April 25, 2011

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

In England, anti-ginger bullying has been blamed for the separate hanging suicides of a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, the repeated harassment and ostracism of an entire family, and even a 2003 stabbing outside a bar.

Despite all this, the UK’s Commission for Racial Equality refuses to classify anti-ginger intimidation and assaults as hate crimes, and the media is generally silent in ways it isn”€™t when gay teens are reputedly bullied into suicide. Taking the double standard to an extreme, former Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman, described as a “€œqueen of political correctness,”€ recently referred to her redheaded political opponent Danny Alexander as a “€œginger rodent.”€

In a predictably depressing response to such endemic verbal and physical provocations, there has emerged a new, auburn-tinted version of the same old monochromatic identity politics that have turned the world into such a glum, humorless place for lo, these many years. The fundamental and seemingly intractable problem with all this “€œdiversity”€ is that everyone always diversifies in exactly the same way. In 2007 a British woman won a discrimination lawsuit after being taunted for her red hair at the kebab shop where she worked. There are now blogs, support groups, and legal petitions devoted to fighting “€œgingerism“€ and “€œgingerphobia.”€

Though I was born with unexceptionally brown hair, my pale Anglo-Celtic-Gallic skin has always sunburned and peeled rather than tanned, and my shoulders and arms remain freckle-spackled to this day, so I”€™ve always felt a sort of stepbrother’s kinship to the Ginger Nation. When I see them getting punched and kicked, I think it’s only natural for me to get a little defensive on their behalf. But if they want respect, I don”€™t think they”€™ll get it with anti-discrimination lawsuits and anti-gingerphobia candlelight marches. You can”€™t force people not to find you disgusting, and a lot of people honestly find gingers”€”or at least the males“€”to be an aesthetically repulsive alien race. But that’s no excuse to go stabbing people or harassing families out of the neighborhood, now is it? As a defensive strategy, I”€™d rather see gingers use some of the negative stereotypes about them to their advantage. Let the world continue to think that redheads are demon-possessed witches with psychotic tempers who are impervious to pain. Instead of emulating the latter-day PC pussies, I”€™d rather see gingers walking in Erik the Red’s footsteps. I”€™d like to see the ginger equivalent of the Stonewall Uprising or even the Watts Riots. It might take only one viral YouTube video of a lone ginger schoolboy being cornered by bullies and then systematically knocking them all unconscious to make people think twice before crossing a ginger again. Beat down your antagonists like they”€™ve beaten down their redheaded stepchildren all these years. Bullies tend to understand violence better than they do sensitivity training, anyway.

But to answer the horrifyingly ginger-insensitive question that started all this, yes, the NFL has seen redheaded quarterbacks who have “€œdone really well.”€ Legendary coach Vince Lombardi called Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen the best quarterback he”€™d ever seen, and Jurgensen had pig-pink skin and hair the color of a glass of Tang. And although none of them were the purebred speckled-egg blue-veined Orange Julius Super Ginger that NFL hopeful Andy Dalton is, Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Ken Stabler, Bob Griese, Joe Theismann, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Brett Favre all had a touch o”€™ ginger in their hair”€”or at least their beards. And they were all quarterbacks who won Super Bowls, with Starr and Griese each winning two. So no need to worry, they”€™re doing fine”€”redheads have won TEN Super Bowls. A better question would involve why quarterbacks from another historically persecuted group, this one with a decidedly different hair texture, have only been able to win one.



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