Genetic Surprise Could End UK’s Redhead Prejudice

Reuters, April 17, 2013

A team of Scottish genetic researchers say they have developed a powerful tool to combat the bullying of some redheads in Britain. It comes as the result of research showing that one in three Britons is a red-headed gene carrier–they may not be redheads themselves but their future children or grandchilden could be. Jim Drury went to Scotland to find out more.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Mom’s a redhead, so I either have it myself, or my recessive is blond.
    I’m just glad neither of my hair genes carry baldness.

  • The__Bobster

    A remember a few year ago when the Blenders were rejoicing at the fact that gingers would soon die out.

    • Sue

      Yeah, but at least they weren’t racist. Sometimes you have to laugh.

    • Veritas_lux_mea

      Us redheads will never die out. There will be less of us, simply because there will be less White people. The frequency of redheads in the unmixed White population will stay the same.

    • Freya

      Who are the Blenders? I’ve heard in England many are trying to assert that anti-ginger is a form of racism and it’s not usually the redheads arguing this, but whites in general. Although, I’ve heard the anti attitudes seem to be coming from whites originally.
      My theory is that it’s a form of white liberals’ self-loathing but it’s just a theory.

      • Lancasharia

        This is a British thing and dates back many generations. Picking on the Ginger was like picking on the fat kid in the Seventies. They were just the odd one out. It was also mainly confined to boys – ginger boys were usually feisty so a fight would often ensue. It dies out as the kids get to about 16.

      • anonymous_amren

        Blenders just means liberal advocates of miscegenation. There were articles with phony sympathy about the disappearance of red heads. I’m glad to see that won’t happen.

    • pcmustgo

      Blenders… too funny

  • concernedcollegekid

    I wonder if this was published, in part, to make people who are starting to privately worry about the consequences of whites becoming minorities in their own countries feel like they’re being paranoid… “Oh, I’m just a worrywart, these scientists are saying that in a few generations there will be REDHEADS everywhere!”
    And this doesn’t say whether or not 1/3 of white Britons have always carried the red hair gene or if this is new. Is this a new development? If both parents are carriers, what is the probability that the child will have red hair? Clearly not 100%, because then all redheads would have 100% redheaded siblings.

    • freddy_hills

      It’s not a new development.

      Probability of having a child with red hair:

      100% if both parents have red hair
      50% if one parent has red hair and the other carries the gene
      25% if neither parent has red hair but both carry the gene
      0% if neither parent has red hair but one carries the gene

      • Freya

        So if two redheads mate all they’ll have is redheads? My parents are blond and got a blond and a redhead.

        • Michael_C_Scott

          It is a recessive gene.

        • Bad_Mr_Frosty

          If both parents have 2 copies of the recessive gene then the children have a 100% chance of inheriting the gene. Hair color involves multiple genes, so it’s a little more complex than that.

        • freddy_hills

          My probabilities were based on a single gene Mendelian model. I used that model because it’s a good rule of thumb. And there’s really no other way to know unless you have DNA tests or something. Under this model, Brown is dominant, Red semi dominant and Blond recessive. And that’s usually the way it works out.

          But hair color actually involves multiple genes like Mr Frosty said. So the probabilities aren’t as straight forward as I implied. One would normally expect two blonds to have a blond child since that’s the most recessive. Your parents having a child with red hair is unusual but possible.

          As for your question, using the over simplified Mendelian model, each of the two parents could either be a homogeneous redhead (with two red genes) or a heterogeneous redhead (with a semi dominant red gene and a recessive blond gene). Let’s represent the genes with R=red and b=blond. Parent combinations on the left and the most likely 4 child combinations on the right.

          RR & RR = RR, RR, RR, RR
          (4 homogeneous redheads)

          RR & Rb = RR, RR, Rb, Rb
          (2 homogeneous redheads & 2 heterogeneous blonds)

          Rb & Rb = RR, Rb, Rb, bb
          (1 homogeneous redhead, 1 heterogeneous redhead, 1 homogeneous blond)

          As a reminder. These are the most likely combinations. But hair color doesn’t follow straight Mendelian genetics. Regardless, two redheads are most likely to have children with red hair.

          • freddy_hills


      • ProWhite son of Jacob

        My girlfriend’s parents both have brown hair, but both she and her brother have red hair.

        There are some books you can read about how genes work, because it often has more to do with carriers. As you know, some genes will also only “turn on” after a generation. This doesn’t apply to most alleles (and is instead typically used whilst referencing the epigenome). As a recessive allele, it can emerge after several generations of dark hair. It’s difficult to know, because people don’t necessarily know which dormant genes they have. However, and for example, I know there is a probability that I am a carrier because both of my grandmothers were redheads. Red hair is still rare, but sometimes it does unexpectedly emerge.

