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Is gingerism a form of racism?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
This was recently a debate on a popular UK broadsheet's website recently. It's not a new debate, but it is certainly one that divides people.

Do you believe that Gingerism, prejudice against red-headed people, is a form of racism? Is it better coined 'discrimination'? What is it that could make it constitute racism? What features exclude it from the definition of racism? Is this a serious problem or simply a over-reaction?
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As a ginger I wouldn't call it 'racism' but it is still discriminating a person over colour. There should be a collective term for discriminating people over their looks. I don't really get any abuse these days, but I got a lot at senior school. People I didn't know would shout some really horrible stuff down the corridors and I can remember thinking - if it was anything else, race, disability or whatever there would be an uproar. But people seem to turn a blind eye to abuse against redheads. I never really found it upsetting - more annoying that people felt the need to shout 'ginger' to me, um yeah thanks for stating the obvious...and your point is...?
    What annoys me now is the constant throw away 'jokes'. Just the other day someone said to me if they had a ginger kid it would be drowned at birth. Now while I know it isn't serious I still find ginger jokes as inappropriate as any other kind of joke about something people have no control over. You wouldn't say you'd drown a disabled baby to a disabled person, or that you'd drown a baby because of it's ethnicity - people would be unlikely to find it funny, even if it is dressed up as a joke. But for some reason it's ok to do that in our culture and it's not. Go anywhere else and the thing against gingers is unheard of. The whole thing is petty, though I think a lot of it is that bullies hone in on the most obvious or only thing they can pick up on and for redheads that's their hair. But if we didn't have this deep-set notion that it's ok to pick on redheads then it wouldn't happen. I just don't get the whole thing. I made a post a few years ago that was quite popular and that was that strawberry blonde has just become a kind word for ginger because cunts have turned that word into something that's meant to be an insult, and it's true. Personally though, I love my hair and I'll never dye it another colour except red, it's other peoples issue not mine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No, 'gingerism' is not any kind of 'racism'. What an utterly stupid thing to suggest. Yes some people "have it in" for people with ginger hair and whereas I am not justifying that, I have it in for thick, stupid drivers. Is that a form of racism too?

    The world isn't perfect - there will always be a section of society that certain people will see as being very low on the pecking order. No I do not agree with it and neither would I say we ought to just accept it. But to call every situation where someone is judged on how they look or what they do as 'racism' is severely overdoing the 'trendy leftie' bit and would mean an awful lot of new and pointless '-ist' words would have to be invented.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    double post
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    No, 'gingerism' is not any kind of 'racism'. What an utterly stupid thing to suggest. Yes some people "have it in" for people with ginger hair and whereas I am not justifying that, I have it in for thick, stupid drivers. Is that a form of racism too?

    The world isn't perfect - there will always be a section of society that certain people will see as being very low on the pecking order. No I do not agree with it and neither would I say we ought to just accept it. But to call every situation where someone is judged on how they look or what they do as 'racism' is severely overdoing the 'trendy leftie' bit and would mean an awful lot of new and pointless '-ist' words would have to be invented.

    Giving someone abuse for stupid actions and giving someone abuse for their looks are not comparable. Sorry.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    Giving someone abuse for stupid actions and giving someone abuse for their looks are not comparable. Sorry.

    True I guess. Looks can be changed but sadly stupidity often lasts a lifetime.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    True I guess. Look can be changed but sadly stupidity often lasts a lifetime.

