Red ’til I’m dead

Posted on October 13, 2011


Below is my column on redheads and the discrimination we get that was published in the Red & Black on Oct. 1. It was subsequently picked up by, where I was featured as their Redhead of the Week. Hot damn!

Click here to view the original post.

The world has an issue with redheads, and I have an issue with that.

As if I didn’t already have enough ginger problems. I can’t spend 15 minutes in daylight without getting sunburned. I can’t exercise without my skin pigmentation making me look tragically out-of-shape. I can’t spend a day in public without being asked if I have a soul. And as the lone recessive gene recipient in my immediate family, I can’t even take a Christmas card photo without looking like the actual redheaded stepchild.

Now, I feel the weight of the earth on my pale and freckly back.

News outlets around the globe reported last week that the world’s largest sperm bank has begun turning away ginger donors. Demand for redheaded babies outside Denmark, Germany and Ireland, the bank says, is simply too low. It’s been common belief for years that redheads will one day go extinct. Now, it seems, no one wants to make or have ginger babies. The joke might as well write itself.

But instead of bullying my carrot-topped brethren in some sort of twisted act of gingercide, I’ll do the opposite. I’ll remind my fellow redheads and the world alike how special — nay, how damn awesome and lucky — we are. Less than 1 percent of people in the world have red hair. But that statistic doesn’t make us an endangered species; it makes us rare and precious ruby-headed gems!

We are the Atlantis of heads. The most elite and exclusive of hair color castes.

And lest some disagreement with my superiority complex arises, I’ll let history do the talking. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of this great nation and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, was a ginger. So was the famed British leader and politician Winston Churchill.

And redheads aren’t just “South Park” fodder in the entertainment world. Plenty of gingers — Lucile Ball, Louis C.K. and Conan O’Brien, for example — have made audiences laugh at their jokes, not their hair color. Actresses like Molly Ringwald and Julia Roberts have gained icon status largely because of their red-hot sex appeal.

Some of the most prolific American athletes have copper-colored locks, too. Like Winter Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White and the most perplexing redhead of late, Blake “He Who Dunked Over a Kia” Griffin.

And need I remind everyone that the most beloved teacher in history, Miss Frizzle from “The Magic School Bus,” was also a ginger?
Oh, and for the ladies out there, I’ll go ahead and settle the “who has more fun?” debate. According to the Daily Mail, it’s neither blonds nor brunettes, but in fact redheads, who have the most active romantic lives (“Redheads ‘have more sex than blondes or brunettes’,” Aug. 15, 2006).

All in all, redheads make up a beautiful, feisty and creative populace. We might have to wear baby sunscreen at the beach, but we always stand out in a crowded room. So why parents around the world don’t want to make more of us baffles me. Gingers should be in high demand, not at the bottom of the baby-making totem pole.

I have faith that a resurgence of redhead love is to come. Our history and our successful predecessors wouldn’t have it any other way. I hereby promise, fellow gingers, that it’ll get better. And that the world will soon get redder.

If it doesn’t, well — you can follow me to Dublin.