There are dozens of posts here asking the same question, so you're not alone. I live in the city, and All I get around my area is some people calling me Bob Marley. It's not so bad. In Ireland, I had one women look me up and down with disgust, but didn't say anything.
I just smile at them and say hi. If they look away, I just go about my business. They don't effect me.
What I do get often, is people asking me where the drugs are at. To them I just say "Do I look like a pot head?" Then smile and laugh. This usually breaks the ice. They end up laughing too and if we have anything in common, it becomes a conversation. If not, they say thanks, and go their own way.
The only people I get negativity from is my family. My mom always wants me to cut my hair and says she'll pay for me to go to a salon and have them "done" neatly. I laugh, and tell her how damaging that is. My wife sticks up for me because she used to have locks too.
I always tell people in your situation to be very basic when explaining locks. Don't go into detail unless the person you are talking to asks deeper questions. Just tell them that you do wash your hair, and explain how you are growing them. Don't,necessarily, demand that locks happen naturally. Some people are not ready to hear that, and will get defensive. Once they wall themselves up, they will not hear anything you have to say, So be as general as possible and wait for them to ask the questions