Re: Life After Dreads

My most popular blog entry by far is the one called Life After Dreads: the First 24 Hours. I thought this was because there were quite a few people who were interested in what the result is when you chop off your dreadlocks. The entry is just about that.

However, a couple of weeks ago, a reader commented that I should make it known that I’m white and what my hair type is. I suddenly was struck by the implications of the blog post title. This could very well be seen as a potential social commentary, especially regarding the way society responds to black people with dreadlocks.

With this in mind, I wanted to make a much-delayed response. Since I had dreads I have completed two years at a community college which has opened my eyes to more issues regarding the social injustices of the world, as well as appropriation. The latter is something I’m still coming to terms with because part of me is having the hurt girl voice of “why can’t I play?” when it comes to dreadlocks and wearing bhindis. However, that’s exactly the point. The groups who have these cool styles and the like haven’t been able to play, and now I want to play with the toy they’re playing with and I have to be told that I can’t.

And it’s damn frustrating! Again, that’s (in part) the point. It is frustrating. It’s frustrating that people of other groups have been oppressed and told they can’t wear their hair a certain way, speak their inherited language, practice their faith for hundreds of years. Members of the oppressing culture are in turn taking certain elements of the oppressed and using them how they’d like to use them, while still reprimanding the oppressed for doing the same thing.

So whereas I do generally fall under the rule of treat others how you’d like to be treated, this has been necessary—for me at least. My want for being inoffensive keeps me from doing what I want to do, which is dread my hair again or wear a bhindi when I’m going for a night out. But being told that I can’t, and me struggling between “screw it, I’m going to any way” and not wanting to be disruptive of hurt other people is aggressive. I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about me. It’s not about me at all. And this wanting to play but not being able to is what the oppressed have been experiencing for far too long. It was shocking how long it got me to come around to this realization, in all honesty.

(Note the irony where I just wrote a whole blog post about myself so that I could tell the world it’s not about me)

I could see how my initial post could be click-bait, seen as something that one might look for as an analysis of the experience a person of color might have after they cut off their dreads, and I could see it turned into a metaphor, or as deep and powerful social commentary (of course if coming from the right narrator, which would not be me). But nay, it is my naïve self from three years past. So, my apologies to anyone who clicked on the entry looking for something less superficial and privileged.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Re: Life After Dreads

  1. I read over this post the other day, but for some reason, I could not post a comment via my phone. I have locs (I don’t call them DREADlocks), I’ve been growing my hair since 2011, and it’s pretty long, time to cut them. So on with my comment – Your line here ——-“It’s frustrating that people of other groups have been oppressed and told they can’t wear their hair a certain way, speak their inherited language, practice their faith for hundreds of years. Members of the oppressing culture are in turn taking certain elements of the oppressed and using them how they’d like to use them, while still reprimanding the oppressed for doing the same thing.”
    I will be honest, I always wondered why non-black races loc their hair. I received my answer today. That’s what writing is suppose to do, change people. You’ve done that with that post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From your picture I’ve actually admired your hair since I’ve started following you 🙂
      Honestly, when I initially dreaded my hair is was because I just loved it, loved the way it looked and felt. I’ve met a couple people who have some pretty gross hair that’s matted in dirt, but otherwise I have truly just thought it beautiful. At the time I did it, it was just a hair style. I ever knew there was anything more to it, nothing about cultures, history, race, anything. I didn’t know. I dreaded my hair because I thought it would be easier to look after (oh boy was I wrong on that front!) and because I felt it spoke to my more hippy nature as well.
      Now I know more about it. I really do miss my dreadlocks, they were comfortable and a part of me. But know what I do now, I’ll leave that particular style alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww, thank you for liking my hair. We have a lot in common, besides writing. I locked my hair, not for any cultural, race, or history. I locked it because of all the problems I had with perms and the unhealthiness of heat on my hair. I too thought it would be easy for me raising my son, however it is definitely NOT. That is why I am trimming them before I return to work. They are too heavy and give me a headache when in a ponytail. Funny what you said about the matted, dirty, look. My friend and I were talking about that the other day, not just with black people, but all race that wear locs.
        If you miss them you should grow them back. 🙂
        Have a nice day!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Locks are definitely an interesting journey, to say the least.
        You comments have really meant a lot to me. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog (I’m a slacker with commenting because I’m rarely on a computer proper), as it’s beautifully insightful.
        I hope your weekend goes well!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s