National Kick a Ginger Day and What You Can Do
It’s hard to imagine a world so crawl as one that invents up a national ‘kick a ginger day’. Despite the fact the whole date seemed to have got started by accident back in 2005, the day still caught on so much that you can even purchase ‘kick a ginger day’ clothing online now such as t-shirts, jumpers, caps and plenty more.
Whilst this may seem humorous to the selected few, it’s anything but that for the ginger haired kids that have to face leaving their homes in the morning and heading off to school.
What it’s like?
For those kids it’s a whole different story and one which will tell you of the sometimes severe beatings and attacks they receive or live in fear of receiving. One that will tell you of the emotional distress they have to suffer that doesn’t just stick with them for that one day but rather an entire lifetime.
Some of the kids joyfully leave the house for school unknowing that they are possibly about the face the most traumatising day of their lives.
Of course not every ginger/red head/ auburn kid suffers the worse case scenario, some have been fortunate enough to not be picked on at all and some will receive only verbal abuse but even the verbal abuse has lead to cases of suicide or feeling suicidal.
My daughter is now a ‘proud to be ginger’ but I’ve lost count of how many times in the past she has come home telling me that she wants to be dead or wishing that she wasn’t here.
How did it all begin?
It all began when south park run an episode called ‘Ginger Kids’ in 2005 where the character Cartman first gave a definition of a ginger stating that ‘a ginger is a derogatory name for someone having light skin, freckles and red hair’ before deciding to start up a ‘kick a ginger day’.
It became highly talked about and one 14 year old boy went as far as setting a date and making a group for it which quickly spread around the social networking site Facebook and obtained many followers. Of course the group that he had developed for kick a ginger day was shortly after removed and the boy questioned for starting a hate campaign but it was too late; the craze had begun and has continued every year since.
South Park has of course tried their best to redeem themselves and to avoid being sued with other episodes reminding people that gingers do have souls and should be treated equally.
What is the national kick a ginger date?
The ‘kick a ginger day’ happens every year on 20th November and needs to be guarded against.
Many people still see gingerism as not a problem at all but it is bullying and still goes on throughout the rest of the year too.
If you have ginger, red or auburn hair - have you ever been bullied for it?
What can parents do?
If your child suffers from bullying at school, you can try to give them some extra support on 20th November by reminding them to like themselves no matter what other people say. Remind the kids to let their teachers know if there are any problems at school. Consider taking and picking up your child from school on this date, or if you're not allowed to at your kids wishes then see if you can get someone else to meet them instead. It’s not nearly as embarrassing in the older children’s eyes to be met by an uncle or auntie as it is for them to be met by their parents from school.
If you are concerned, consider contacting your children’s school to remind them of this date and ask if their normal policies for bullying will still be put in place for anyone being bullied because they are ginger/redhead/auburn.
What can schools do?
All staff/teachers and head teachers should be made aware of this date and asked to keep an extra eye out for any bullying that may be taking place. Remind all staff that the bullying of a ginger kid should be treated on the same level as it would be if it was a racial insult/assault or any other form of bullying. Have a good teacher presence around the playground at the start of school, break time and home time particularly on this date.
Ensure the children know that bullying someone for whatever reason will not be tolerated.
What can friends do?
If you have a friend who is ginger/red head/auburn then try to offer some support to them. Remind them that it’s probably through jealousy and that they should try not to let the stupid and irresponsible words get to them. If they are in any danger then try to alert someone and get some help for them.
It’s no secret that kids don’t tell the grown-ups everything, watch out for your friends whatever hair colour they have and try to learn the difference between when your friend is feeling ‘a bit down’ and saying they don’t want to be here anymore and when they are feeling ‘really down’ and seem more genuine/serious about not wanting to be here anymore. Always tell a grown-up if you think your friend may seriously cause harm to themselves no matter how much they have asked you not to because you would want them to be safe.
What can you do if you are ginger/red head /auburn?
Stay strong and avoid showing too much of a reaction when people are calling you silly names. If they don't see much reaction then it will help them to become bored of teasing you. Try to like yourself for who you are and your hair colour. Be proud to be a little bit different. Keep in mind that if people are picking on you because of your hair colour that it's not just because of your hair, but more like they have small minds and nothing better to do. If you are experiencing any problems with bullying then let your teachers or parents know so that they can try to help you.