This evening I attended a delightful event part of the Moseley Fesitval– Gingerfest. It was an event designed to celebrate all shades and shapes of Gingerness, it was meant to bring together a minority who are subjected to the last socially acceptable form of racism and demonstrate there’s pride within the ginger community. I’ve spent years being the butt of wisecracks about my hair, being asked probing questions about my parentage and generally bullied by people who don’t understand or empathise with how it feels to be ginger.
The event was covered by one of your photographers taking photos of attendees celebrating for the paper. He gathered the organiser, a true ginger and his wife, a non-ginger wearing a ginger wig for the evening, together for a photo outside the Fighting Cocks in Moseley. As I made a move to join the photo, your staff member held up his hand and said “Sorry mate, you’re not ginger enough”. You’ll no doubt be surprised by this attitude from one of your staff members, as I was. I’ve spent my whole life being told by society, friends and bullies I was too ginger and at one of the first events to celebrate gingerness I’m bluntly told that I’m not ginger enough. Not ginger enough, we wouldn’t dream of telling a person from an ethnic minority they’re not this enough or that enough but your photographer gave no thought to his actions or words and told me I couldn’t be part of a photograph that would demonstrate how proud I am to be ginger.
My reaction was one of surprise and anger that this kind of attitude can be seen as acceptable and goes unchallenged. The other attendees at gingerfest, both gingers and non-gingers, were shocked and appalled at the attitude of your staff member.
I trust at the next Gingerfest event in 2010 you’ll send along someone who will work with more of an awareness of their actions and words.