How are we supposed to learn to treat other races with respect when we are still treating redheads like outsiders. Seriously guys we need to grow up and realize making jokes and stereotypes about redheads is the same thing as making jokes and stereotyping any other group that is "different."
I had originally planned to write this article about how men treat redheaded women as if we are some kind of unicorn fantasy saying things like "I've always had a thing for redheads" or "redheads are extra credit." They make us up to be some sexual prize because we're so fiery and exciting in the bedroom. Obviously something genetic like the color of my hair would affect my sexuality, right?
Trust me, I know that having men treat me like a sexual specialty and being the butt of some jokes is not comparable to the terrible injustices that other groups face on a daily basis. I have not lost any opportunities in life simply because of the way I look nor do I fear for my basic human rights being taken away. The thing is that we cannot treat other white people with the same respect just because they have one small difference, how can't tell me you are treating other races with respect. The problem starts here.
I have recently seen this disrespect in the mainstream media through the newest Walgreens commercial. It shows a group of kids shaming their redheaded friend for using up all the sunscreen, they site this along with other events as ruining their summer. Sure, I get it redheads should just be okay with being made fun of because it's true, we use a lot of sunscreen and we just ruin everyone else's fun. The rest of you are just stronger than the sun, huh? You don't have to worry about skin cancer or anything like we do? At the end of the commercial he has gotten more sunscreen and gleefully sits at the edge of the pool reapplying because redheads aren't like other kids, they need to be constantly putting on sunscreen and can't be expected to play in the pool and have fun like the rest of the kids.
Jokes like these aren't funny and we need to stop making them at the expense of redheads. You may have realized that I have not been using the term "ginger" in this article. That is because, thanks to shows like South Park, the term is now used a hateful one. As we can see in this clip, redheads can try to fight back but just like many other minorities are shut down and told we should let others speak. "It's just a joke, chill out," "What? It's funny." "I don't know why you're upset it's not like you actually don't have a soul." But the thing is, if someone said this about a person of color there would be outrage. We know and understand that saying demeaning things about a group of people is wrong but for some reason you think this is okay because we are enough like you that you think you aren't making someone feel like an outsider.
Urban dictionary even defines a "ginger" as:
"A human, characterized by pale skin, freckles and bright red hair. "Gingers" are generally considered to be inferior to their more melanin-rich brethren, and thus deservingly discriminated against. Gingers are thought to have no souls. The condition, "gingervitis" is genetic and incurable.
Ron Howard is a ginger.
Carrot Top is a good example of why gingers should be discriminated against."
Being called a ginger in the UK is very offensive and it's easy to see why, here in the US we take it as a joke. In most of the country it is well known that this term is derogatory and that you shouldn't call your friends this but through my travels in the Midwest I've found that people don't even know the negative connotation attached and I find myself quoting this South Park episode to tell people why it makes me so uncomfortable when they lovingly call me their ginger friend. I'd love to accept your compliment and feel the love you think you're giving me but I am constantly reminded of the terrible things others have said.
I'm a pretty friendly and kind person so overall I don't think I have ever been called a ginger by someone trying to put me down but I have experienced a million instances of someone calling other redheads gingers in a demeaning way around me and following it by saying "Oh, but you're not like that, you're so sweet." Thanks guys, that's like telling me my twin sister is ugly but I'm beautiful. You don't get to pick and choose who your derogatory term applies to. If you say it about one redhead you're saying it about us all.
You can tell me it's just a joke all you want but the truth is some people actually think redheads are a prize and believe that we have anger issues and are just a stereotype. There are so many problems in the way we treat people in our society and we simply aren't working to make it any better.