Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Spekio » 2013-08-12 05:27pm

Grandmaster Jogurt wrote: Yes.

Or, to be more accurate, it's problematic, harmful, and ableist. But "offensive" is the usual term people use for language of that sort.
I don't disagree with that, what I'm asking is that since the majority does not agree, if by his definition it is considered offensive. I've seen the term being used today on this very board and not being frowned up, while you don't see people saying something is "nigger-ish".

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Grandmaster Jogurt » 2013-08-12 06:10pm

Well, considering the severity of that term, I would hope no one would use it in a direct comparison, but it's done, obviously, as evidenced by this thread.

I don't think you can ever consider majority vote to be the benchmark for a word being "offensive" in a harmful manner. For example, the n word was used commonly by the white majority of the US for a while, but it didn't just become offensive at some point in the 20th century.

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Broomstick » 2013-08-12 06:28pm

Speaking as someone who was red-haired in my youth (not vividly so, but definitely carrying red hair in my genes) I never heard of referring to red-haired people as "ginger" until the past 10 years or so, and that solely in UK imports. While the bullies used a lot of terms against me in childhood, "ginger" was never one of them and I don't ever recall mocking of my hair color. It just doesn't carry the same cultural freight on this side of the pond.

That said, what I determined from exposure to UK culture indicated it was considered an insult in the UK and I resolved not to use the term in reference to others, particularly British folks. I don't really get why being redheaded in the British Isles, the one area that if I recall correctly has the highest percentage of them in the population, is regarded so negatively but even to a Yank sitting here a continent away it's obvious it is, no matter what others might claim.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Vendetta » 2013-08-12 07:00pm

The concept that Ginger is some kind of serious racial slur is, quite possibly, the silliest thing I have heard today.

I mean that's something you'd expect an episode of Brass Eye to be about....

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Dominus Atheos » 2013-08-12 07:33pm

Really? My mistake then. I forget where I heard that from first, but some quick googleing reveals I'm not the only person who thinks that. It looks like I was wrong about it being anti-Irish specifically, but I'll post the full article since it covers the UK connotations quite nicely.

The Beeb
6 June 2007

A red-haired family claims to have been driven from their Newcastle home because of abuse. Why is the harassment of redheads dismissed as just harmless fun?

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.

Verbal abuse

Carrot-top, copper-top, ginger-nut, ginger minger, bluey (among Australians), Duracell, Ronald McDonald, Simply Red, Queen Elizabeth. And so on for hours and hours of the typical redhead's life. No wonder some gloss over their hair colour as "auburn" and "strawberry blonde" and even "titian".

Photographer Charlotte Rushton has been chronicling the UK's redheads for a book, Ginger Snaps. Of the 300 she snapped, only two have been spared bullying because of their hair. She herself has suffered verbal abuse from complete strangers.

"I was on the Tube, pregnant, and I was really humiliated by this drunk yob. He was shouting 'do the cuffs and the collars match?' He got right up into my face. You don't do that to other people."

She believes the phenomenon is long-standing and uniquely British in its most virulent form.

"In other countries redheads will get teased at school but it stops when they become adults. If you are a woman you are fiery and alluring, beautiful."


In adult life, women get stereotyped and red-haired men take much of the worst abuse. Treatment of red-haired children in school ranges from mild taunts to grim persecution.

Michele Eliot, the American director of British children's charity Kidscape, regularly has significant numbers of red-haired children in courses on coping with bullying.

"There is nothing like this in the US where having red hair is not a precursor to having someone abuse you. Red hair is considered glamorous."

Bullies at school and in later life may sense that ill-treatment of the red-haired will not be treated as seriously by the authorities as persecution of other groups.

"Bullies think that person is outside the norm, they will be able to attack them. The bullies find something to pick on. The bully has a problem and needs a victim," Ms Eliot says.

Racism row

While there has been at least one report of a serious anti-red hair hate crime in the UK - a 20-year-old stabbed in the back in 2003 - it's unclear whose responsibility it is to monitor discrimination.

