question about appropriation, race and hairstyles
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Monday, January 23, 2012 at 11:22PM
: question about appropriation, race and hairstyles
I'm not sure where to post this question, so I thought I'd post it here (bear with me... the explanation is long).
I've been taking some women studies/ethnic studies courses at my university, and I recently read an article about dreads which got me thinking.
The article argued that when white people wear dreads, it's an act of privilege, power and appropriation. Dreads have been a symbol of black/ afro-american pride and rebellion against white beauty standards, and for white people to wear them takes the aesthetic look, but diminishes the cultural message.
I don't have dreads, but I'm white and I have 3b curly hair, which I like to wear natural with minimal products. Since high school I've been wearing it in braid-like twists to keep it from getting tangled while still keeping it looking nice. I've been told it looks sort of like dreads and sort of like braids.
I've never seen another white person wearing the style, but since I started, I've seen a few black/ afro-american women wearing it. As far as I know, there isn't the same cultural significance to this style as dreads, but I'm wondering if I am enacting my privilege by wearing it and if I should re-consider.
What do you think? Does my favorite style cross a line? and more generally... Should white people wear traditionally black/african american hairstyles like fros, dreads ect?
I plan to pose the question in my class too, but I'm curious to hear what all of you have to say, since this is a curly community. Thanks for your thoughts!