US/World

Comedian Leads First-Ever 'Ginger Pride' March In Scotland

'Ginger Pride' March Held In Scotland
Poking fun at prejudice, redheads in Edinburgh marched in "affirmation" for those with the recessive traits of red hair, light skin with freckles, and blue, green, or hazel eyes. Creative Commons

A 2005 episode of Comedy Central’s South Park brought attention to the British prejudice against “gingers” to America, when the racist Cartman delivers a hate speech inveighing against those with phenotypes most common to Scotland.

Standing before his fourth-grade class, Cartman delivers the following: “My speech is entitled ‘Ginger Kids, Children With Light Hair, Skin And Freckles.’ We’ve all seen them, at the playground, at the store, walking on the streets. They creep us out, and make us feel sick to our stomachs. I am talking, of course, about ginger kids.”

To date, many Americans might be unaware of a lingering prejudice against gingers in the United Kingdom, particularly with a more sobering history of black slavery and racial segregation to a contemporary divide between Blacks and whites across a number of metrics.

But with a light-hearted spirit, light-featured gingers marched on Saturday through Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, poking fun at the prejudice. Billed as the U.K.’s first “Ginger Pride Walk,” proud redheads gathered outside the Balmoral Hotel that morning to be led through the streets by a redheaded comedian, Shawn Hitchins of Canada.

Scotland is reputed to be home to one-fifth of the world’s redheads, the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) reported.

"Even though 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,” Hitchins told BBC on Saturday. "In Canada there's not a lot of redheads, and for me as a really ridiculously gay kid, having red hair only heightened my sense of isolation because nobody looked like me, nobody lisped like me or burnt under the sun like I did."

The event drew attention from a Scottish diaspora and redheads around the world, Hitchins said. "They've all been in touch with me. It's almost like I've opened a door and realised there was an actual party on the other side.”

Most common among indigenous peoples of Northern and Western Europe, one to two percent of the world population is comprised of redheads.

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