Like anyone, redheads are subject to a little harassment for standing out. They have pale freckled skin, an extremely uncommon hair color, and fall within several stereotypes of having a fiery temperament. But for one redhead, 23-year-old Alex Kosuth-Phillips, truly believes he was assaulted out of the blue over simply being a “ginger.” Ginger can be considered a derogatory term for redheads.
Alex Kosuth-Phillips was out late celebrating his birthday with his girlfriend at Pizza Land in Selly Oak, Birmingham, England in February 2012, when he was allegedly targeted for having red hair and attacked. He claimed the assailant approached and began unleashing disparaging names without provocation and punched Phillips in the face.
The Daily Mail reports Phillips had to endure surgery to insert a metal plate in order to set his otherwise broken jaw. He lost a few teeth and spent three months drinking his meals through a straw.
Yahoo UK News reports Phillips saying:
“All I remember is walking into the pizza parlor and there were two of them [the attacker and his friend]. One of them said something to my girlfriend, I asked what he said and he started swearing, becoming abusive and mocking my ginger hair. I said I didn’t need it and I was leaving. All I remember was opening the door and the next thing I knew I was in hospital, where I had to have lots of surgery. It’s just not fair that people go around doing this kind of thing. They show no care for what they have done and they show no remorse.”
The identity of the assailant is still unknown. Police there are seeking information that will lead to an arrest.
Culturally, redheads have been both ridiculed and admired. Red hair varies in manifestations of strawberry blond to blazing copper and burgundy hues. It occurs naturally on approximately one to two percent of the human population, more frequently in people hailing from northern or western European ancestry.
Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein. This is also associated with having less melanin generated in the skin, explaining why redheads are often fair and do not tan. They are photosentive to the sun and have a tendency to burn; more predisposed to developing skin cancer as a result.