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Discrimination Against Redheads Essay

2077 words - 8 pages

Discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudice are constant problems in society which are consistent at any age in all cultural and social settings. The results of discriminative behaviour against different children can impair psychological development and result in depression episodes which sometimes lead to suicide (Schoolboy bullied, 2009). Suicide among adolescents is not a new phenomenon, but discrimination based on appearance is definitely a form of catalyst that makes the pressure of growing up higher and unbearable (Konopka, 1983). This research will focus on discrimination against redheads because scientific research has covered other forms of discrimination based on appearance, but discrimination against redheads remains a neglected area in both society (Bellasugar Australia, 2009) and scientific research.
The gene mutation responsible for ginger hair was discovered in 1995, but this research did not leave any significant impact and future research based on this discovery was dedicated to exploring other differences in genetic constitution between redheads and people with other hair colour (Johansen, 2005). For example, it is established that red hair is the first phenotype linked to pain tolerance (Knight, 2002). Research by Edwin Liem, Teresa Joiner, Kentaro Tsueda, and Daniel Sessler (2005) proved that redheads are more sensitive to thermal pain than women with dark hair, and the results have confirmed previous studies regarding redhead resistance to anaesthetics. There were several limitations to this study, including possible bias from the investigators and subjective responses from participants, but Liem, Joiner, Tsueda, and Sessler (2005) have reached the desired conclusion because they did not consider these limitations serious, and their research results have been consistent with previous findings.
The reasons for discrimination against redheads based on their hair colour can be traced back in history even before the Dark Ages. Most negative associations regarding redheads was based on the notion that they were witches whose hair was read because they have brought the flames of hell with them to this world (Johansen, 2005). Eve's hair was coloured red in Christian paintings, and her son Cain was destined to have red hair because of his mother's original sin and because they have fallen from grace (Johansen, 2005). Red hair was the first sign of additional birthmarks which were regarded as abnormalities and signs that a person is somehow connected to the devil (Johansen, 2005).
Although beliefs against redheads are based purely on biased reasoning and superstitious beliefs, discrimination against redheads is still a current issue. Both children and adults with red hair can become targets for verbal or physical abuse. For example, new parents in Britain ask if their baby is ginger before they ask about gender or any other characteristics (Emling, 2007), and an advertisement by the Victorian Government encouraged people to...

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