I feel like I'm going to be kicked off this site if I write anything...also, this is my first post, lol. =_=
I'm still torn on this issue. I am in no way Rastafarian, or indeed religious at all. But it has made me grossly uncomfortable over the years when I see white people with dreadlocks, and I have never been able to put my finger on why. I think it's actually for the same reason the author mentioned; at the end of the day I am still brown. I am still going to be treated with patronization, or with scorn for getting into college when people assume I got in due to some kind of diversity quota (and if I did, I will have to justify it), I am going to be followed around stores or asked why I am there, I am going to be pulled over by cops for running or standing, my mother will be insulted and called a nigger lover for her choice to have children with my father, and I am going to be called a nigger and threatened when I'm in the wrong town. This is not because I have dreadlocks, or how I dress. I could be the most mainstream person ever. It is solely because of the color of my skin.
White privilege DOES exist. I promise. The key part of it is that most white people don't notice it, because they don't have to think about it. Do you thank your lucky stars every day that some of the stuff I just mentioned doesn't happen to you? Do straight people go, Golly gee, I sure do appreciate not having to be in mortal terror around Frat Row? Do cisgender people think, Wow, I can use a bathroom without praying to God nobody is in there? Probably not. That's a privilege. And believe me, not being afraid for your physical safety in perfectly normal situations is not a problem.
I have been straightening my hair and ripping it out with brushes for a long time. I've even considered chemical relaxers once or twice, and never when I was younger did I associate that with a white beauty standard. That's not just a hairstyle. That's a (relatively recently) ingrained cultural notion that nappy, kinky, even curly hair is not attractive, especially in conjunction with brown skin. I'm not even talking the way most white folks' hair curls, or the way it feels to the touch. I'm talking hair of the type I would laughingly call 4a/b/c (if you're familiar with hair typing systems that a lot of "natural" folks are into). Dreadlocks are the same way to me. I have not combed my hair in five days and it is already making dreads I cannot pull apart.
So I have gotten fairly off topic. Basically, when white folks wear dreads it makes me feel like they are inadvertently (or purposefully) making themselves counterculture in a way that has historically never negatively affected them. I have a feeling that part of the reason white folks who have dreads are met with scorn is because black folks have had them. When people say you look dirty or your hair is nappy or coarse or tangled, that's the sort of thing that people say to black people no matter what they do. And yes, then one can cut 'em off for work or simply because you get tired of it, or, as some people do, "grow out of it", or move on from a rebellious phase (if that's part of why one got them--and it is, for some), and voila! No longer experiencing what black people experience.
Many black folks get dreads as kind of a "Screw you," to the people who shame them about their bodies. You're pigeonholed anyway, so you may as well be proud of yourself--and lower maintenance. I don't consider this "owning" anything.
I don't have a major objection to white people wearing dreadlocks--if they think it through. What is the cultural significance of these? Am I aware that no matter how recent, there is a message of pride in having a black body type in having these, and that THAT is what they are associated with these days? I am fully aware of the Gallic/Judaic/etc history of dreadlocks...but who on earth goes, "Dirty barbarian Gaul," when looking at a white guy with dreadlocks and a moustache? Am I aware that if I ever decide to cut my dreads off, this will have been something of a trial run of experiencing some racism towards blacks?
Unpopular opinions, yeah