"It is certainly not us," says the Commission for Racial Equality.

Conservative backbencher Patrick Mercer, when recently sacked for alleged racism, sought to get himself out of a hole by comparing treatment of black soldiers to those with red hair.

"That's the way it is in the Army. If someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting: 'Come on you fat bastard, come on you ginger bastard, come on you black bastard.'"

One of these three epithets would now be regarded as totally unacceptable, and possibly against the law. Even the first, mocking someone's weight, is under a sustained assault from feminists and those concerned about what society's treatment of weight issues does to vulnerable teenagers.

But the abuse can be far from innocuous.

"We talk about kicking racism out of sport but this is just as bad in its way," said Reading striker Dave Kitson in 2005. He can't have been delighted when the Daily Star reported his remarks under the headline "Kitson's a right ginger whinger". Or when players' association chief Gordon Taylor said: "It belittles racism to compare the two issues."

Journalist Sharon Jaffa - also a red-head - says society must stop its ginger-baiting.

"Growing up as a redhead I was lucky enough to escape with just the occasional name-calling - having the surname Jaffa was no doubt a double-whammy. But attacking someone on the basis of their hair colour can be every bit as damaging as persecuting someone for their race or religion, and therefore, in some cases, needs to be taken just as seriously."

Red hair has great cultural resonance. Red is the colour of heat, danger and warnings. When applied to women, it is the colour of sensuousness, fiery temperament and emotional instability.

"Lilith [Adam's lover] was a redhead. It indicates red hair was bad. Shakespeare made all his most menacing characters wear red wigs. That seeps into culture," Ms Rushton says.

Stress release

So when does this date from? Some claim it could be a throwback to anti-Irish sentiment from the 19th Century and before when the Irish, with a greater prevalence of red hair, were regarded as ethnically inferior.

Patrick O'Sullivan, head of the Irish Diaspora Research Unit, says he has never come across a link. "People could feel forbidden to attack their usual victims and are searching around for ones that have not yet achieved the protection of the law."


Professor Larry Ray, a sociologist at the University of Kent and an expert on racial discrimination, says the perpetrators could be habitual bullies. "If they are engaging in one kind of harassment they are engaging in others. They are looking for targets."

For those who claim their workplace taunts are just harmless banter, it could be stress rather than an anthropological aversion to red hair.

Workplace psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, of Lancaster University, says abuse can be "an unhealthy release valve for stress" and redheads, as a visible minority not protected by law, have become a target.

While other forms of the discrimination are the subject of marches, lobbying and education campaigns, redheads cannot expect the arrival of the politically correct cavalry anytime soon.
That article should be illuminating for a lot of American members, as American redheads experience nowhere near the same level of discrimination (if they experience any discrimination at all), and I'm pretty sure the vast majority of Americans who use the word "ginger" have no idea the connotations it carries in the UK.

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Borgholio » 2013-08-12 09:32pm

The only slur against Redheads I've ever heard here in the States is the phrase "He got beaten like a red-headed stepchild". But Ginger? Nah, that was always used in a neutral context. Never heard anybody get upset over that.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by xthetenth » 2013-08-13 12:35am

Borgholio wrote:The only slur against Redheads I've ever heard here in the States is the phrase "He got beaten like a red-headed stepchild".
And that phrase is more because a red-headed stepchild would be proof of illegitimacy. It's screwed up in a lot of ways but it's not a sign of prevalent bias against red haired people unless I'm really missing something.

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Brother-Captain Gaius » 2013-08-13 01:29am

My impression of "abuse" levelled toward redheads has always struck me as similar to that against furries: more tongue-in-cheek teasing than any actual dislike. Sure, the occasional schoolkid may take it too far, because schoolkids are dumb, and that should be corrected, but I've never gotten the sense that "ginger" or any other slight against redheads was ever serious or intended as any kind of real discriminatory or abusive behavior.

