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Dreadlocks & Discrimination: Interview Questions

5 years ago
14 posts

Hey! I'm writing a paper on dreadlocks and any discrimination toward them. Here are interview questions if you would like to voice your opinion.

1) About your hair-- How old are your dreads? What method did you use? (backcombing, neglect...) Why did you decide to get them?

2) How do people react to your dreads now and when you started? (friends, family, strangers)

3) Have you experienced any kind of discrimination? (work, school, in general) Any particular stories?

4) It seems like one of the major misconceptions is how clean they are. What do you use to wash your hair (vinegar rinse?) & how often? Do you consider them clean?

5) What are the other most common misconceptions people have about dreads that you wish they would know? Do you feel like any of the stereotypes are actually true?

updated by @fiddlesticks268: 02/14/15 06:11:59AM
Baba Fats
5 years ago
2,710 posts

I worked for Whole Foods as a cook for 5 years and had my locks the entire time. I started them by TnR and back combing, but left the rest to neglect after I realized how destructive I was treating them (not the TnR and back combing). At one point they were only 6-8 inches long. I knew, though, that at some point my locks would be too long for the hair net. I heard from some people at a different store that they made tams with the store logo on them. So I brought the topic up to my store boss. He straight up told me that he would never allow me to have that hat because no one else wore it. And that when they got that long, I'd have to choose between my hair and my job.

That was the biggest discrimination I've faced. My mom, aunt, and grandfather still hate my locks, and are vocal about it. Bust most people seem to like them.

The only thing that I get a lot is that people think I am either rasta, or know where the drugs are at at festival/concerts. I don't do any drugs other than smoke cigs. I don't drink or smoke pot.

Κύριε Ελέησόν
5 years ago
92 posts
1.). My dreads are six months old. I tnr'd them. I wanted them to help me humble myself and remind myself that I'm beginning a journey into my new religion/way of life.2.). Most people wondered why I'd do such a thing to my hair. "I was so pretty/my hair was so pretty" before.3.). Lol, yes... I was sick and went to Panera. The cashier made fun of me for being high. ?? And once I was stopped at a gas station, my friend went inside and overheard the manager telling the employee to make sure the camera was on, he didn't like the way I looked. An old guy once told me I was disrespectful for presenting myself in such a dismal.shape then proceeded to ask if I went to church like I look. Things like that.4.). I use Jason's Tea Tree shampoo and Vickie's Goddess dread bar. I wash at least three times a week (after work) due to where I work. They're definitely clean.5.). I get a lot of, "Wow. I didn't know white people hair could dread with/without washing it!" And most people assume I'm a liberal, left-wing fanatic, hippie. Then of course the association with drug culture. I know the first one is just ignorance and can be helped. The latter isn't necessarily true. I'm not a liberal anyway.
5 years ago
172 posts

1. My locks are prolly an official 7 months old, and I started them naturally.

2. I decided to get them for various reasons, mainly spiritual ones though. I actually decided to get dreadlocks once I realized there was a natural way of doing it, otherwise before that I found no appeal to getting dreadlocks myself, even though I did like the look of them.

3. I believe often times at school I am sometimes looked down on by my teachers for being a male and growing my hair as long as I do(my beard really doesn't help the situation).

4. I wash my hair two to three times a week with the dreadlockshampoo. I consider my hair/locks to be clean, and recently have felt as if they have only gotten cleaner :D.

5. I think a very common misconception many people have about dreadlocks is that any type of hair type outside of African hair, cannot lock naturally. Even saying this, a common misconception in general is that locks have to be done at a salon in order to exist. I think anothermisconceptionis that many of us who are locking, is that we do drugs. Not to say that some don't, but I would surely not say that all dreads do.

☮ soaring eagle ॐ
5 years ago
28,957 posts

1 in a couple months will be 23 years i used the lost my comb in the woods method

2 99.999% react with massive respect admiration a lil amazement and a whole lotta attraction (attraction in the drawn to me/them sence but also plenty of the drool inducing kind) mostly i get cars rollin down their windows to yell out "respect" or "awesome dreads" as they drive by.. although my mom for the 1st 15 years chased me with scissors everytime she came to visit (highly annoying)

3 descrimination? hmm ignorance and stupidity..plenty but i guess descrimination i just stupidity and ignorance being focussed on others diferences so i dont think i face descriminatio cause i fce the igniorance at uits core instead

4 i used to use baking soda and acv now use amazing hand made all natural dread soap my dreads are soooo cleane so soft so yummy smelling th dirty dread thing comes from using waxz to imitate dreading and dirt getting trapped in it

