Friday, September 05, 2008

I was often called a 'red-headed step-child'.

'The origin of the phrase "red haired step child" dates to the 1830's & 40's when Irish emigrants began arriving in America.

The newly arrived Irish were somewhere below free blacks on the social scale at the time, and lived in segregated communities.

Then, like now, young men were having sexual relations with young women before marriage.

Sometimes the men were Irish and the girls were not.

This resulted in many out of wedlock children with that red Irish hair.

When these young women did finally marry, usually to a young man not of Irish descent, the new husband was not particularly patient or sympathetic to the red haired step child and treated them harshly.

The phrase is derogatory although many do not know its origin, it is still considered an insult to knowledgeable people of Irish descent, and should be avoided in polite conversation.'

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