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Should white people have dreadlocks? Show more Show less
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Throughout history, dreadlocks have been significant to cultures around the globe. The matted and locked hairstyle was a way for people to prevent or slow positive energies from leaving the body. More recently, dreads have been an important aspect of Rastafarians and African-American culture in the United States. Yet, when white people try dreadlocks, there is often backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation. Should anyone be allowed to have dreads? Is it cultural appropriation for white people to have dreadlocks?

No, white people should not have dreadlocks Show more Show less

White people should not have dreadlocks due to cultural and societal influences.
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Dreadlocks are a form of cultural appropriation

White people wearing dreadlocks is a form of cultural appropriation.
Cultural Appropriation

The Argument

Many see white people with dreadlocks as a form of cultural appropriation, since dreadlocks are traditionally associated with Rastafarian and black culture. It can be viewed as offensive or racist because it is stealing from a minority culture.[1] When dreads are worn by someone who's black, they are more likely to face discrimination than someone who's white with dreads. They are associated with reggae music, marijuana, and heavily criticized when associated with black culture.[2] When a white person wears dreads because they find them stylish, they are ignoring all of the discrimination that people of color have faced for the same hairstyle. They are taking another culture's traditions and using it for themselves.[3] A black high school wrestler in New Jersey was forced to cut off his dreadlocks in order to participate in a match. He would have been disqualified if he didn't cooperate with the referee. Since then, a state civil rights investigation has been opened.[4] Black people are discriminated against for wearing their hair in dreadlocks; for white people to then wear their hair this way is to ignore this.

Counter arguments

Some white people have dreadlocks for spiritual or religious reasons. Numerous cultures and institutions have incorporated dreads into their values and traditions. Therefore, it is acceptable for white people to have dreadlocks because they are following what they believe in spiritually. There are multiple origins of the dreadlocks hairstyle. Throughout history, people around the world have worn the hairstyle, including Egyptians, Indians, Romans, Vikings, Celts, and followers of the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica. Since almost every group of people has included dreadlocks in their culture it is unfair to forbid white people to have the hairstyle.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Dreadlocks are from Rastafarian and black culture. [P2] Black people face discrimination with dreadlocks, while white people do not. [P3] White people are being ignorant of other cultures by having dreads. [P4] Therefore, white people should not have dreadlocks.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Dreadlocks originated from numerous cultures. [Rejecting P2] White people have also faced hate from having dreadlocks.

References

  1. https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/white-people-black-hairstyles/
  2. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-wasnt-surprised-by-the-us-dreadlocks-row-white-people-never-think-they-are-guilty-of-cultural-a6964906.html
  3. https://medium.com/@overtake/are-dreadlocks-cultural-appropriation-b2489a271601
  4. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/n-j-wrestler-forced-cut-dreadlocks-still-targeted-over-hair-n957116

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This page was last edited on Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 14:42 UTC

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