slavery, kidnapping conditions
okay here we go. so historically, dreadlocks are a hairstyle that directly comes from slavery. when my people were taken from our native lands and forced on the ships, they were crammed so tightly, they would often get drenched in each others bodily fluids. that, plus time, and general lack of access to hygiene, matted the hair of the enslaved people and created this "style"
other groups have matted their hair but it's not the same thing, and shouldn't be called the same thing. i'm having some trouble finding the images now, but years ago i did a deep dive and found photos of what indian and irish matted hair looks like. neither looks anything like black dreadlocks do, since they didn;t use products to manipulate their hair texture to mimic ours.
when black people first started wearing our hair in dreadlocks intentionally, it stood as a direct symbol of black pride and anti white supremacy. since we knew the white people thought it was horrible, we wore it to reclaim and have pride for the beauty of what our hair can do. it's interesting, now, that having dreadlocks still bothers white people to the point where we're barred from jobs, told to cut them in schools, and expected to upkeep them in eurocentric ways.
white people have asked me how to get their hair to do what mine does. they have asked me if i put wall caulk in them to "achieve the look." they have reached out and touched them without permission because they've "never seen them up close before." the whole obsession for white people with dreadlocks is so fucking weird. and when y'all do it, it looks like garbage!!!!! so whats the point?? there are so many good white people styles and you want to wear one that makes you look like an idiot
one more point i want to make is that it's really weird to have a non black person refer to my hair as "dreads" because of the direct root of where it comes from. especially white people. you're using the exact same wording as your ancestors that enslaved mine. try to just call them "locs." it feels a lot better to hear that from a white person/non black person and it makes you sound like you actually understand the history of the wording.
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