The Hate of Redhair

Topics: Red hair, Genetics, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 6 (1893 words) Published: March 24, 2011
The Hate of Red

In American society, as a whole, we like to uphold the idea that we are culturally accepting of others no matter their appearance, religious beliefs, or gender. Nevertheless, in recent years those with red hair have been the subjects of racist hatred in American culture. This racist behavior occurs in ignorance given race does not biologically exist rather it is a social construction of categorization. America’s culture has been infused with media that is racist in nature towards those with red hair resulting in racist events, campaigns, and statements. Thus, red hair is a biological trait that is a result of a recessive gene that does not justify the racist sub-categorization or assumptions, which are made about those who possess it.

Despite the common belief that some may hold about race, it does not biologically exist. The justification that genetic variability is the establishing factor for race is incorrect since, “…human genetic variability exists within nationalities, ethnic groups, villages, kinship groups, and even within families.”[1] It thus makes it inconclusive to categorize race through genetic variability since the difference within genes is so vast. There is no clear genetic variation that lends itself to a clear definitive categorization of people.

Furthermore, the concept of race is a social construction produced in an effort to categorize fellow humans. The creation of race is a “…construct, a means of organizing the diversity of date describing our species.”[2] Language is the means of communicating for humans, thus the races we create are attempts to further our labeling of the world we inhabit. However this desire to categorize others creates an effect of internalization, which is, “…the objectified social world is retrojected into consciousness in the course of socialization.”[3] The races, which we socially construct, become embedded as the tool which we categorize others by, trumping the biological facts that race is nonexistent. Additionally, the races created alter over time given the evolution of people’s appearance. The races that are created in modern times will, “…change over the generations to come…because of continuing migrations and interbreeding.”[4] By generating races it is ineffective given they are not established biologically based sub-species of humans, and cannot be genetically justified. The standards that are used will not hold over time, which does not validate the concept of race if the definitions must change in order to categorize people. Recently a new racial category termed “ginger” has emerged to describe and assume certain characteristics about those with red hair. Defined by Urban Dictionary, a website which defines modern day cultural terms and phrases, the definition they give for a “ginger” is the following. Human, characterized by pale skin, freckles, and bright red hair. ‘Gingers’ are generally considered to be inferior to their more more melanin-rich brethren, and thus deservingly discriminated against. ‘Gingers’ are thought to have no souls. The condition ‘gingervitus’ is genetic and incurable. [5]

Implying a genetic disease that causes the red hair and the given attributes, assumed by the term “ginger”, this definition sets forth a racial category. This term and the association it brings with it, has found it spread throughout the media and within American culture. For example in the New York Times in a recent theater review the article was entitled, “An Ugly Duckling Gets Her Ginger Up Over Fitting In.”[6]

In 2005 the satirical television show South Park aired an episode entitled “Ginger Kids”. This mainstream media coverage of the cultural term “ginger” depicted parents who did not love their redheaded children, emotionless redheaded characters, and the search for a so called cure to “gingervitus”.[7] The term gingervitus is a reference to the biological occurrence of the variant recessive...
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