Wednesday 28 January 2009

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.

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Unknown said...

It's unfortunate that anyone would be so dim-witted as to consider racism to be something based on past circumstances, rather than present ones; psychologists have volumes drawn up on such addictions to the past, and inability to live in the present.
If a person is faulted on their color today, THAT'S RACISM. It's not a question of how severe it was in comparison; if a person breaks a window, a policeman doesn't ignore the matter because someone else blew up a building 100 years ago, and say "it's not as bad; it's not like anyone blew up the building."
However this is the logic that the hypocrites are lambasting us with, when it's an issue of PRINCIPLE regarding discrimination on the basis of color.
Simply put, we're told that it's absolutely wrong to say a WORD about if someone's black, Jewish, etc, but if someone has (red hair or associated skin-color) then it's perfectly acceptable to engage in vicious hate-speech and defamation on that basis alone.

Clearly this is a complete double-standard of hypocrisy, which concludes an arbitrary political barrier based on popularity and protection of a certain group, while grasping at straws to rationalize it, saying "it's not as bad because blacks had blah-blah-blah" as if rights come from having so many "victimization-points" in your "account."

Sorry, doesn't work that way-- rights come from fundamental equality, and so everyone has the same right to equal respect TODAY, not 400 years ago.

And any red-haired person who defends defamation of people of his own color, is an "Uncle Tom."

Anonymous said...

I think it's ridiculous that the fact that there has not been a history of abuse means that it isn't as bad. Do we consider that racism towards black people was not really that bad when it all started because there had not been a history of it? The same for the abuse of jews, was that all good until it had been going for a few more years?

Tom said...

Gingers have been sacrificed in history, let us not forget that. To the Spanish Inquisition red hair was PROOF that one had stolen the fire of hell, there is plenty of historical discrimination for it if one bothers to look into history. If we didnt learn the history of the slave trade would it be ok to be racist?