An open letter to the editor of the Birmingham Mail

Dear Sir,

This evening I attended a delightful event part of the Moseley FesitvalGingerfest. 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.


Ben Whitehouse.

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5 Responses to An open letter to the editor of the Birmingham Mail

  1. Jon Hickman says:

    This has happened to me all too often but only at the hands of those whe feel they are more Ginger than me. Was your photographer a Ginger himself?

    • benjaminbrum says:

      I must admit I’m less than kind to ginger people who deny their gingerness (why be ashamed and see my tweets last night about @redwineboy) but I’d never judge someone because I feel I’m more ginger than they are.

      The photographer wasn’t a ginger. A member of the brown haired oppressors.

      Solidarity, gingers, solidarity. 😉

  2. benjaminbrum says:

    I had this very swift response from Steve Dyson (I get the feeling he was backing away slowly from the computer thinking “nutjob”):

    Dear Mr Whitehouse,
    Many thanks for your email.
    I have read your complaint carefully and, while I am sure there was no intent to annoy, I am of course sorry if you felt any offence.
    I will share your comments with the picture desk so they can take your perceptions onboard.
    Best wishes
    Steve Dyson
    Editor, Birmingham Mail
    and Sunday Mercury
    Direct tel: 0121 234 5688

  3. Jon Hickman says:

    On the plus side a lady who used to cut my hair used to coo and say how lovely it was and how it was a shame I wasn’t a girl. I’m not sure what to make of that

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