Racism is Acceptable if your Ginger
This is what society is telling me. There is a group people that are a bit different. Their skin is often a different colour and they apparently have collective characteristics. There's even a name for them, its that one with an N, two G's an I, an E and a R.
This 6 letter word has even been used in song form to describe the power, suppression and prejudice that many have for this group of people. They are often seen as less than and sometimes in disgust.
Some of you may know the song, by Tim Minchin 'Prejudice'. As he talks about that nasty disgusting group of people known as ginger(s).
As an adult I have figuratively and literally grow into my hair. But a child I was bullied because of my hair colour. At that time I found it strange, but accepted for some reason; that bullying black people for being black was wrong. However bullying me for having red, orange, ginger hair was ok.
There are so many confusing things happening when you're young that you don't always understand or think clearly. I wouldn't say I was ever depressed as a child because of my hair, but I often fantasised about having blond or brown (apparently thats brunette, as a child, its brown!) hair.
I never showered at school or college after sport because I felt the sight of my ginger pubes would send shockwaves and result in even more bullying. I would dry off and spray and hope that would get me through the day.
As I got older I became more confident. I learnt that my appearance was a niche in terms of something that was attractive to others, especially girls I found attractive. I was much better at the friend role or working from a common interest, rather than approaching girls. As I have got older, and the internet has...well become accessible. I have learnt that while my appearance may not be for everyone. There are some that are open minded and even more surprisingly some that are specifically attracted to ginger people! Wayhoooo!
Growing up judging my own appearance in this way and looking at those I considered to be similar to myself. I find my view being this maybe different for girls. However I am open to being wrong, and recognise this part is VERY subjective. I think that my race of gingers (rolls eyes at the collectiveness of that statement), has a higher ratio of attractive girls than it does guys. Again as I said this bit is very subjective. As a young person / child, those around me often judged on looks and so that was my learnt behaviour. We were not running around the playground or canteen saying "OMG you will not believe the personality of Britney!" no, sorry that just didn't happen.
My judgement now is much more balanced, but that doesn't mean I ignore appearance or attractiveness. In fact I've learnt so much, that what I find attractive can change and what I like can be very different to what you like, and guess what, we can still be friends!
---Back to the point Mike---
All that being said, I have still experienced bullying as an adult. It is not just a childhood thing. Some people do still think that it is acceptable to to hate, disparage or be prejudice because of someones appearance.
I have had this conversation with people before and they stated that "ginger people are not like black people, your not a race!" In fact they said it with such confidence and disregard for an alternative that I stopped and thought that maybe they were right. Maybe I am being jumped up and by asking for certain behaviours to be recognised, asking for some sort of special treatment...
Well, this time I'm writing and I have google power SO!
Thanks to www.dictionary.com (I avoid wiki as its not really a reliable place but they had a similar answer);
"A group of persons related by common descent or heredity."
"Characterized by supposedly distinctive and universalphysical characteristics"
"An arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape"
Based on this definition I am left to believe that racism is acceptable in our 'modern' society. It is just the group of people it is acceptable to be racist to is getting smaller.
Some of you may disagree, do you know what Im ok with that. We all have our own opinions. But I will tell you a fact, racism or not, I have felt shame, isolation, disgust, ugly and less than because of my genetics. Not just my appearance, as in the clothes I choose to wear, no my skin, my hair, me!
Personally, I believe that is wrong, and I would hope that no one ever has to feel like that.
Video link to Prejudice by Tim Minchin