Gingers, an Endangered Species


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Native gingers may go out in search of other natural redheads in the vast land of Memorial High School, but will come up short day after day, rarely catching a glimpse of their fellow species.

Fair-skinned, freckled redheads like Sarah Margo and Christopher Zellers are rarities. They are easily noticed walking down the halls or standing in the lunch line because there are very few, if any, other gingers at this school.

Believed to be the rarest hair color in the world, red hair is said to occur in only about 1.3% of the population.

“They’re a needle in a haystack”, said sophomore Cameron Alaniz.

Statistically speaking, that’s how it is for the gingers – one single needle in a massive heap of hay. But when you’re speaking about appearances, they aren’t quite so hard to find. Margo feels that people here notice her more just because of her bright hair.

“It’s different [to be one of the only red heads] because a lot of people have black and brown hair and you really stand out,” she said. “You can’t do anything bad in public without people remembering who you are.”

That might make you think twice before wishing you had the tell-tale red hair and freckles of a ginger.

There’s also the plethora of ginger jokes and vicious stereotypes that the average redhead must endure.

“I hear that I have no soul pretty often”, said Margo. “It’s really annoying.”

That specific joke about gingers was made popular by the South Park episode “Ginger Kids” that first aired in 2005 where one of the characters, Cartman, gives a class presentation that resembles a hate speech, arguing that “Gingers”—people with red hair, freckles, and pale skin—are disgusting, inhuman, unable to survive in sunlight, and have no souls; all because of a condition called “Gingervitis”. Since then, it has become the most frequent and ridiculous joke that Margo and Zeller hear when they are at school.

The term ‘ginger’ is pretty commonly used today, yet no one seems to know where the word came from. It could be because the flower of the ginger plant is often red, because of Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, or maybe it’s just a term made up overseas to further distinguish the group. One thing that is clear about the term is the definition. Zeller and Margo both simply define a ginger as “a person with red hair.”

“I think the gingers at Memorial are different than others because I feel as if they’re the most spontaneous and exciting” said junior Jessica Coronado. “They naturally have something interesting about themselves.”

The fiery red hair of these unique students doesn’t escape the public’s eye, and they are fully aware of that. Instead of shying away from the attention or becoming bitter about the color of their hair, Margo and Zeller embrace it.

“It’s kind of rare to be a ginger”, Zeller said, “and it’s not a bad thing. I don’t know, I kind of like it.”