    People shouldn't have to change their looks because of other peoples issues. The argument that ginger people can dye their hair so it isn't comparable to racism is silly. Yes I know people can't dye their skin, and in general I don't think ginger people get as much abuse. But why should we have to change for other people? What I don't understand is that red hair is a very british/irish thing yet we seem to hate it. It's a rare and beautiful colour and we should be proud to have such diversity in our genetic make up. You see people from the far east where pretty much everyone has dark hair and eyes dying their hair red and blonde and wearing coloured contacts because they think it's beautiful and I'm guessing are bored of looking the same as everyone else. Yet we take it for granted and pick on people for looking 'different'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    People shouldn't have to change their looks because of other peoples issues. The argument that ginger people can dye their hair so it isn't comparable to racism is silly. Yes I know people can't dye their skin, and in general I don't think ginger people get as much abuse. But why should we have to change for other people? What I don't understand is that red hair is a very british/irish thing yet we seem to hate it. It's a rare and beautiful colour and we should be proud to have such diversity in our genetic make up. You see people from the far east where pretty much everyone has dark hair and eyes dying their hair red and blonde and wearing coloured contacts because they think it's beautiful and I'm guessing are bored of looking the same as everyone else. Yet we take it for granted and pick on people for looking 'different'

    I get everything you say, honestly I do. But are we seriously going to try to legislate for every form of looks-based discrimination and give it a trendy name? What's next, big-nose-ism?

    Human do judge on looks - that's a basic fact and in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It's what we do with the impression the looks give us is where the problems start.

    No we should not be telling people 'gingerism' is a bad thing. What we ought to be telling people is any sort of abuse, violence or direct discrimination is dogshit, full stop. Regardless of skin/hair colour, height, weight, age, home-town, family etc etc
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    I get everything you say, honestly I do. But are we seriously going to try to legislate for every form of looks-based discrimination and give it a trendy name? What's next, big-nose-ism?

    Human do judge on looks - that's a basic fact and in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It's what we do with the impression the looks give us is where the problems start.

    No we should not be telling people 'gingerism' is a bad thing. What we ought to be telling people is any sort of abuse, violence or direct discrimination is dogshit, full stop. Regardless of skin/hair colour, height, weight, age, home-town, family etc etc
    Oh I know that, I'm getting at this weird cultural thing that we have against red hair in particular.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No it isn't racism because as someone pointed out before, it isn't a race.

    It's stupid and petty to abuse someone over their hair colour. Whenever I hear it happening currently it always seems to be a really poor attempt at irony or being tongue in cheek. But it always just ends up making the person look unoriginal, stuck in the past and a bit sad.

    Would be interested in the history behind 'gingerism' though. Where did it stem from? I always assumed it was some superstitious link between red hair and the devil.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No it isn't racism because as someone pointed out before, it isn't a race.

    It's stupid and petty to abuse someone over their hair colour. Whenever I hear it happening currently it always seems to be a really poor attempt at irony or being tongue in cheek. But it always just ends up making the person look unoriginal, stuck in the past and a bit sad.

    Would be interested in the history behind 'gingerism' though. Where did it stem from? I always assumed it was some superstitious link between red hair and the devil.

    I believe back in the day red hair was a trait of a witch. Along with green eyes and left handedness (I have all 3 so I'd have been screwed). And it was also thought that a ginger child was conceived during a womans period which was a 'forbidden' time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    See that's just ridiculous. It's weird that such an old, archaic belief has stuck. Even if it mostly takes the form of playground bullying.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    As a ginger I wouldn't call it 'racism' but it is still discriminating a person over colour. There should be a collective term for discriminating people over their looks. I don't really get any abuse these days, but I got a lot at senior school. People I didn't know would shout some really horrible stuff down the corridors and I can remember thinking - if it was anything else, race, disability or whatever there would be an uproar. But people seem to turn a blind eye to abuse against redheads. I never really found it upsetting - more annoying that people felt the need to shout 'ginger' to me, um yeah thanks for stating the obvious...and your point is...?
    .

    I bet you have the last laugh though, cos whilst no-one likes a gingar when they're eleven once they hit eighteen redheads are foxy :love: Karen Gillan, Alyson Hannigan

    That said at school virtually everyone bullies everyone else, if you didn;t have red-hair, you had specs or were spotty or too fat or too thin, thick or too clever, too gobby, too quiet, parents divorced, parent a teacher, etc (in my case because I have a ski-jump nose)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    It's stupid and petty to abuse someone over their hair colour.

