Natural Socialite

Peet Peeve Alert! Please stop saying “Dreadlocks”!!!

In Education, Natural Hair, Socialite Says on May 19, 2011 at 8:48 am
bob_marley_01

Bob Marley

Ok. This post stems from a conversation my husband & I had at lunch yesterday about this lady walking up to me and asking if I was “gonna let my hair dread”.  Now my husband KNOWS how much I 1) Hate the term “Dreadlocks” 2) Hate people assuming that since I’m natural, that it must be because I plan on locking my hair, so he immediately looked down at my face in anticipation of my “WTF” look.  Yeah, she got hit with the “WTF” face.

My WTF face

Let me start off by saying that yes, I know that most people are not really “into” natural hair the way I am.  Yeah, I understand that my fascination with natural hair is borderline obsessive.  I get that. But dang!  I can’t help but to get annoyed when people make generalizations and assumptions just because someone has natural hair.  And not to mention the term “dreadlocks”. To me, that’s the same as someone using a word to describe something and they have no idea what the word means.

Ok. Now I cannot sit here and rant about how this term sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me without explaining why this term is inappropriate offensive  to me.

Locs are not just related to the Rastafari movement, but are historically connected to a spiritual journey or relationship of the person wearing their hair in this manner. The term “dreadlocks” is a synthesis of the words dread & locks and was historically used to signify the “dread” in those who wore their hair like this. The Rastafari religion was once seen as a threat to Christianity and came under attack by the authorities that tried to suppress the ‘Rasta’ movement. Their dreadlocks were thought to be disgusting and frightening, hence the term ‘dread’ . It was also said that the wearer lived a “dread” life or a life in which he feared God, which gave birth to the modern name ‘dreadlocks’ in relation to this ancient style.

The term dreadlocks has a negative connotation attached to it, which is why people who are aware of the history behind this term prefer the use of “locks (locs)” or “African locks (locs)”.  Today, locks signify spiritual intent, natural and supernatural powers, and are a statement of non-violent non-conformity, communalism and socialistic values, and solidarity with less fortunate or oppressed minorities.

I understand that while many people wear locs as an expression of ethnicity and as an expression of their religious convictions, that some people wear them as a fashion preference. That’s fine with me.  I can be cool with that.  My only hope is that people will look deeper into the history behind the things that they do in search for a better (or any for that matter) understanding. Even though you may have decided to wear your hair in a loc style as a fashion statement, just try to be aware that it can be so much more than that for some people and that this term that you are comfortable throwing around can & may come across just as offensive as someone calling you a NI%$@.

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