The rarity of red: Does the term ginger emit offense?

Today we live a world that consists of several different hair colors. According to a survey conducted by Daisy Hair Design, 75% of the world population has naturally dark brown or black hair, 24% have medium brown to blonde hair, and 1% has red hair.  Due to the rare number of red heads, they are prone to stand out more among others, and it seems apparent that there is ginger prejudice in society. Many redheads are sensitive to the term “ginger” as opposed to being called “redheaded.” While the term ‘redhead’ invokes thoughts of rarity and value, ‘ginger’ hits a nerve and can emit offense.

The word seems to be frequently used as an insult or a joke. In 2005, South Park dedicated a show to redheads and claimed individuals with red hair to be “soulless.” In 2008, A popular Facebook page was created declaring November 20th as “National Kick a Ginger Day.” Is there a correlation to why this hair color is so easily joked about? Young children are often teased and ridiculed for being different but according to McNicholas’ redheaded students, the name-calling and jokes don’t stop after childhood. In a story by the Huffington Post, the word ginger originates from a few different places.  The article states  that this word descends from the ginger root itself, which is used for cooking to give it an extra kick. The blog Ginger Parrot stated, “Some think this is because redheads tend to have a fiery temper and can pack a punch (not always literally).” When it comes to art and biblical literature, red hair is often the mark of sin according to Huffington Post. Eve in the story of Adam and Eve was known to be a redhead along with Cain and Judas, two other biblical antagonists.

Out of eight McNicholas redheads surveyed, five of them said that they have been teased for their hair color, but senior Evan Winkelman takes pride in his red hair. “In grade school, I was teased for my red hair and that is all it ever escalated to. I never felt sad or mad about it, I owned it,” Winkelman said. According to other Rockets surveyed, referring to a redhead as a ginger isn’t offensive but the jokes and mean comments can be insensitive. “I don’t feel offended by the term ginger normally but when it is used as a hateful term towards people with red hair, it does make me a little bit angry,” Winkelman said.

It doesn’t seem to be a bothersome term to many and fortunately those who retain this hair color take a lot of pride in it. “I love my red hair and I am proud of it,” said senior Ricky Bachman.

Although ginger can be used in hurtful ways, it should be instilled as being a positive thing that should be celebrated for being unique and empowering the concept of individuality.


Senior Ricky Bachman points to his red hair with pride. “I love my red hair and I am proud of it,” Bachman said.

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