    This is the attitude that (inadvertently) pisses me off. Like there's a scenario where abusing somebody is somehow acceptable?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I bet you have the last laugh though, cos whilst no-one likes a gingar when they're eleven once they hit eighteen redheads are foxy :love: Karen Gillan, Alyson Hannigan

    That said at school virtually everyone bullies everyone else, if you didn;t have red-hair, you had specs or were spotty or too fat or too thin, thick or too clever, too gobby, too quiet, parents divorced, parent a teacher, etc (in my case because I have a ski-jump nose)

    Oh I did get the last laugh. The abuse I got is now attention and then some. Just saturday night I was approached by 5 guy's in about 2 hours and I was just sat at a bar with a friend and always got complimented on my hair. And I think I also said that - bullies pick on the obvious. And red hair is obvious. Not that it's ok to pick on people for anything. Also red hair goes grey the slowest so while they're all reaching for the hair dye in the next 20 years I'll be fine :P
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Most abuse ginger people face is fairly tongue in cheek with no real malice behind it. And even though it might get tiresome, it's not genuinely affecting things like your career prospects in the same way that racism can. Racist people genuinely don't like people of another race or social group. Someone bullying someone with ginger hair probably doesn't hate all ginger people, they're just using it as something to abuse you for. A study showed that people with an African or Asian-sounding name would get just over half as many responses to job applications than an English name of identical qualifications and background. I highly doubt that ginger people are suffering similar discrimination.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    This is the attitude that (inadvertently) pisses me off. Like there's a scenario where abusing somebody is somehow acceptable?

    I think you're being a bit pedantic here. Where did I actually say it's okay to abuse someone?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you're being a bit pedantic here. Where did I actually say it's okay to abuse someone?

    You didn't. But I don't see why you added that the person's hair colour was the reason that abusing them was petty and stupid.

    I'd rather think that abusing someone for any reason was petty and stupid.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    CM Punk wrote: »
    You didn't. But I don't see why you added that the person's hair colour was the reason that abusing them was petty and stupid.

    I'd rather think that abusing someone for any reason was petty and stupid.
    I think everyone agrees that. But we are talking about abuse against gingers in particular
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    grace wrote: »
    because gingers aren't a race

    as much as gingers aren't a race as such its still an ethnic trait so it wouldn't be too hard to cry racism but really, schoolground bullying of people with red hair is just another way for unusual traits to be picked out and used to abuse and upset. it could be a manner of speech, personal eccentricity, weight or body shape instead. if you shy away from confrontation anything along those lines could make you a target. the wider social mockery though, lighthearted as it generally is, always struck me as bizarre...

    I grew up right next to the Antonine Wall so not unsurprisingly have the ginger gene myself, comes out pretty strong after a few days without shaving and I don't shave too often. representing the ginger man by choice :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Spliffie wrote: »
    as much as gingers aren't a race as such its still an ethnic trait so it wouldn't be too hard to cry racism but really

    So having a go at someone for having a big nose is equally 'close' to being racism too? After all, traditionally Romans had big noses.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    who are you calling big nose? big nose
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Say that once more, I'll smash your bloody face in.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,213 Skive's The Limit
    CM Punk wrote: »
    No, 'gingerism' is not any kind of 'racism'. What an utterly stupid thing to suggest. Yes some people "have it in" for people with ginger hair and whereas I am not justifying that, I have it in for thick, stupid drivers. Is that a form of racism too?

    Why is your comparison to something negative? Is being ginger a negative thing? And why would they want to change the way they look?

    I used to have a bit of red in my blonde hair when I was younger but it had gone dark by the time I was 18, save for a bit in my beard if I don't shave for a while. I got stick when I was younger for being ginger and it didn't feel very light hearted to me. Saying that I soon learned to laugh with it when it was my mates giving me stick, and those that weren't my mates soon leaned calling me names wasn't a good idea.

    The not many groups of people it's still socially acceptable to discriminates against, gingers and gypsies still seen to be fair game though.
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    Why is your comparison to something negative? Is being ginger a negative thing? And why would they want to change the way they look?

