This is something which has bothered me for years and I would have thought that it would’ve passed off by now. I really should have moved on from this, but I really haven’t.
Why do white people have dreadlocks? There is but one excuse for this – Rastafariansim. If you are Rastafari, then OK.
Otherwise you’re a poser and, not only that, a cultural rapist. You are stealing an image in the most overt way possible, in order to benefit from the inherited feeling that’s attached to it. And, worse than that, you’re doing it wrong.
Rastafariansim is a laudable belief system. It’s generally peaceful, ecologically sound and practised by mostly cool people who are accommodating and pleasant in turn. The most famous dreadlocks in the world belonged to one of the coolest and most respectable people in the world. When he died I bet he wouldn’t have wanted his legacy to be the shamefaced middle-English youth of America and Western Europe.
But, let’s be clear, this is not solely my point. Bob Marley will be remembered for his music and nothing else, so that’s fine. He doesn’t need this rant to defend him.
My points of hatred are two-parted.
1) Dreadlock wearers as fashion statements.
2) Dreadlock wearers as statement makers.
1) Fashion is at best trite and shallow, but, to use something which is literally lifted from not only another culture, but also another race (who are physically leant towards generating dreadlocks) and from a religion, is pathetic.
To attempt to convey an image of oneself through the appropriation of a physical aberration is not unusual, but to coax your hair into this, often frankly coiffured, state is both pretentious and downright stupid-looking.
Only teenage girls, and other dreadlock wearers, think this is cool. But the girls will grow up, and the other wearers will be critical of your ‘do’. You however, will still have this affair on your head but I will bet £500 right now that you will shave it off within 24 months. It’s a style thing, no, worse, it’s a fashion thing, and that makes you a prick.
2) The statement makers are the ones we actually think are hippies, crusties, travellers, new-agers etc etc. They’re doing it because they think that dreadlocks are a sign of aboriginal sincerity and truthfulness about self-image. Either way, they’re as bad as the fashion wearers who’ve spent money on having a clean dreadlock’d hairstyle.
Overtly they are saying to the world, ‘Look at me. This is how I choose to look, because it tells you how worthy I am.’
No son, it doesn’t. It tells people that you’ve lost your self-respect and need to create a physical representation of yourself in order to impress people. And, you’ve narrowed your options considerably too.
Look, I believe whole-heartedly in self-expression, and I love it that people can wear what they want, be who they want etc. But I reserve the right to loathe cultural tourists and pretentious ass-clowns who hold up a veil of considered affectation of themselves, of which dreadlocks are the lowest form I can currently think of.
Incidentally, I’m thinking of getting a new tattoo. As I’m from a comfortable white middle-class background, a picture of Bob Marley on my upper arm would be perfect wouldn’t it?