Dear Locs: Locs Aren’t Part of Just One Culture

A little over a year ago, a video of a black woman harassing a white man with dreads went viral and shed light on a couple of “hair-raising” truths. Before I go any further, watch the video below if you’re not familiar.

 

Watching this video, I was not only embarrassed for the guy but by this sistah’s bullyish behavior.

Despite how we feel about Caucasians wearing locs, it is never our place to convince them that locs aren’t for them. We can scream cultural appropriation all day, but truth be told…locs aren’t just a part of black culture.

According to Chimere Faulk, the owner of Dr. Locs, Dreadlocks can be traced to just about every civilization in history, as quoted in Ebony.

Via The Spectator:

The pharaohs wore dreads, but their first literary mention is said to be in the Hindu Vedic scriptures dating from around 1700BC. The God Shiva wore ‘matted’ dreadlocks. So it is perhaps the Indians who have the dubious honour of ‘inventing’ dreadlocks, and we could reasonably conclude that the African Egyptians culturally appropriated dreads from them.

[ However, it is reported that the first archaeological proof of people wearing dreadlocks came from Egypt where mummies have been recovered with their dreadlocks still in tact.]

Next came the ancient Greeks. In the Archaic period of 800-480BC, sculptures show men wearing dreads. The pharaohs wore dreads, and in the Bible, Samson, perhaps the most famous long-haired geezer of them all, had ‘seven locks’. Next came the Vikings, proving dreads weren’t always about peace and love, man. And Rastafarianism wasn’t even created until the 1930s in Ethiopia.

 

My thoughts:

 

The history of dreadlocks is varied and differs depending on who you ask. Regardless of the origin of Locs, they have been worn by nearly every culture. I must admit, locs worn by our Caucasian brothas and sistahs looks different, to say the least. I will go even further and say their locs look weird. But despite what I think of them, I am in no position to criticize their choice to wear them.

It’s easy for us to believe that Caucasians wearing locs are cultural appropriating. Locs has become not only a phenomenon but trend-setting among our favorite people from Bob Marley to Ledisi. We have a deeper/spiritual/personal connection to our locs, unlike the Caucasians who some say are just rocking locs as a “hairstyle”. However, it is said in Wikipedia that in the West, since gatherings of Hippies became common in the 1970s, dreadlocks have gained particular popularity among hippies, crust punks, New Age travelers, and goths. Many people from these cultures wear dreadlocks for similar reasons: symbolizing a rejection of government-controlled, mass-merchandising culture or to fit in with the people and crowd they want to be a part of.

 

In the video, Bonita Tindle harasses Cory Goldstein for choosing to wear his hair the way he wants. What’s understanding about Bonita’s actions is her obvious frustration with cultural appropriation which is still evident in society. What’s wrong is her need to feel like she’s in a place to invade this man’s personal space. There’s a way to express your disagreement about things and bullying people isn’t the way to do it. In fact, Bonita’s actions made her look ignorant and dare I say it…racist.

 

Let’s be honest…we all develop a fascination with other cultures. It’s what we pick and choose as offensive that becomes divisive. Locs are a part of the black culture but our culture isn’t the only culture locs belong to. Accept that and let people loc and live.