Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The plot thickens: As a follow-up to the last post, I wanted to see if the risk of arrest varies by hair color. I found that people with red or salt and pepper hair had the highest rates of arrest when stopped. As I wrote before, 4.1% of the entire sample was arrested.

Percent with red hair who were arrested

Black 10.9
White Hispanic 10.9
White 6.7
All cases 8.0

Percent with salt and pepper hair arrested

Black 7.8
Black Hispanic 8.7
White Hispanic 9.1
White 7.8
All cases 8.0

When I saw the number for red-headed blacks, my first thought was Malcolm X. Then I remembered an analysis I did of GSS data which showed that Scottish Americans are angrier people than blacks. (The Irish, not so much). And I have no idea on folks with salt and pepper hair. It's most common among whites. You guys gotta help me out with an explanation.

I charge the NYPD with gingerism--prejudice against redheads.


  1. Scottish stereotypes?

    We are not just tight with money. Mess with us and we'll set about ye!

  2. Oops make that Scotsman.(..wait a minute laddy, ye can go to hell if you don't like it!! :))

  3. Isn't that an actual, real prejudice in England?

  4. "Isn't that an actual, real prejudice in England?"

    I once told an English Trotskyist I knew that I was going off to see a
    local version of the Highland Games replete with mass bagpiping. He expressed obvious disgust and made some remarks about New Year's in England being a holiday for obnoxious Scotsmen.

  5. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Many people do have a strong reaction to redheads. They see them as an other, so to speak. They just can't be at ease with a flame head around them, just like if a black man were around them. Timid creatures these brunettes.

  6. Anonymous10:13 PM

    This article has received 30 pages of comments and I read some the other day. One doctor laid it on the line and said that he believed redheads were psychologically more sensitive in addition to physically so. Every single redhead from his best friend to past girlfriends conformed to stereotype and he married non-redheads despite finding them most attractive.

    I'm beginning to think it is true. I'm a redhead and always believed the stereotype was nonsense until college. There, I was surrounded by people of similar intelligence and found I was more "passionate" or more easily riled up than them. Still too smart to ever make a scene in public, though.

  7. Occupant1:30 AM

    James Q. Wilson has suggested that taller people have higher arrest rates because they are easier to identify and track down. Something similar may be at work here.


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