An article has come out fighting in the Sydney Morning Herald claiming that teasing a redhead isn’t racist or prejudice.. You’ll note from a previous post I wrote about reds, that I can take the ginger nut biscuit jabs on the chin. You kind of have to. Years of experience have taught me that people generally don’t have any issues with redheads… they just tease us, er, because they’re jealous? Because they have unresolved childhood parental issues? Because… um.
The reason I’m writing this post isn’t really to do with redheads. It’s to do with teasing and bullying in general. Did being teased as a child / adolescent ‘toughen me up’ and ‘make me a stronger person’? Probably. But it also made me feel ugly, humiliated, ashamed, outcast, bewildered and angry. You only become tougher and stronger and funnier because you end up having to fight the demons inside as well as outside. Bullying torments kids, it always has. It cuts them deep where people can’t always see and sometimes where they can.
Does something have to be racist or prejudicing a minority group for it to be wrong? I think not.
To this day I still get ‘good natured’ teasing… How oh how can we ever teach our children that bullying is wrong if their adult role models are doing it themselves? Can a child tell the difference between calling a redhead a ranga or calling a black person a darkie? See, it’s really plain how hurtful comments can be when you put them into context like that.
My hair colour doesn’t define me any more than the colour of a person’s skin defines them.
I wish supposedly mature adults would stop making blonde jokes, redhead jokes, fat jokes, female jokes… it’s endless the way we carry on. And I wish supposedly mature adults would stop defending hurtful remarks as being ‘harmless’, ‘a bit of fun’, ‘can’t you take a joke?’ It really. isn’t. funny. I wish we could all just grow up and be the people we want our kids to be.
Maybe then our children will learn that teasing and bullying hurts people in ways they can’t imagine. Oh, please, maybe then.