        As far as redhair bullying… I don’t understand at all the inexplicable dislike. And if we are to reference historical occurrence, it isn’t just “kids messing around.” Maybe it is like that today, but in the Middle Ages redheads were more often accused of being witches and subsequently burned or drowned. I wouldn’t typically characterize death as just pleasant disagreement. During the Spanish inquisition there were also some superstitions regarding red hair and the Devil.

        I found this though; It cites its sources:

    • Andy

      It’s probably 25%, if they both have the same gene (there are a couple different ones that cause it and I don’t know if two different ones will work together).

    • Freya

      I got the same feeling, as when I’ve gone to family events in the last 5-8 years ever since the redheads-going-extinct meme started, various family members have expressed concern. We’re all part Irish so…but even my half italian cousins are upset. The discussion then turns to, why, which involves the problem that europeans aren’t having enough kids, which I don’t think many want us to realize. Since red hair is the most recessive it is disappearing (I’ve heard from a scientist with a redhead kid that there is truth to this). I remind my blond family members that blond is going right after… It also might be a reaction to what I write about above, which is that some brits and who knows else are arguing that this is a form of racism, which the british government refuses to officially recognize. Avoiding that confrontation is likely what they’re trying to avoid.

  • Veritas_lux_mea

    Are redheads in Britain really abused that much, or is this just more liberal victimization nonsense? I have dark red hair, although it used to be lighter, and I honestly can’t recall even once being picked on for it.

    • steve7789

      Bullying of redheads is more common here than anywhere else. Many people think it is a result of English anti celtic prejudice but it also exists in Scotland and Wales.

    • MacRanald

      It’s good natured ribbing etc. Children do things to anyone who stands out is what they are discussing.

      • Lancasharia

        On the whole, although it has been known to lead to violence.

      • Angry White Woman

        If you think it’s just good natured ribbing, ask the red haired child! In many cases it is not in the least good natured, and sometimes downright cruel, unceasing torture. Also many times an adult close to the child like an uncle or close family friend will taunt the red haired child past the limits of human endurance, then chide the child for losing his or her temper. Just a few episodes of this behavior towards a child based solely on the child’s hair color (something the child has no control over) will have a profound effect on the psyche and self-esteem. If you have a red haired child, make sure none of the other adults treat him or her this way–it really is child abuse.

    • Freya

      I’ve heard that it’s true, but that it ranges from more silly to downright violent and cruel. Some redheaded family had to move in England to another town after being bullied.

  • Secret Tribunal

    Redheads dey be rayciss en sheeet all up en heeah.

  • bigone4u

    Women with red hair and a peachy complexion are beautiful. I’m shocked that anyone would bully them. Men, I think worship them. Could it be girls with dark hair who bully them?

    • Dr. X

      Exactly! Some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen are redheads. Bullying redheads??? I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous.

      • Andy

        A relative of mine loathes red hair and thinks all redheads are hideous. Someone else I know makes her little boy with red hair constantly wear a hat to cover it. It’s very sad. What I wonder is *why*? I think it may be partly related to how fair most redheads are. Pale skin is out of style and even looked on as a moral fault.

        • Freya

          Do you think it’s racially motivated, this hatred of pale skin? Because I noticed that even while getting tan was in in the 70’s, the northwestern european people still favored my red hair in spite of that trend, maybe because many of them are blond anyway. i have noted that fair hair – blond and red hair – on females is an absolute target for diversity, particularly blacks, but I’ve also noted that its not just the pretty ones. Often a prettier brunette will evade attack, although in general some cuteness does seem to be a factor. It likely is symbolic to them of whiteness even as white people themselves don’t consider it so.

          • bigone4u

            The local Mexican males will take an “ugly” (I don’t use such terms, but will this time to make a point) white female over a lovely senorita every time. They will also take an older white female. I’ve seen 20 yr old Mexicans throwing themselves at white women in their 60s at parties, while ignoring the cuchi-cuchi dancing queens of their own group.

          • guest

            Usually, people say “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”

            Not when it comes to hookups though.

            Then, often, it’s the devil you don’t know over the one you do.

            Simple sociobiology, really. If you are looking for a quickie or a one nighter, hooking up with someone of your own ilk puts the whole enterprise at risk. Hell, they might want a relationship. You gotta think this stuff out.

          • Who Me?

            Have you noticed they now have makeup especially for redheads? It used to be that makeup was specifically tailored to blondes or brunettes. It never quite worked for redheads, either too cool and pasty-looking or darker and orangey looking. Now they have shades that match the pale but slightly pink tones of our skin, There is brown mascara too rather than that black stuff they called “brown/black” or some blue or even green crap. I’ve only noticed this trend in the last 10 or 12 years. Also noticed that there are more redheaded models and on TV and in movies, starting about the same time frame.

