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Forum Activity for @samalamajam

11/25/11 09:47:49PM
14 posts

Article Critique: "White People and Dreadlocks: A Problematic Union"

History and Religious Significance

I have gotten some flak from people saying that I "shouldn't" be growing dreads and that it's cultural appropriation. My response was that they have been around for centuries not just blacks and (what I'm assuming their criticisms are based on) rastas. But I wasn't given much of a chance to argue. I felt bulldozed and told that I was appropriating another culture. I felt lost and incurred some white shame when I did some more research. Especially this part: "The bottom line is that white people can cut off their dreads and recover all the privileges that might have been deferred because of their hairstyle." I'm still passionate about my journey. There was some conflicting views before, I felt like this was right for me, what I wanted to do, but people were telling me that it was wrong. Thanks for the responses.

11/25/11 07:53:43PM
14 posts

Article Critique: "White People and Dreadlocks: A Problematic Union"

History and Religious Significance

So, I found this article on the internet about cultural appropriation and dreadlocks. It was the least negative of them out there with the most thought out opinion. A huge problem with what is said is the bit about Rastafarians; because as we all know, Rastafarians are not the only culture/religion that have been known to have dreadlocks. I just wanted to get an idea of what others thought about this since is was well thought out. I italicized and colored what hit me the hardest because I experienced some hard core white shame when I read it.

By the way here is the article at it's original location in case you want to see other things this person has written:

I have several white friends who have or had dreadlocks and we've gotten in many arguments about their hair. I tell them I don't think white people should have dreads and that it's cultural appropriation. They say they respect and embrace the cultural roots of dreadlocks; that it's appreciation, not appropriation. As much as I like my friends, they're wrong.

The only white people who should even in the least be permitted to sport locks are white Rastafarians. To me, that seems to be a contradiction in terms anyway which I'm not going to deal with here, but since I'm guessing 98% of white people with dreads don't identify as Rastafarian, then it's safe to say that in general white people shouldn't have dreads. I don't care about your reasons behind it - get some scissors and cut 'em off. Please.

Several years ago when I was even more naive than I am now, I seriously considered getting dreadlocks. I thought it was cool and counterculture-ish (yes, I was trying to assimilate into that counterculture uniform). I didn't have a full grasp on the significance of dreadlocks, but I figured since I meant well then it was ok. Luckily, someone wiser than I pulled me aside and informed me that it was a bad idea. As a result, I still got a curly, poofy mop that at least pisses off no one else but me.

Though it should seem clear enough that white people + dreadlocks = cultural appropriation, a lot of white people don't get it. (Surprise, surprise!) The best way I've found to explain it to them is to remind them that they're white. Dreadlocks are not devoid of meaning. By a white person wearing them they are taking on or displaying a symbol that is expressive of a racial pride or a stand against oppression or other meaning that does not pertain to white people. It doesn't matter what meaning a white person gives their own dreadlocks, dreadlocks already come with meanings that do not pertain to, nor belong on, a white person's head.

The bottom line is that white people can cut off their dreads and recover all the privileges that might have been deferred because of their hairstyle. It doesn't work like that for anyone else. I feel like dreadlocks to a degree is just a way of flaunting white privilege - you might as well walk around with a sign saying, "Look what I can do! I can adopt your culture and still have white privilege! I can cut them off and get even more white privilege!" While certainly it's not intended that maliciously, I imagine for many people of color that's the message that comes across.

Since we're talking about hair, the same goes for the "Mohawk." Actually, what inspired me to write this wasa short pieceI just read about "Mohawks." Other concise info on dreads and "Mohawks" can be foundhere. Those of you white folks with dreads or who have friends with dreads, keep this in mind. It's not an attack on anyone individually; it's just the way things are.

updated by @samalamajam: 02/14/15 03:49:26AM
11/25/11 07:18:08PM
14 posts

Baking Soda: bad for your hair?

Dread Products

So, I've been posting progress dread videos to youtube. One of my videos was about the first time I washed with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), apple cider vinegar conditioner rinse and essential oils. Check it out here.If you don't want to watch the video I basically rave about how much I loved the results even in my first wash.

-My question for everyone revolves around a comment I got on my video. Our conversation went like this...-

Person: "Baking Soda is very bad for the hair.Dries it out extensively and you dont want you hair excessively dry, just clean"

Me: "Really? Can you tell me where you are getting your information from (personal experience, internet, hearsay??) I've been washing my hair with this technique for a month and a half and it works fantastic. Baking soda alone will dry your scalp; this is why you have to balance the pH in your scalp with an apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse. Also, people with and without dreads wash with baking soda. Google the "no poo" movement."

Person: "Not internet, hearsay, or personal experience. Not to sound rude but just common sense. Baking soda is a chemically drying agent, its what it does. The fact that it drys your scalp so much, will over time eat away at the follicles under the scalp. And yes i am a "no poo'er" too lol. I tend to use a black soap mixture on my hair though."

So, I did some research and these were some comments I found elsewhere on the internet that spoke badly about BS. (Maybe where he/she is getting their information?) Truthfully, everywhere else on the internet said good things not bad about BS.

"Baking Soda is a salt (aka Sodium Bicarbonite), just like sodium sulfate. Not sure what you hope to gain there because it seems like it would be just as harsh on hair (I do use it as a scrub and mixed into my toothpaste. just think the chemical properties AND the texture of baking soda will be no good for hair!?"

"Yeah, baking soda is a pretty extreme alkali. Erm, so no, don't do that. I mean, yes, your hair will be "clean" afterwards, but it probably won't do it or your scalp much good at all. Would you wash your hair in battery acid?"

Everywhere else on the internet all I have heard is good things. I've been washing with BS and ACV for over a month now and I love it!!! But, i want to know if there is any scientific basis behind this person's assumptions, not just personal experience (as I can offer that already). For instance the "battery acid" comment and the "eat away at the follicles under the scalp".

Seems a little unbelievable to me.

updated by @samalamajam: 01/13/15 09:14:26PM
10/25/11 02:47:37AM
14 posts

One More Newb Dreadie to the Cause

Introduce Yourself

Hello all! Figured I would introduce myself to the community:

Today marks two weeks since I threw away my brushes and combs. Having dreadlocks was something that I always wanted to be a part of but never knew it was possible. It was amazing how easy it was to make the decision to start the journey and how easy it has been to stick with it. Before, I had my doubts about my own perseverance, about what people's reactions and possible closed career paths might be but everyday I am reinforced with how happy it makes me to not worry about whether my hair looks "good" according to everyone else but rather looks good to me. I am honored to begin my own journey and to learn from everyone else's. I've been learning what it means when people say that "dreadlocks teach you patience" and that it really is a journey.

I'm sure I will learn tons more in the months to come. Already the forums, videos and pictures posted here have given me the courage against the western beauty myth to start my dreading journey that I have waited and wanted for years.

updated by @samalamajam: 01/13/15 09:12:38PM
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