Only in England. Only in England, I tell you, would red hair be something to be embarased about.

People in this country daily make jokes about “gingers.” People with red hair are constantly being teased and put down. “GING-AH!” brunettes will cry at them – as though that somehow amounts to an insult. (How can the country that ostensibly spawned the greatest writers of all time embrace such a shitty excuse for an insult? Pathetic.)

Click here for a BBC News story about how people with red hair, called “gingers” in this country, are discriminated against – even to the point that some incidents could be classified as “hate crimes.” A family in Newcastle was actually forced to move recently because their red-headed children were being so badly bullied.

This is sheer lunacy. For two reasons.

Reason Number One: RED is not the same as GINGER. THIS is what ginger looks like:

Does that look like red hair? NO. So henceforth for the rest of this piece I’m going to address the hair colour by it’s proper name: RED. As in REDHEAD.

(OK so red hair isn’t red per se, but it’s certainly more red than yellow – which is the actual colour of ginger root.)

Reason Number Two: Red hair is beautiful.

Redheads are gorgeous, you Pommie gits. HELLO. Think of all the sex symbols with red hair.

The FBI agent with a medical degree and a “don’t fuck with me” attitude.

One of the few actresses in Hollywood reputed to have a brain.

julianne-moore-2.jpg

The most famous image ever made of the goddess of love.

And of course, Jessica Rabbit. (The animated character. Not the toy.)

Red hair is special – only about two per cent of the population has it (the Scots are lucky enough to be 15 per cent red headed). The gene that causes red hair, called MC1R, like the blue-eyed gene, is recessive to all other pigment genes – so in order to have red hair you have to inherit a red gene from both your mother’s side and your father’s side. You gots to be lucky.

There is red hair in my family, inherited from my maternal grandmother (of Scottish origin). For two generations we had no true redheads in the family. We thought it was lost. Then seven years ago when my cousin Ella came out with a tuft of red hair we all rejoiced.

How beautiful is she?

My hair, for genetic reasons I can’t quite figure out, is borderline red – and I desperately wish it was genuinely red. So therefore in order to make it appear red I constantly take photographs of myself contrasted with blue and green hues,

in order to enhance the red hues.

Pretty…

Sorry, where was? Right. Red hair is beautiful. And yet the Brits will mock you for it.

And they are alone in this respect – as this quote from the American director of the UK children’s charity Kidscape confirms in this BBC piece:

“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.”

Because it bloody well is.

So then, the question begs to be asked: why do English people make fun of redheads? There are a few theories – but almost certainly it stems from racial prejudice against the Celts, specifically the Irish immigrants who moved to England in the nineteenth century to labour in their warehouses and mine their coal. To escape the grinding poverty and oppression (…by the English) in their homeland.

So there you have it. More than a century later, English people are still shitting on the Irish. Still stubbornly xenophobic.

Gosh. I’m surprised. I really am.

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