          • Freya

            I don’t wear makeup much, but when I did I noticed that navy mascara actually works the best. Or a dull black, but brown just makes me look red. When I stopped wearing makeup I thought I would be less attractive to men with my pale strawberry blond eyelashes but it didn’t seem to have much effect. In the 90;s red hair became in I think with the advent of the pale skin look that women avoiding the damaging rays of the sun take up.

        • saxonsun

          In backward villages in Greece, redheads are thought to be vampires. Not strange at all since they look so odd in a place like Greece. Of course, this belief has probably died out considerable over the years.

          • David Ashton

            Does that apply to the ladies’ mustaches too?

        • François

          A moral fault? Well, I will go straight to Hell, because I adore women who are redheads (and blondes)! I like brunettes too, but the thing about read hair and blond hair is that such natural hair colours simply do not exist among the other races.

      • Mr Potato

        My ex-g/f was a very pale redhead (with a widowspeak too, rearrhh!) she went over to England for a while and reported to me that she was constantly harassed by blacks, Arabs and Indians wanting to…you know. She said they’d bang on her hotel door at all hours propositioning her.

  • Jefferson

    Nobody in my family has red hair, but than again I am Serbian. Red hair is not very common in the Balkans like it is in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    • brengunn

      I heard that during the Euros in Poland/Ukraine, traveling redhead fans were real curios to the Ukrainians as they don’t have any over there.

      • convairXF92

        Ukrainians have traditionally considered redheads ugly. At least it says so in the “culture” chapter of my Ukrainian language book.

    • Freya

      Is blond hair common among Serbs, and in that part of the world? I would have thought given how fair many Ukrainians are that brengunn’s impression wouldn’t have been true, as they are also often pinkish skinned it seems and I’d figure sometimes redheaded.

      • Jefferson

        Blond hair is more common among Serbs than it is in our neighbors the Bulgarians, Albanians, and Romanians. But the rate of blondism among Serbs is not as high if compared to Northwest Europeans.

        I would say the most common look in Serbia is dark brown hair and light eyes. Think John Travolta for example.

  • Spencer E

    I went to school with a mixed race black ginger. I kid you not

  • So CAL Snowman

    Someone at Reuters has been watching entirely too much South Park.

  • AncientMason

    Aren’t Prince Charles’ kids redheads?

    • IstvanIN

      Prince Harry has reddish hair. The Duke of Cambridge was more of a blond, he is fairly bald now.

  • sean

    What??? Redheads are beautiful. As someone with dark hair and brown eyes I find redheads to be beautiful and exotic. I especially love when the carpet matches the curtains. Redheads are so sexy.

    • bigone4u

      The green eyes that sometimes go along with the red hair are also nice. And at the risk of being a bit risque, I’ll note that if the carpet and curtains don’t match, then there’s a bottle of hair coloring lurking somewhere. Of course, carpetless is the fad of the day.

      • pcmustgo

        I have natural auburn hair… red, but not quite ginger… my carpet doesn’t match my hair at all…

    • Freya

      And I always thought white guys loved me out of familiarity…who knew I was exotica. Well I guess I’ve noticed some consider redheads intriguing but I still think many just love me because I remind them of home or just look ‘apple pie.’

  • a multiracial individual

    No one bullies redheaded kids more than other white kids.

    • Freya

      And you would know this how?

  • Mrfinoni

    attractive red heads are truly unique, young women that might bully them would be solely out of jealousy.

    • Snowflake

      I knew a young lady who was an absolutely stunning natural redhead, although she did color her hair to intensify the color. She had milky white skin and deep blue eyes and could stop traffic. When I mentioned to a “Hispanic” (Spanish Indian) female how beautiful I thought the White woman was, I could see the jealousy and displeasure on the Spanish Indian’s face.

      Praising the beauty of Whites in the presence of Spanish Indians is probably un-PC because it angers the jealous ones (most of them?) that Whites have special characteristics that they and their children can never attain.

  • antiallanbloom

    You know Anne of Green Gables didn’t like being a redhead. IMO red hair looks better on slender teenage females then they do on men.

  • IstvanIN

    Funny how many adult women, including muddy-complexioned hispanics, color their hair red.

    • Jenna Kerr

      I’ve seen lots of black woman who dye their hair red too.

      • IstvanIN

        They’re actually trying for blond but can not do it.

  • Jenna Kerr

    My grandmother had red hair. I have auburn hair. I have a niece with red hair. She is very pretty.

  • Red hair comes in so many depths and shades of Red. Men have loved my redhead, and still do. Don’t get it. Really, there is prejudice of redheads, and you get bullied? I was bullied in school, but not for my red hair. I was very small. Bullying did not last long, when I knocked one of them senseless. Surprises, do come in small packages. But, I have noticed, you don’t see many redheads on t.v.