5 all dreads are drug addicts i do smoke weed..but far les then anyone i know literaly 2 or 3 hits every 3 months on average im very much ani drug anti alcahol anti poisioning your life

27 years growing dreadlocks the natural way
My dreads are over 10 feet long

also on the board of, and a student glider pilot with freedoms wings international - soaring for people with disabilities
5 years ago
95 posts

1)My dreadlocks are 4 months old, and free form. I got them because of a few reasons; I love how dreadlocks look/feel, I love decorating (so I can put beads sea shells etc), and though I am free forming, to grow with patience as my locks grow in beauty. 2) This is now my third set, all three times my family hate it (they were the reason the other 2 times were removed), friends love them, school loved them :) 3)the only discrimination I keep getting is from colored people telling me I'm being racist because I have locks. This mainly happens on tumblr. 4) I use dreadlockshampoo to wash my hair, every 2-3 days or whenever I feel like it.I think they are very clean! definitely smell better than most people I know... 5) I mainly get the "you are dirty" or "you are racist", so people just need to learn basically that dreadlocks are in most cultures and religions, are for many reasons, and just because a white person has them doesn't turn them into a racist!

Baba Fats
5 years ago
2,710 posts

I guess I should actually answer more of your questions:

1) They are about 6-7 years old. I stopped paying attention to how old they were the same day I started them. It's not an important date in my life. I am not "that guy with locks". I am me, who happens to have locks. I decided to start growing them when I was learning about Rasta and quitting smoking weed. But I loved them for a long time before that. When I was in HS, I heard a story about how the longer and thicker your locks were, the easer it would be for Jah to pick up your spirit after you died. I don't believe it, but it was a beautiful story, and inspired me.

2) No one liked it when I started. My dad thought I was trying to look black. My mom thought I was destroying my hair. Even some friends that Eagle and I have in common, who have locks, laughed at my early stages. They thought I looked dumb with my little ringlet and uneven hair. (to their credit, I did look hideous for a while. But I wanted locks)

3) I answered this one in my first post

4) I wash with Vickies soaps. I started off with Dr. B's. When I was getting ready for my wedding, I spent 2 months washing with the BS/ACV wash. But since then, I moved to only using Vickies soaps. I wash 2-3 times a week. Sometimes every other day. Sometimes every 3 days. I could wash once a week, but my head would get itchy. I wash more, now, than I did before I grew my locks. So yes, they are clean.

5) Considering that I started my journey when I was quitting smoking weed, I think that is the major misconception. But I think it ias all about how you carry yourself. When I first started, people asked me all the time about where the drugs were at. But that hasn't happened in a few years. I think people can generally tell if you do drugs or not. I still look and dress like someone who would get high, but no one asks me anymore. I think, typically,stereotypesare true. Most people with locks are liberals. Many do drugs, Many are hippies. There are exceptions, and it has a lot to do with who you expose yourself to. Most of our members are one form of hippie or another. But our community only represents a small fraction of people in the world with locks

Gavin Parsons
5 years ago
8 posts

I am pretty much a noob but I feel like I can contribute :) I started dreads less than a year ago using neglect so I am still in the earliest process. I work at a hospital,at an inpatient surgical unit so I have to keep my hair clean, neat and tidy. The main discrimination is the questions like, ewwe do you wash, are they dirty, etc. Truth is my hair is cleaner and healthier than ever. I wash with Baking Soda, tea tree oil, rosemary, and lavender every 2 days or so. You know when your hair needs washed...I mean, even before this I didnt wash every single day. Its unnecessary and flat out bad for your hair regardless if you have locks. Sometimes I rinse with vinegar and the same essential oils but my hair is naturally oily soI dont use thiseverytime.Sometimes I can get flakey and Iam looking intocorrecting this. Soaring Eagle or Baba Fats probably havea post I havent discovered yet. I live in FL so I dip my hair in the ocean for added "spirituality" :) The salt water is goodfor baby locks but jeez you cant leave it in long. I love feeling like I am a part of nature and this journey has opened me up to so many people living more naturally. I am not a druggy. I started growing my hair out because of the"JerseyShore" look. Everyone had fades and lineups and I was just flat out over it. Once my hair got longI found out I had really thick and wavy hair.It just kept getting longer and at the same time I started living a more natural lifestyle.Once I started looking into products we use everyday it was quite disheartening.Shampoos,Conditioners,Soaps, even toothpasteallhave harmful additives.Long story short, in myjourneys to living more naturaly I discovered this site along with an"altenative" lifestylewhere people actually give a damn again. People probably ask me more now if I have"drugs" when I am out because of the long hair and beard. Granted I smoke a joint or two from time to time but in my opinion is the most natural thing to put in your body. If man has touched it, its probably bad for you. Think of all the stuff they put in beer, cigs, food,and whoa on the pharmaceutical companies...smh. They should be ashamed. I love my life and feel like starting dreads is more of a start to a different way of life, a different state of being. In this fragile state in America you have to stand for something, or fall for anything. Unlike some people, I didnt start this journey as a hairstyle or a way to look cool. I started living more naturally and did my research on the history of locks. I am glad you are doing more research as well and hope to see you post on the drealocksite again!

