Kate Hutner, Writer/Designer

You are sitting in your sixth period class, and, out of the corner of your eye, you no- tice a flaming red blob. What could this be? Has there been a fire? As you turn your head to acknowledge the glowing red area, you feel even more on edge. It is, indeed, a ginger. You have heard about them before, remembering the sayings that gingers have no souls and are possibly witches, but you have never witnessed one in person. You glare with confusion. This person seems harmless, just like every other human in your class (but a little paler). However, you have always had this suspicion that they are their own kind, their own species. You are intrigued, but don’t have the courage to inch closer and observe. Don’t worry; that’s why I am here. You can stay in your seat and learn about gingers from a distance, and then, only if you gain the courage and knowledge about gingers, you might even be willing to venture and talk to the one in your class. I swear, we don’t bite.

Although having ginger hair may be considered a warning sign of a witch or a person with no soul, there is a bigger picture to be seen. Red hair is the rarest hair color in the world, with only 1-2 percent of the world’s population carrying it. In addition, if you have red hair with blue eyes, you are considered the rarest of all, with only a million people possessing this combination of traits. This is due to blue eyes being recessive, as well as red hair, leading to a double recessive trait. So, if gingers are so rare, then why are they so hated instead of praised? Where did the misconceptions about them begin? Are they truly safe to be around, or do you need to watch your back in the halls?

The basis of the stereotype appears to have begun in Ancient Egypt and Greece. Gingers were viewed in two different manners, seen as either evil witches or as praise-worthy gods. When archeologists found the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs, they discovered that several had reddish pigments. Around 500 BC, the first redhead was mentioned by Xenophanes, an Ancient Greek poet who established a god with red hair and blue eyes – just like the ginger in the back of your anatomy class, right? Also, the Acropolis museum in Athens holds statues of ginger women displayed for their honor. In contrast, the Ancient Greeks also believed that gingers turned into vampires after death. So gingers were not always praised. Like the Greeks, the Egyptians had mixed feelings as well, believing redheads were unlucky and should be sacrificed, even buried alive, to show their god that they wanted to end the bad luck.

Nowadays, every ginger has at least experienced one ginger remark, whether that be the classic “you have no soul” or the more in depth comment of “pumpkin head” or “carrot top”. Luckily we do not face as harsh of a harassment as our kind did in the past, but the issue still stands. According to Cole Steinacker (11), one of the rare red individuals at HHS, he does indeed “think gingers will forever be a joke in society” but has “never taken any of the ginger jokes to heart”. Although gingers have been joked about and have had misconceptions about them in the past, the jokes about gingers are often taken to humor for most. Nova Bennett (12), another ginger amongst HHS, enjoys the classic line of “gingers have no souls.” She “likes when people tell her she has no soul, because it’s true”. Maybe the next time you see a ginger roaming the halls or out in the wild, you will be more open-minded, no longer thinking they have no soul, but rather admiring their fiery hair and their rarity.