  • Angry White Woman

    Two redheads will absolutely have redhaired children. One redhead and a brunette can have redhaired or brunette or even blonde children. Two persons who have dark hair can have redhaired children if both carry the recessive gene for red hair. Red hair is recessive and can skip many generations and then reappear. I know this from my own family, and I myself am a redhead. (Married to a brunette man, one redhaired child, one brunette.)

    Redheads are sometimes bullied unmercifully, although it is often covert here in the U.S. and is frowned upon. In the U.K. it is rampant and people there have even been killed for nothing more than having red hair. “Ginger” they call it, and many people actually believe that red haired people have no souls and all other sorts of stupidity.

    Bantu men have a real propensity to try and get blonde and redhaired women into their beds. The results of this pairing is often a hideous mulatto child with horrible orange wool on it’s head…

    • In the U.K. it is rampant and people there have even been killed for nothing more than having red hair. “Ginger” they call it, and many people actually believe that red haired people have no souls and all other sorts of stupidity.
      ? Hard to believe this.

      • Angry White Woman

        Look it up. It is hard to believe, but unfortunately true. I just give thanks that I wasn’t born there! It is also true that “ginger” is an anagram of that other word–the one that starts with an “N”.

        • David Ashton

          I live in the UK and read history, but this is news to me. I had an uncle and friends with ginger hair. “Ginger” is a well-loved character in our Just William books. There is a view that ginger/auburn-haired people are a bit temperamental, just as fat people are supposedly more cheerful than thin ones. Short people are supposedly vain (Bacon’s theory) which may or may not be true in my case; I am not a particularly dapper dresser. Strawberry blondes with green eyes and freckles are considered especially pretty if our TV actress choices are concerned.

          • convairXF92

            Redheads are, on the average, more sensitive to physical pain than other whites. (Look for the NYT archive article and its comments: a number of redheads wrote in saying that no amount of novocaine could block pain for them during dental surgery.) Might be similar re emotional pain.

          • Freya

            I tend to to doubt that.

  • DonReynolds

    I freely admit I have a redhead prejudice…..I prefer them. Blondes are a good substitute (sometimes), but there is nothing more gorgeous than a redhead.

  • DonReynolds

    My hair has never been red, but my beard was always red. Most of my youth, my hair was blonde, then it turned dark brown, and from my 40s onward, it has been snow white (and the beard). I call it platinum blonde. Ha Ha.

  • Carlos Geary

    I am a red haired old man! I am proud of it !

  • NeanderthalDNA

    Woe be to anybody who tried to bully my recently deceased crazy redhead mom. Rest in peace, dear. Your fight is over.

  • David Ashton

    People cannot help how they are born, and that includes people with black skins too. You don’t bully them, but you don’t have to marry them either.

  • ajiarcher

    What they don’t lie Nicole Kidman?

    • David Ashton

      Look at the beautiful redhead movie stars on Google Images.
      Preraphaelite artists liked them.

  • Snowhitey

    For the boys – she’s a little silly but very attractive:

    • This woman is physically attractive, but….. somehow irritating. At least, that’s my opinion.

    • Veritas_lux_mea

      Lol that girl’s youtube channel has almost 80 million views and all her videos are just her babbling nonsensically while in a low cut top. She is gorgeous though.

  • anonymous_amren

    Hilarious comedy video that all race realists should get a kick out of:

  • mobilebay

    Do I count since my red hair comes from a bottle? My born with dark brown hair just didn’ go with fair, freckled (as a child) skin and green eyes. I wouldn’t be anything else.

  • Ralph

    Genes are us.

  • Branksome

    Growing up in England in the fifties and sixties as a red-haired male, it was indeed not unusual to hear “ginger” or “ginge” used as a pejorative. Never could quite figure out why. Have not encountered the same prejudice anywhere else. In any case, it’s all moot now – if anyone were to categorize me by hair color today, it would be “whitey”!

  • Michael_C_Scott

    My sister has brown hair like mine, except that it has a wonderful reddish cast in good light. She stopped beaching it blond in Tempe because the greasers wouldn’t leave her alone. When I grow a mustache and beard, I have a lot of red hair there. There is also a very strong agouti factor in me, which causes some of them to grow in bands of differing color. It seems harmless.

    One of my college girlfriends was five feet nothing, skin the color of milk, and hair like rust. Here eyes were a very deep blue. She had been redirected from UC Irvine and then transferred there because her grades were good (rats!) I thought her drop-dead gorgeous.

    My suspicion is that the bullying of redheads is caused by jealousy, at least where the girls are concerned. Guys don’t really care about how other guys look.

    That said, the same milk-colored skin looks good with any color of hair or eyefolds.

  • Paleoconn

    I think the boys get bullied, it always was hard for redheaded or strawberry blonde boys in school, what with their freckles and very light complexion. I myself don’t get it, I think redheads are gorgeous, especially the women, and I really hope the gene survives. I would be very sad if redheads became extinct.