“Does anyone else get annoyed when they see white folk sportin’ dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, and stretched out earlobes with plastic circles in them? What the hell is goin’ on? It irks the shit out of me. ”

I am overhearing a conversation as I wait for my order at a café in Oakland, CA. The woman next to me is black and about 55 years old, wearing dreadlocks that are about 2 feet long with a plethora of glass beads flossed through them. She is speaking to her friend, a woman probably in her 50s as well with a shaven head and wearing yoga pants and a blue tank top. She has mocha colored skin tone and seems to be of East Asian descent.

I know what this black woman is referring to: a group of three white 30-something-year-olds sitting at a table about 8 feet away from the two women. Two men and one woman. They all have punk style dread lock hairdos. They have shaven the sides of their heads and there are interesting black tattoos on their scalps. They have piercings through numerous parts of their faces: a bull ring, a nose ring, a stud through the bridge of a nose.

I wanted to say something to the two ladies, but wasn’t sure what to say. After all, it wasn’t my conversation and I guess I had no business saying something … but I wanted to say something to this black woman. I had heard the conversation plenty of times, amongst black people, how it irks the shit out of them that white people try to ‘go tribal’ by locking their hair.

“Drives me nuts too,” I hear her yoga-pant wearing friend say. “It reminds me of all the white people who jumped on the ‘I’m a Buddhist’ wagon in the Bay area, but don’t want to be all deep and reflective about their nauseating white elite privilege.”

Ouch. Did she just say that? And really loudly? Nauseating … ?

Are white people not allowed to practice yoga, Buddhism, get tribal bands, or wear locs since it’s not ‘white culture’ (and what is ‘white cultures’ anyway)? If that is the case, does that mean I’m not allowed to continue with my beginner Zen Buddhism practice? After all, I’m not of East Asian descent; I’m a Black woman. Should my friend Heather, a Chicana yogi who studied in India, stop teaching yoga at a community center in NYC since she is not from India? Or, does our non-white identity make us exempt from “appropriation?”

Shortly after leaving the café, I passed by a Black heterosexual couple on the street, holding hands. The woman was wearing a punkish Mohawk style and ear plugs through her lobes. Was she appropriating by wearing that hairdo?

I had a friend, “Nicole,” who is Filipina and African-American whose take was, “Well, I think what pisses me off about dreadlock-wearing white people is that they can wear our black hairstyles, listen to our black music, and be all hip but still they will always benefit from being white. They can just shave that shit off and that’s the end of the story. Yea, I used to wear dreadlocks, but I shaved it yet I still have to deal with the bullshit of what my brown skin means in a society obsessed with white European phenotypes.”

But, at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I could completely agree with “Nicole.”

When I first met her, she had the biggest afro I had ever seen. Two weeks later, she had it professionally locked and ended up interviewing for jobs in the finance industry and landed a phat gig at Morgan Stanley … but she also seemed to navigate through life rather well with her Dartmouth Tuck School of Business degree making six figures at some investment banking company while wearing her dreadlocks the first five years working there, and then finally cut it all off into a short afro.

… my close from “T” is a white Jewish woman who now practices Zen Buddhism for the past decade. She mentioned to me last year that she’s getting uncomfortable with a lot of what she is doing because she believes it is a form of appropriation for most of her white Buddhist fellowship to wear the robes, use the names, and do the practices of Zen Buddhism. She is deeply questioning if she is appropriating, without being mindful of what it means to be able to do something that is not associated with ‘the white race,’ but not be at a ‘disadvantage’ because of her own white racial privilege trumping the non-white roots of Zen Buddhism … but I wasn’t sure if I agreed either, as her practice of Zen Buddhism over the 5 years I have known her, have made her practice a type of mindfulness towards structural racism and systemic whiteness that may not have been possible, had she not become a Zen lay nun. She seemed to understand that mindfulness should include awareness of race and white privilege. She and I have noticed the overwhelmingly whiteness of Green Gulch Zen Center and the Berkeley Zen Center that we frequent. The other month, I began reading Race and Religion in American Buddhism: White Surpremacy and Immigration Adaptation by Joseph Cheah. He quoted from bell hooks’s provocative essay Waking up to Racism, who reflects on how whiteness and racism operate even in Buddhist communities that are largely white:

