A Christmas card that shows a red-head being bounced on Santa’s knee and reads: “SANTA loves all kids. Even GINGER ones”, has been called “discrimination, pure and simple.”
A Tesco store in York removed the card from its shelves after complaints from 30-year-old Davinia Phillips. The mother of three, whose young daughters all have ginger hair, said society comes down hard on how people look, and she is disgusted by the card made by Essex-based greeting card company, Quitting Hollywood.
“It’s discrimination, pure and simple. I have shown it to a lot of friends and they are all disgusted by it,” Phillips said. “I just don’t find it funny at all.”
Often a man’s hair loss is the brunt of humorous banter and blonde jokes don’t leave much grace for our fair-haired counterparts either, but is the ginger jibe going too far?
Earlier this year, Prince William was caught joking with Prince Harry about his younger brother’s red hair, but only after Harry made fun of the future king’s balding crown.
An article about the psychological aspects of wit and humour, published by the California Folklore Society, says, “The impact jokes have on listeners depends on the social context in which the joke is told and visual images the joke creates in the listener’s mind.”
Ceri Radford, Assistant Comment Editor of the Telegraph, believes the Tesco Christmas card is not aimed at red-haired children, rather it’s marketed at the “adult, tongue-in-cheek market.”
“Note the economy-style price on the front, the clinically obese Santa and the low-rent, plastic Christmas tree,” Radford writes in her column. “It is not really poking fun at ginger people, it is poking fun at rubbish Christmas cards.”
A spokesman for Tesco said that some cards “are intended to be humorous”, but has apologised for the ginger card, saying it was never meant to offend. However, Phillips is still appalled by the card that she has labelled discriminatory.
“If it had been about a black child or an overweight child the store would have been shut down by now,” she said.
Raford seems to think, however, that the reception of the Christmas card is misconstrued and a little over-the-top.
“Discrimination is a serious word which suggests unfairly depriving someone of opportunities, not mocking them gently through the medium of an ironic Christmas card…I don’t think we need to start building a bonfire for dubious Christmas cards.”