Just soulless abominations. You know, like Welsh people. Or people from New Jersey.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Hillary » 2013-08-13 05:45am

Vendetta wrote:The concept that Ginger is some kind of serious racial slur is, quite possibly, the silliest thing I have heard today.

I mean that's something you'd expect an episode of Brass Eye to be about....
+1 - Since when did "ginger" become a race? Whatever next, left-handed people? Tall people? Bald people? Ridiculous.

Children also use freckles, excess weight, glasses, buck teeth to bully other children.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Tsyroc » 2013-08-13 06:01am

Hillary wrote:
Vendetta wrote:The concept that Ginger is some kind of serious racial slur is, quite possibly, the silliest thing I have heard today.

I mean that's something you'd expect an episode of Brass Eye to be about....
+1 - Since when did "ginger" become a race? Whatever next, left-handed people? Tall people? Bald people? Ridiculous.

Children also use freckles, excess weight, glasses, buck teeth to bully other children.

Children will use pretty much anything. Any blondes here get "blondes are stupid, or blondes are airheads" comments/jokes directed their way?

A question for the UK members. What about the name "Ginger Spice" for Jerry Halliwell? I know the Spice Girls didn't give themselves their stage names but if "Ginger" is akin to the n-word then Ginger Spice is an extremely offensive name for a member of a pop band. In the US ginger has only recently been used to refer to people with red hair. More people are likely to think of it as just a name because of people like Ginger Rogers and the character of Ginger from Gilligan's Island. I personally didn't know that ginger was referring to people with red hair until it kept coming up in Harry Potter and then later Doctor Who. Although I did find it interesting that while I thought it sounded like the Doctor was disappointed when he regenerated and said, "Still not ginger" I saw on the internet that others were angry because they took it to mean he was releaved that he wasn't ginger.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Steel » 2013-08-13 06:34am

I think this sums up the issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVN_0qvuhhw
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Broomstick » 2013-08-13 07:03am

Brother-Captain Gaius wrote:My impression of "abuse" levelled toward redheads has always struck me as similar to that against furries: more tongue-in-cheek teasing than any actual dislike.
How things appear to a bystander are often different than how things appear to the target of comments.

Yes, some of it is tongue-in-cheek but whether its furries or gingers, some of it is genuinely hostile. The mention that gingers are not what here in the US call a "protected class" does make them a safe target for certain sorts of bullies.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Teebs » 2013-08-13 08:08am

Ginger is clearly not equivalent in offense to the n-word in the UK. Ginger Spice aside, you can call someone ginger without it being anything more than a descriptive term like red-head. The issue is people bullying others for being ginger not the actual word. I suppose it's very similar to black or gay in that respect. The word itself isn't offensive, but those it applies to might be picked on because of it.

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Patroklos » 2013-08-13 08:50am

Alyeska wrote:Yes, I do have Red Hair. You can kindly Fuck Off.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Wicked Pilot » 2013-08-13 10:34am

Dominus Atheos wrote:In the UK, "ginger" is a vile racial slur, especially against the Irish.

I suspect Wicked Pilot and our british members might not have known that.
Well I know that now, and I appreciate the consciousness raising. But I don't go around calling people ginger on the street or anything. It was just harmless ribbing that goes on in close knit military communities. It's not like the guy in question didn't dish it out back to us. There's always that line that can be crossed, and you have to be cognizant of that, but I'm pretty comfortable that this wasn't the case.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Raw Shark » 2013-08-13 10:37am

Gingers are hot and prejudice is lame. That is all that I think about that.

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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Borgholio » 2013-08-13 11:11am

Kari Byron is a Ginger. This discussion is over.
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Marko Dash » 2013-08-13 03:50pm

^ this, if she doesn't have a soul there are tons of us who would gladly share!
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Re: Gingers Hold Their Own Pride March

Post by Zed Snardbody » 2013-08-13 06:01pm

Borgholio wrote:Kari Byron is a Ginger. This discussion is over.
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