becoming our friend at the LiveJournal page.

Fanta pants added to the Macquarie Dictionary

This is a follow up to our previous article "Fanta pants" in the running for Macquarie Dictionary's 2008 word of the year.

It seems the use of the phrase "Fanta pants" reached an all time high in 2008, enough for it to be added to the Macquarie online dictionary. The popularity of the "crude nickname for redheads" is part of an overall global rise in prejudice against ginger haired people.

Macquarie is still accepting votes for the 2008 word of the year. You can find Fanta pants in the Colloquial section.
// (say 'fantuh pants)
noun Originally British Colloquial a person whose hair is naturally red. [from the orange-coloured soft drink Fanta + pants, with reference to pubic hair as the indicator of hair colour]

Saturday 3 January 2009

Recognition of gingerism within bizarre breast feeding article

From College on The Record:
In this day and age, it’s hard enough to be a little ginger boy, especially a ginger boy with glasses. Now, throw breastfeeding until he’s nine into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a nice foundation for a serial killer.
Read more

Friday 2 January 2009 is now on Twitter

You can now receive up to the minute gingerism related news alerts by following our dedicated Twitter feed.

Prince Harry is bullied for being ginger

Prince Harry has told a junior councillor he is bullied for being ginger, according to another article from The Sun.

The Prince was talking to Maxine Broadfoot, who had won the Diana Award for "counselling fellow pupils and helping children who had been bullied".

When he realised her interest in councilling, the Prince "asked if he could come and get some counselling because he gets bullied for being ginger."

Originally reported in The Sun

Thursday 1 January 2009

Jordan apparantely shocked her newborn has red hair

British model Jordan (otherwise known as Katie Price) was shocked to discover her new born baby girl is ginger. At least, this is what The Sun says. The anti-ginger tone of the article continues with the following quotes from Jordan:
"She looks really different from both the other kids - she's got fair, gingery hair and really blue eyes.

"The health visitor said she would put money on them not changing colour.
Read More