“Ginger Kids”, the 136th episode of Comedy Central’s “South Park” cartoon series aired on November 9, 2005. The writers and producers of the episode apparently did not realize that many people do not understand the concept of irony.
In their attempt to satirize racial bigotry, they show “promoted” an event called “Kick a Ginger Day”. Some viewers misunderstood the message and literally thought “Kick a Ginger Day” was a socially acceptable, legitimate event. I wonder if most of those viewers simply took the faux event as a green light to manifest cruelty against people they don’t like.
This ugly example of misguided humor was started by a 14-year-old boy from Vancouver, Canada. He ran a group on Facebook that promoted “National Kick a Ginger Day” on November 20, 2008. Almost 5,000 “friends” signed up for the campaign with many of them committing violence against their red-headed classmates.
In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated the group. The RCMP said they were serious about charging perpetrators of anti-ginger violence with criminal misbehavior. The law enforcement threat prompted the 14-year-old boy to apologize. He claimed the Facebook group was intended as only a joke.
Unfortunately, many people, especially emotionally impressionable minors see things on the Internet and on social media as legitimate or as validations of their own prejudices. Dozens of redheaded kids across North America reported serious, violent attacks against them by bullies at their schools.
As a positive rebuttal to “Kick a Ginger Day”, activist, actor, comedian, and redhead
Derek Forgie launched “International Kiss a Ginger Day” on January 12, 2009. Forgie is an amazing person I’d love to meet. He hasn’t only defended his fellow red-heads like me, but has been a vocal advocate and ally to people who are marginalized because of race, gender, and sexual orientation. He is the chairman and founder of “Heterosexuals for Same-Sex Equality”.
He has also hosted fund raising events for many worthy organizations such as “The Ontario Breast Cancer Foundation”. Forgie is also actively involved in the Canadian environmental movement.
We red-heads account for only one-percent of the world’s population, but are some of the most noticeable folks in crowds. Our red hair is caused by the recessive MC1R gene. It has been scientifically proven that we gingers are more sensitive to pain. (I require more Novocaine than most other patients when undergoing dental work.) We redheads have fewer hairs per square inch on our heads. The nation with the most redheads is the United States.
Slavers in ancient Rome charged higher prices for red-haired slaves, and redheaded prisoners of war were displayed as special trophies. In the 20th century, Adolf Hitler banned people from marrying redheads out of fear of “deviant offspring”. Did you know that Russia translates as “Land of the Reds”. The Kazan region of Russia has a population density of red-heads similar to that of Scotland and Ireland.
Here’s an amazing biological fact about us naturally redheaded people: We cannot absorb sufficient amounts of Vitamin D because of low concentrations of eumelanin in our bodies. However, we are able to produce our own Vitamin D in our own systems when we’re exposed to low light environments.
Since today is “Kiss a Ginger Day”, do you have a redheaded friend or family member? Have you kissed her or him yet today?