Saturday, October 30, 2010

Harriet Harman and her 'ginger rodent' jibe

Did you know there is an ongoing prejudice in the UK against red hair or ginger as the Brits call it? It's hard to believe that children get teased and bullied at school simply because of their hair colour but it's true. This prejudice, called gingerism in the UK, is supposedly not as prevalent as it once was but it's still around.

Indeed, gingerism became the talking point everywhere today because of a shocking insult made by the former deputy prime minister, Harriet Harman. Speaking at the Labour party's Scottish conference she called the Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander a "ginger rodent". Now this would be bad enough on its own but it's much worse when you consider that Harriet Harman is a former equalities minister! Also, she didn't just make the insult up in the spur of the moment - it was a scripted speech!

I think Harriet Harman's jibe is shocking! Name-calling is childish and a form of bullying. I know politics can be harsh but resorting to personal insults is shameful. I'm sure parents of ginger-haired children don't find Harriet Harman's choice of words at all amusing! How can parents teach their children to accept others no matter what they look like after Ms Harman makes a speech containing such an obvious slur against people with ginger hair? Yes, Harriet Harman has apologised since it became such big news today but the damage has been done. Children with ginger hair in the UK will continue to be the brunt of cruel jokes and the target of bullies. It will only stop when everyone makes it clear that it's not okay to make fun of ginger hair. In my opinion, gingerism is never acceptable.

Do you think her jibe was just a harmless joke? This is what I've been reading from Labour supporters on twitter.

What are your thoughts about the incident? 


  1. A case of the biter bit,and under her "laws" should she not be reported to......well.... somebody! and duly punished.

  2. She didn't break any laws but she certainly has undermined her own campaign for equality. I'm sure she regrets her choice of words now.