Are Redheads Bullied?
The problem of bullying in the home, schools and workplace has reached astronomical proportions. At home, bullying can produce fear and resentment toward siblings or other members of the family. At school, bullies can destroy a child’s desire to learn and grow. In the workplace, bullies can stifle a person’s creativity and inspiration, resulting in poor work performance.
Despite years of combating this issue, bullying behavior continues to be a major problem – especially in the school environment. Bullies single out victims by race, nationality, disability and appearance, with red haired children being their latest target.
Why are Redheads Bullied?
In Britain, there seems to be an underlying prejudice against redheads. This prejudice is manifested from the time children are small and continues through their adult years. Some attribute these feelings to the aversion that British citizens have towards those who are Irish, as many Irish people have red hair. Redheads are often treated like 2nd class citizens, being shown little consideration or respect.
In school, teachers and counselors feel bullies target redheads simply because they are different, similar to children from other nationalities or those with physical or mental problems. That doesn’t explain, however, why redheaded women and men continue to be ridiculed in British society well into adulthood. It seems bullies would have outgrown their childhood prejudices and moved on.
Perhaps if schools took redhead prejudice more seriously and tackled this problem head on, there would be fewer incidents of this behavior. But when this prejudice is instilled within an entire culture and carried on from generation to generation, it can be difficult to instigate change. This is especially true if everyone (parents, teachers, staff and students) is not on board with the concept of change.
Effects of Redhead Bullying
In school, red haired children and teens, or “gingers”, as they are often called, may be picked on, ostracized, ridiculed, teased or even threatened with physical violence due to the color of their hair. Even bright and talented students are singled out by their red hair color and made to feel like they are not welcomed in their own community. Red hair prejudice in Britain can be compared to prejudice people suffer in other countries due to their race or ethnic background. Such prejudice has been hurting and hindering young people who have so much potential from being able to contribute to the good of the country.
Redhead bullying can be seen at the elementary, middle and secondary school level. Young children are often teased and ridiculed; older children may be shunned by their peers and discouraged from joining in on social activities. Teens may be ostracized from fellowships, parties or sports events. As these young people feel more and more negative pressure from their peers, they may begin to do poorly in their studies or lose interest in attending classes at all. As a result, they could lose out on getting the quality education they need to build a good career.
When bullies are allowed to victimize other students, everyone loses. Schools lose their reputation for being able to protect their students and provide them with a quality education. Bullying victims lose out on social and academic progress and the opportunities to develop their skills to develop a successful career. Bullies lose out on making friends and growing in academic, social and career opportunities.
Putting a Stop to Bullying Tactics
The best way for schools to handle bullying behavior is to confront it head on. By getting everyone involved in taking a stand against bullying, schools have a better chance of minimizing this abusive behavior on their campus. As adults, teachers, parents and school staff need to lead the way in demonstrating an acceptance of all students in their classrooms, regardless of differences in appearance, race, nationality or physical and mental abilities. Even friendly teasing of students with red hair needs to stop. Teachers who tease their students pave the way for bullies to pick up where they leave off. By treating all children the same, teachers send the signal that everyone is accepted for who they are.
Students can do their part to stop redhead bullying by befriending redheaded students and making them feel welcomed in class and social activities. All students need to feel like they belong. By accepting redheads into their circle of friends and standing up against abusive behavior, students can help break the bullying cycle. Less bullying makes for a more inspiring school environment that’s conducive to learning.
In order for redheads to overcome prejudice and bullying, they need to stop letting others dictate their lives by making them feel inferior. Parents can help their kids and teens by providing the physical and emotional support they need to overcome any negativity they face from bullies. Bully tactics are meant to intimidate victims into succumbing to verbal or physical abuse. When victims comply, they are actually giving bullies more power to continue their abusive behavior. Victims can stand up to bullies by refusing to listen to their taunts and showing greater confidence in themselves and their abilities. Parents should teach their redhead children that their heritage and personal appearance is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, they should be proud of their red locks and do their best to preserve their beauty.
Although being bullied can be difficult, it can also help children and teens to learn valuable lessons on standing up for themselves and treating others with respect and kindness. With help from family and friends, children can face difficulties such as bullying with greater resolve and overcome bullying tactics. Life’s difficulties can often bring out the best in a child or teen by fostering such qualities as patience, perseverance and determination in their lives to overcome their situation. Although it’s not possible for parents to protect their children from every evil they face in life, they can be there for their kids when needed offering love, understanding and support.
Redheads are People, Too
When it comes to what matters most, redheads are really no different from anyone else. They seek the same academic and social opportunities as their peers and have their aspirations and dreams for the future. Bullying redheads doesn’t make bullies any better or smarter than their victims. On the contrary, bullying shows how intolerant and shallow people can be in judging others by outward appearance, rather than by their heart.
Like many other minorities (natural reds constitute as little as 4% of the world’s population), redheads have their unique qualities. The following redhead facts give greater insight into their “red” world:
- Redheads make up only 2% of the U.S. population
- Natural reds never turn grey as they age; their hair gradually changes shades and then turns silvery-white.
- Russia was named after Rurik, a redheaded Viking. The country’s name literally means “Land of Reds”.
- Mummified redheads dating over 3,000 years old were discovered as far away as the Takla Makan desert in China.
- Redheaded children in Denmark are considered to be an honor.
- Redheads tend to bruise easier than individuals with other hair coloring.
- Redheaded slaves of ancient Rome were considered more valuable than those having other hair coloring.
- Natural reds have more difficulty dying their hair than those with other shades.
- When it comes to hair-eye color combinations, red locks and blue eyes are the rarest combo of all.
- Red hair is a genetic mutation with the gene Melanocortin being responsible for producing this flaming hue. .
- Only 4% of the world’s population are redheads, with the largest congregation living in Scotland and Ireland.
- The Celtic warrior Boudicca was the first redhead woman to become a British monarch.
Many a famous person has been born with red hair over the ages. Redheads permeate all professions and levels of society to include actors and actresses, musicians, politicians, artists, poets, professionals and scholars. Knowing that the influence of reds extends far and wide should encourage young people who are struggling with mixed feelings about their ginger coloring. The success of other redheads can inspire confidence in today’s redhead generation that they, too, can overcome the prejudice of others and be successful in whatever they put their hand to do.
The following list is but the tip of the iceberg of famous natural redheaded people who made (or are still making) their mark on the world in recent times:
- Emily Dickinson
- Vincent van Gogh
- Richard Lionheart
- Elizabeth I
- Winston Churchill
- Conan O’Brien
- Cyndi Lauper
- Susan Sarandon
- Nichole Kidman
- Kate Winslet and
- England’s very own Prince Henry