Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Gingers. Ginger genes. Witches. And a bit about prejudice.

It’s Tuesday. So my daughter and the smallest granddaughter came for breakfast. It’s become quite a nice routine. My daughter doesn’t work on Tuesdays and so she drops her two middle children off at school, which they like instead of having to catch the bus, and then she comes on here with the tiny person for coffee, toast and scrambled egg. Then they go off to an outdoor activity together. Today, in return for breakfast they brought me a ginger muffin. I’ll meet them later and we'll do a library trip together.

I read in some report from the BBC that Australian redheads, a tiny minority in the continent, are going crazy for Prince Harry. I never thought of him as a redhead. In early photos I thought of him as a sort of sandy blond but grown up pictures show him very ginger, beard and all. Maybe he uses a special shampoo to boost the colour, as my grandmother used to use camomile rinses to calm hers down, or so I am told.

In Australia they call ginger people “rangas”, a term derived from orangutan, the redheaded monkey. Originally it must have been a term of abuse but redheads have made it their own. Rangas and proud! I never understood why people feel the need to mock redheads. Maybe it’s because there are fewer of us than people with most other hair colours. I always enjoyed being a bit different. As I said; Ranga and proud!

There is, of course, inevitably I suppose,  speculation about the royal foetus. Will Harry and Meghan’s child be a redhead? Some people are saying that because Meghan has freckles she might also carry the ginger gene. Really! Who knew that freckles were an indicator of gingerness. Many gingers are of the very pale variety, without a freckle to be seen Anyway, apparently both parents need to carry gene for there be a chance of a redheaded child. And even then it’s only a one in four chance.

So my daughter need not have worried that she might have a ginger baby, which she seemingly was quite concerned about. Neither she nor her brother are redheads, although he does sport a rather ginger-tinged beard! Somewhere down the line though, who knows how far into the future, a little ginger baby may appear. Which will be interesting if that baby also inherits the Asian looks from the smallest grandchild. There is nothing like a good genetic cocktail!

The smallest grandchild, two and a bit years old, is rapidly expanding her vocabulary and has recently learnt, after a fashion, about stuff connected with Hallowe’en. Pumpkin and witch have been added to her lexicon. And being afraid of witches has been added to her emotional lexicon. So the other day in the middle of a big store in Manchester she saw a witchy-looking lady on the escalator and declared, clear as a bell, for all to appreciate: “Mummy! Daddy! A witch! I scared!”

 And of course it’s often through fear that prejudice begins, it’s a good job she hears stories of nice witches as well and so can already play at being scared.

Life is complicated! Like genetics!

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