Ginger and Re: Gingerism, gingerphobia

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Aug 11 16:37:43 UTC 2013

I received a kind e-mail this morning saying Nexis has "gingerism" to 1998 apparently of British origin.

Wiktionary ( has it to 1997 and labels it British.

My earliest recollection of hearing the word "ginger" is within the past five years, so I suspect that "ginger" itself entered general American English with the South Park episode "Ginger Kids" ( in 2005, though maybe I've just been out of the loop.

Gingerism/gingerphobia is interesting because AFAIK, unlike racism and homophobia, nobody actually believes that people with red hair are actually different, other than the red hair itself (and perhaps accompanying sensitive skin). Nevertheless, chronicles cases of gingerism, including at least one that seems to genuinely be fueled by nonginger supremacism (the attacker was drunk at the time, "Random Assault for Being Ginger-haired"). My grandmother certainly suffered a great deal of taunting due to her red hair as a child that she never got over completely; taunters can almost never be held accountable because people will simply say it was "in good fun."

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu!

On Aug 11, 2013, at 1:46 AM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at> wrote:

> In discussing the Ginger Pride Walk, Shawn Hitchins is quoted as saying, =
> "Even although it isn't a real word, gingerism exists and bullying =
> exists and you can't deny that kids are being subjected to taunts or =
> being bullied in schools just for having red hair." =
> (
> On Google, that unreal word gets 41K raw hits.
> Also worthy of note is "gingerphobia," which looks like it's coined =
> based on "homophobia."

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