Κύριε Ελέησόν
5 years ago
92 posts
This is pretty cool! Almost like a "get to know you" kind of thing for dreadies!
the Barrellady
5 years ago
1,302 posts

Great interview, I even have my cup of coffee here with me while we chat. Just a little background for you: I am a Wife, Mother, Grandma and an Artisan. At the age of 49, I 'allowed' myself to be the true me, not how the majority of society wanted me to look, not how my family wanted me to look like, but what I wanted at this point in my life. I previously worked in offices, so I shed the office hair, donated all my office clothes to charity, don't need those formal jackets anymore, and I decided to just be me, the me who I am and not the false me when I leave the house.

1) I started dreads on my Caucasian hair March 11/12, so just over a year now for me. I used the free form method at first and let my hair section itself, but after a couple of weeks I gave in and did Twist & Rip to those sections. The only reason why was impatience, wanted to see dread looking sections right away to see how they would be on me. It was love at first sight!

2) Now, how do people react? Well, my family is still on the edge of the wall with this one. My dreads are not yet mature and the journey does take quite awhile. Many of the bottom of my sections still have various 'fingers' coming off of them, so it is still bushy. Pre dreads I had straight, healthy hair almost to my waist, which my husband loved to play with & caress. . My family does not have a vision like I do, I think being an artisan helps seeing unfinished works of art, which are dreads are...but where was I?....Oh yeah...when I started, my daughter was on the band wagon with me, but right now she still sees the mess & hate it, my son despises them (he is an order & control freak), and my husband wishes I had my original hair back. Now we go to my mother who lives with me, she proceeds to tell relatives from abroad how stupid I look. All these remarks, I REALLY don't give a shit...I am so tired of looking how others want and I WILL be the true me for the rest of my life. Winter is just ending here, so I wore a tam most of the time when I went out, so it really was not noticeable to others that I am growing dreads. I do believe that I am the only Caucasian with dreads in the small town where I shop, so now that winter is over & no more hats, it will be interesting to observe reactions & receive comments from strangers. My family are my friends, I kinda like to just stay at home & enjoy my privacy, so I really don't have friends I hang with to tell me what they think.

3) I have not had discrimination passed my way, YET, but I think that my age may have something to do about that. What I do know is that once all these beautiful dreads are mature, strangers will comment to me then, only in a positive way.

4) For the first year of my journey, I washed with Baking Soda & rinsed with ACV only, and did the sea salt sprays. This is a touch less method (if desired), and I wanted to keep my fingers out of my forming dreads as much as possible. Since my first year passed, I have been using Dread Shampoo in liquid form. I shampoo a couple of times a week and my dreads are very clean. The hair is all natural, no products were used at anytime to help the process, ie: wax, gels, etc. Additives to dreads are a way for smells to be absorbed in, for lint to stick and mold to form. Natural, clean dreads are healthy beautiful dreads, PERIOD.

5) Well now, misconceptions, where do I start? ...dreads are dirty...dreads smell....pot head.....Caucasians should not dread....need wax to dread.....dreads are for young people only...must go to a salon for manufactured dreads.....dreadies don't have jobs, they must be bums....dreadies can't blend in with the rest of 'normal' society....did I say DREADS ARE DIRTY...I did but that one deserved it twice.

Do I feel that any of the stereotypes are true? Absolutely not...Do I think they are true in instances....Absolutely yes.... Well not in my own personal case, but sure, some are true in unique instance, but that goes with anything in life, you know, that bad apple in the crate.

My art shows start again in a month, so I am sure I will get some positive comments. I will always encourage others to go for it if they have the 'calling', and to educate their self first by joining this site, and of course to let them know how healthy dreads are and the feeling of freedom. I am proud to be a Dreadie Ambassador to the older generation. This year's shows should have some interesting conversations.

Peace be with you FiddleSticks268


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