Often white people share the assumption that simply following a spiritual path means that they [white Buddhists] have let go of racism: coming out of radical movements- civil rights, war resistance- in the sixties and seventies and going on to form Buddhist communities, they often see themselves as liberal and marginalized, proudly identifying with the oprreeseed. They are so attached to the image of themselves as nonracists that they refuse to see their own racism or the ways in which Buddhist communities may reflect racial hierarchies (hooks in Cheah 2011, 4)

According to hooks, many white Buddhists have failed to realize the extent to which African Americans feel marginalized and out of place within their religious communities. For some African Americans, choosing to belong to a Buddhist community “has been synonymous with choosing whiteness, with remaining silent about racism for fear of bringing in issues that are not really important” (Hooks in Cheah 5, 2011). Hooks contends that white supremacy operates as an invisible regime of normatily for white Buddhists of all political orientations. Furthermore, hooks mainstains that the ideology of white supremacy informas the individual interacations that determine the shape and direction of convert Buddhist communities (Cheah 5, 2011).

Leave it to bell to break it down like that … But still, I can’t say I totally agree. Yes, I’ve encountered plenty of annoying white Buddhists who deny that their whiteness means anything and love collecting and wearing anything that looks Zen or Buddhist … but I’ve also met a lot who, like “T,” became Buddhist to become a better human being and make sure they are not being complicit to structural racism.

What is it all about? Are us people of color collectively annoyed when we see white folk doing things that we deem “non-white” because of the reasons that Nicole and hooks mentioned? Or because of what the Asian lady at the café mentioned in terms of certain white Buddhists being clueless about white privilege?

What do you out there think? I mean, I practice so many food, herbal, healing, music, etc stuff that isn’t “black” or “African” … does that drive people who nuts if I’m using their music, foods, etc? Can I use Chinese herbalism or am I offending Chinese people? Or is it okay since my great-great grandmother is actually Chinese? Not that I’m looking for permission …

Works Cited

Cheah, Joseph. Race and Religion in American Buddhism : White Supremacy and Immigrant Adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press.

around the web

147 Comments

  1. I am pretty sure it’s (black feminist trope) a “both/and” situation. It is everything and all of the above because each reason provided from various perspectives by those observing the appropriation or by those practicing the appropriation are valid and completely tied to one another, for better or for worse. That is the core issue with institutionally oppressive structures, power, and privilege. They have to rely on each other to sustain themselves. Living in American society, much of what we do is assimilation or acculturation as people of color, but much of it is the expectation by a dominant society. Basically, its not just cause we want to do it. It becomes appropriation by white people, esp those who fail to acknowledge their privilege or who OUT RIGHT REJECT THE IDEA that they have it to begin with, because there is power in choice. THEY CHOOSE to enter the practice, the dress, the ideas of another and without contestation, they can choose to exist putting on the elements that they prefer. When other people of color do the same thing (Japanese/Chinese with Hip Hop and Reggae) it is a curious spectacle but not the same thing because that appropriating person of color, although they may choose to engage with another’s cultural practice, still does not enjoy the power and privilege. Even if the young Asian guy who wears the “hip hop style” all day but changes his clothes to work a job, he still carries the sterotype of the young asian guy. Likewise, the white hippie guys who talked peace and love in the 1970′s and anti war demos (those who were not dedicated to a life long cause) cut their hair and got a job in the new booming post-war economy of the 1980′s. It was a FLING!! A fun time. Back in the day. And now they can move on. But we can not “move on” from our skin or our language or gender…etc….

    The reason “T” had become so introspective and needs to move on in some new way in this way of life, lets call it enlightenment, is because she can now see what she could not before. In the non-profit industry, they call it working your way out of a job. Many of the most powerful “give back” orgs are led by white men who make a pretty penny “serving” and actually serving many people of color and women. The ones that are really progressive are doing the work so that they can move on and move out. T sees the need to move on and out because she can see how just staying and repeating can do more to undo the work she has already done in her life.

    • @SheIsMe_APB: you’re perpetuating the meme that needs to be done with. the whole white black divisive racial dichotomy is played once you gain appreciation for the FACT that all blacks and whites are one in the same and our culture is off-play black culture. everything is black and the escape, whether it’s appropriation or misappropriation, to light “white” is just the mind trying its hardest to get as away from its true nature as it can. it’s okay now and it will be okay later for whites to wear whatever hairstyle they want

      • @Lindo: I actually don’t rely on a race dichotomy of black and white. I not really sure how your comment relates to anything that I said. But for clarity, let me briefly try again.