    I used to have a bit of red in my blonde hair when I was younger but it had gone dark by the time I was 18, save for a bit in my beard if I don't shave for a while. I got stick when I was younger for being ginger and it didn't feel very light hearted to me. Saying that I soon learned to laugh with it when it was my mates giving me stick, and those that weren't my mates soon leaned calling me names wasn't a good idea.

    The not many groups of people it's still socially acceptable to discriminates against, gingers and gypsies still seen to be fair game though.

    You're missing the point in what I'm saying. To a certain extent I've hijacked this thread using a particularly strong view I have about something although the link is not entirely tenuous. (incidentally I wasn't suggesting ginger people ought to change their looks - if you read that comment in context I hope you can see the irony I was using to respond to another post)

    Yes I find some ginger people unattractive. I find some blonde people unattractive. I find some short people unattractive. I find some West Indian people unattractive. 99% of the time I find myself unattractive. Do I have a choice in what I find attractive/unattractive? F*** no. In the same way a gay man does not have a choice in whether he finds men (in general) attractive.

    There is NOTHING wrong in considering someone unattractive/ugly/any sort of negative based on their looks. Yeah I said it and I'll say it again. There is NOTHING wrong in considering someone unattractive/ugly/any sort of negative based on their looks.

    We should not be made to feel compelled to like someone because it's "trendy" or because society says we should.

    However where the problem lies is when a person's dislike for the above affects their attitude and judgement towards the individual. That IMO is where the problems are and should be challenged.

    So bringing this back around to attitudes towards people with ginger hair. Do blondes not also have a traditionally-dim stereotype? Where are the calls for action against 'blondism'? In the world of media advertising it is generally considered the kiss of death to use Birmingham accents for anything other than a gormless person. No calls against "Brummie-ism" then.

    Or does a cause only reach the dizzy heights of gaining an "-ism" if their negative treatment goes higher than "being shouted at in the street"?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Does something being an 'ism' make it different from something that's not an ism? I think having a clear lexicon to discuss these issues is incredibly useful whether you are right or left leaning.

    I think racism is an interesting one too. I would say gingerism is not the same kind of prejudice as racism. Gingerism, like prejudice against short people or overweight people is at its roots bullying. It operates within a society to attack those who are not fitting the 'ideal'. It's an introspective prejudice in a way "you are the worst in our team".

    Racism is distinct in that it's derived from tribalism, in that the people who are being attacked are not seen as part of the 'tribe identity' due to racial, cultural or religious reasons. This can persist even when the races are identical - people just find finer and finer 'lines' to draw to distinguish their 'tribe' from the other 'tribe'. You aren't saying "you as an individual are a bad example" but instead "you are a member of an inferior group".

    Gypsies do have their own identity and so that is out and out racism. However redheads are just part and parcel of society, it's not like there's a history of redheads, or a culture or anything. It's no different from eye colour.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Minchin ftw

    Also, I agree with ShyBoy. There is a prejudice, and it's culturally instilled, but it's not the same as racism. If harassment is happening, and causing problems, though, then that's got to be taken seriously.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Does something being an 'ism' make it different from something that's not an ism?

    In terms of society's attitude, it seems that way. Giving it an 'ism' appears to give it a massive sympathy boost whether warranted or not.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Gingerism is just like not liking people who wear glasses. I dont like anti ginger sentiments. I dont think its funny, but its not racism. There is nothing inherently anti ginger in the system. Ginger people dont have less opportunities. Its just a hair colour that a few idiots have latched onto as a jokey thing. Its bullying, but its not racism.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Gingerism is just like not liking people who wear glasses. I dont like anti ginger sentiments. I dont think its funny, but its not racism. There is nothing inherently anti ginger in the system. Ginger people dont have less opportunities. Its just a hair colour that a few idiots have latched onto as a jokey thing. Its bullying, but its not racism.

    This x1000.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    Minchin ftw

    Also, I agree with ShyBoy. There is a prejudice, and it's culturally instilled, but it's not the same as racism. If harassment is happening, and causing problems, though, then that's got to be taken seriously.

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