Every month it seems a new 'gingerism' is reported
ONE of the most inspiring stories for 2012 was, I believe, the tale of Balpreet Kaur, a Sikh woman who won't remove her facial hair for religious reasons. In the most dignified way possible she explained her beliefs after a stranger posted online a picture of her with a comment
She eloquently outlined her faith and how she was trying to ignore society's view of beauty and hoped to concentrate on more important things.
The reaction was an outpouring of support and it generated an apology from the person who posted the comment in the first place.
If only we all could take the attitude of Balpreet and rise above this nastiness. But it is a hard path to take and why should people like Balpreet have to do it in the first place?
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This viciousness to people who are different to the 'norm' has always been there but years ago it would have been confined to workplace staff rooms or the playground. Now a comment online can be seen around the world.
I have before ranted about the unkind comments made about those with red hair and every month it seems there's a new 'gingerism' reported.
The last to receive national attention was a comment made by a member of staff to a bank customer on how she must be pleased her daughter hadn't inherited her red hair.
It led to talk shows and comment programmes exploring whether attacking red hair was a form of racism. Bodies fighting racism said yes it was and many callers, observers and commentators recalled occasions when they too had been insulted due to the colour of their hair.
But there remained some who said red heads needed to 'get a grip', it was banter and there was nothing wrong with references to their hair.
They obviously haven't lived with the comments have they?
They haven't come home upset with the constant barrage of names other than their own which others think are funny – comments not just about the colour of the hair but references to how having that colour hair affects their character.
Note the word hair can be replaced by practically any bodily part which appears different.
Name calling damages confidence – something which teenagers struggle with anyway as they deal with puberty without the additions of anonymous strangers posting online insults or so-called 'affectionate' nicknames.
Yes I'm biased as my girls both have red hair and if collectively we had sued for every derogatory comment made about their ginger locks, we'd be millionaires by now.
As parents we would be horrified if our offspring were found to be thumping, kicking or spitting at others – shouldn't we also be as horrified if they are posting horrid comments online or calling people names?
Do you remember the ditty "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me'' – it may be true but it doesn't really give comfort when you have been targeted by name calling.