I had never heard of discrimination and bullying of people with red hair until I read a piece by Dorothy Dalton, entitled “Do redheads need to be a protected minority?”
She herself has red hair, called “gingerism,” and says that even she was “surprised to learn that there is a growing move for redheads to become a ‘protected minority’ as a result of the increased incidence of bullying and discrimination. This is not only in schools where only the quickest search will reveal horrendous incidents reported, but also a comparable growth in workplace bullying, ranging from corporate settings to the NYPD. I also found a plethora of web sites set up exclusively to report such incidents and to offer support to this minority.”
I checked out the web site which she mentions, and indeed there is a banner headline above one post which reads “Bullied For Red Hair 30 Years On,” and an interactive survey which poses the question which is the title of our blog post today.
Ms. Dalton, a talent management strategist, who is “splitting her time between Brussels, Spain and the UK,” writes that “As with any minority, throughout history reactions have varied from admiration, suspicion to ridicule. Redheads were burnt at the stake in medieval England as witches. Aristotle was said to have called them ‘emotionally un-house broken’ although that has never been substantiated. Across the globe, proverbs and warnings are centred around the negative aspects of unfortunate encounters with persons of red hair colouring.”
She concludes: “But why in this day and age this sort of prejudice exists is a mystery. One explanation offered by a social historian contact, is that with all other sorts of blatant discrimination now outlawed or considered politically incorrect, (colour, gender, physiology, sexual, nationality) the bullies amongst us have been left with few targets for their vicious invective. Are redheads therefore becoming one of the last unprotected minorities. … It is almost impossible to believe that the U.S. has a “Kick a Ginger Day” a follow-up from the T.V. show South Park.”
It is never too late to learn sensitivity and empathy, and to view the world through the eyes and experiences of others.
Anyone care to comment?