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.