Justin Lloyd, News Corp Australia

'Ranga' as bad as racist slur says Dr Andrew Rochford

DR ANDREW Rochford wants Australians should stop using the term "ranga" and says it's just as offensive as racist or homophobic slurs.

The radio host and guest doctor on The Biggest Loser took to Instagram last night to criticise those who use the word, after his 10-year-old son Archie was bullied at school for having red hair.

"The first time he told me he was being bullied because of his hair I encouraged him to 'be strong buddy, you're amazing', and they are just going for the 'easy target'," he wrote.

"But when he comes to me and says he's being called a 'f***ing ranga' TARGETED for something he cannot change, I am broken ... completely broken.

"He is brave and strong and a far better person than most, and he tells me ' don't worry Dad, I'm fine' . But I'm not .. not at all ...I'm sick of the hypocrisy & intolerance. I. AM. DONE.

"To ALL who think it's 'funny' to discriminate and bully someone for something they CANNOT change....you are no better than a racist or a homophobe. You throw it out there in an attempt to seem witty or clever, you are NOT. You are as shallow and ignorant and PATHETIC as all the other narrow-minded bigots that inhabit our beautiful planet.

"So take a f***ing long hard at yourself..because if you perpetuate victimisation in your house, or your workplace or on a stage or the radio or television ... YOU are the problem ...YOU! The boys that are picking on my son, weren't born to be so mean, they have learnt from you."
 

 

This is my son Archie. He is 10. And I wouldn't normally share something like this, but I HAVE to..I can't hold this in anymore. He is the most beautiful boy you could ever meet. He cares about everyone,... genuinely.... with every bit of his heart. I have tried to teach him the importance of treating others the way you want to be treated, it's a simple idea, and I could never have expected him to care so much about those words. If you fall, he will pick you up..if you're sad, he will try to make you smile..if you cry, he will hold your hand. And as I write this, I cry. You can see my beautiful boy has red hair.... beautiful red hair....He didn't choose his hair.... he can't change his hair....and he should not have too. The first time he told me he was being bullied because of his hair I encouraged him to 'be strong buddy, you're amazing' ,and they are just going for the 'easy target'....But when he comes to me and says he's being called a 'fucking ranga' TARGETED for something he cannot change, I am broken...completely broken. He is brave and strong and a far better person than most, and he tells me ' don't worry Dad, I'm fine' . But I'm not ..not at all....I'm sick of the hypocrisy & intolerance. I. AM.DONE. To ALL who think it's 'funny' to discriminate and bully someone for something they CANNOT change....you are no better than a racist or a homophobe. You throw it out there in an attempt to seem witty or clever, you are NOT. You are as shallow and ignorant and PATHETIC as all the other narrow-minded bigots that inhabit our beautiful planet. So take a fucking long hard look at yourself..because if you perpetuate victimisation in your house, or your workplace or on a stage or the radio or television....YOU are the problem...YOU! The boys that are picking on my son, weren't born to be so mean, they have learnt from you. And to all the gangly kids, the kids with big ears, the ones born in different countries, or with different coloured skin, a different way of speaking, or different ANYTHING that you can't change..I am here for you..100 percent. I will fight for you, just as I will fight for Archie....because ALL of this has to end. #stop #bullying

A post shared by Dr Andrew Rochford (@drandrewrochford) on

 

Dr Rochford told WSFM's Jonesy & Amanda on Wednesday morning that Archie had started to catch a different bus to school in the morning to avoid the boys who call him a "ranga".

"It reached the point yesterday where he's avoiding getting the bus. His mate who's short is being picked on for being short, and the two of these kids had to change the way they get home," he said.

"He's talking to me about changing the bus he had to catch because these boys are continually targeting him, for something he has absolutely no control over. There's nothing wrong with it, he's not doing anything to offend anyone or anything, except for the fact that's he's just different."

While we no longer find it acceptable to use racial or homophobic slurs, the word "ranga" is still seen a fun, harmless taunt, Dr Rochford said.

"I could tell you right now, we could all list a whole raft of other examples of words that are used to denigrate somebody based on their race or anything else that we no longer accept in society," he said.

"I don't want to make his life any harder but I also want to teach him that you have to stand up for what you believe in and fight for stuff that is wrong.

"We think it's nothing too big a deal - the Kiwi joke or the redhead joke - but kids absorb all this stuff. They absorb the idea of focusing on the difference in another person and turning that into some kind of power over that person. It's what we're all trying to push away from," he said.
 

Dr Andrew Rochford and his three children Archie and twins Ava and Georgie.
Dr Andrew Rochford and his three children Archie and twins Ava and Georgie. News Corp Australia

Earlier this year, Channel Nine presenter Leila McKinnon, whose son has red hair, also called on Australians to "ditch the word ranga".

"Is it OK to compare someone to an ape? No, it's not, so let's all ditch the word 'ranga' shall we?" she wrote on Nine Honey.

"Generally I love Australianisms but 'ranga' is almost always used offensively and it's such an ugly sounding term. Please do feel free to tell the kids that their hair is beautiful.

"They're probably going to need a bit of hair confidence as they slather themselves in sunscreen and venture out into the cruel world of the school playground.

But here's how to shock the parent of a redhead. Tell them their child has sparkling eyes, wonderful manners, or a contagious laugh. Anything but the hair. Because, although it may be the first thing you notice about them, it's not the only thing, they're little boys and girls with a lot more to offer than the colour of their hair."

News Corp Australia


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