        I am speaking to privilege, and I am saying there is value in a person’s perspective if they are uncomfortable with seeing their culture or aspects of their identify being used by someone else, especially if that person is doing with out regard to the origins. Likewise, I agree with the article’s example when a person of appropriated privilege takes a step back to examine themselves in that space.

        • @SheIsMe_APB: all i’m saying is the way you practice whatever you call yourself is a “fling”. you’re different from what and who you were just months ago, so weren’t you having a “fling”?

          you’re skin can moved on from and language certainly be moved on from and you can appropriate privilege whenever and wherever that privilege is practiced.

          your whole diatribe is a meme of outdated racial politics that serves whiteness, whatever that is, and is counterproductive to whatever you think is freedom of expression

          • @Lindo:

            You have completely and utterly missed the mark of SheIsMe_APB. Don’t pretend that privilege doesn’t exist. We can talk all that ‘peace and love’ and ‘we can where whatever we want” and ‘we are the world’ b.s.-but that’s a privileged, ignorant mentality.

            Because the truth of the matter is: even though you feel as though your race/skin color doesn’t matter-the fact that there is racist, heterosexist systemic oppression kills your fairytale notions of autonomy through expression. Reality check: most black men who wish to wear dreadlocks and work in Wall St can’t! Many black women who wish to wear their natural hair texture are shunned in and out of the workplace.

            I don’t know how you identify, but this statement: “you’re skin can moved on from and language certainly be moved on from and you can appropriate privilege whenever and wherever that privilege is practiced,” screams privilege. While it’s nice to have those feelings, it’s not reality. Please, I beg you, tell a homeless person that lacks economic privilege to walk into Wall St with their tattered clothes and lack of proper education to put in an application and see how far they will get.

            This whole ‘peace and love’ and ‘we can overcome’ is so dismissive to the discourse about privilege-whether it be racial, economic, gender, and sexual orientation. You can’t change systemic oppression just by wearing what you want and ‘doing you’-it doesn’t work that way that’s why it’s called OPPRESSION = power + privilege.

    • @SheIsMe_APB:

      Does your analysis make allowance for the fact that there are poor, under-privileged white people?

      Does it also make allowance for the fact that black people play an active part in making America and its cultures? They have a certain degree of agency. They are not just blank slates waiting to be written upon by mainstream culture.

      • @Rose Kahendi: It sure does! Privilege is not based on what an individual person decided. It is what the societal cultural grants them based on systemic standards and stereotypes. Privilege CERTAINLY exist outside of race. That is one of the reasons I mentioned at the end of my statement language and gender :)

        • @SheIsMe_APB:

          Really??? This is what irks me, that people think that if white people are poor it’s “their fault” and if black people are poor, its because they’re “oppressed”. I know tons of white people AND black people who are poor because the world’s a hard place and they didn’t luck out so well in the competitive economy, and I also know tons of white people AND black people who are poor cause they’re lazy as fuck. End of story. It’s all about your own individual work ethic. I’m from a proud working-class Irish-American family who work their butts off, so don’t tell me it’s my fault that I don’t have money at the moment.

          • @Jamie: This is the thing about privilege, it is complex and messy! Classism is VERY real and needs to be talked about, I appreciate that you commented that this is also an important issue. Yes, white poor people ARE very much oppressed. I don’t think anyone here is denying that, and racism very much exists. Recognizing racism does not erase the oppression of poor white people, or queer white people, or disabled white people, etc. A black person can have class privilege, be racially oppressed, have heterosexual privilege, and have privilege as an able-bodied person. People can have many combinations of the matrix of oppression. This is why it is important to learn about all types of oppression, and how they are interconnected. Throughout the day, I can be oppressive and be oppressed, depending on the situation. This article addresses one issue of racism that is very real and very important. Your story is very important as well!

      • @Rose Kahendi: Thank you. Seriously, can we stop acting like poor white people do not exist! Beside, white people have been wearing dreadlocks for over 20 years, get over it

    • That’s true about those “give back” orgs and “serving”; I’ve seen it too many times firsthand–part of their need to feel like they’re “a good person”, “decent people” or whatever.

    • There is a difference in how some white people begin wearing clothing, hairstyles, and other culturally characteristic outfitting that distinctive to other ethnic heritages, it’s not an issue of permission, but rather one of motive.

      Whites are the historical oppressors of and the relations between the two groups have no valid parallel, especially since their generational privilege continues in contemporary relations as a common correlation with some sort of black disadvantage and/or abuse even.

      What I wonder is how many of them would just presume to adopt outfitting symbols or cultural distinctives of an Afghan or Sunni Muslim or one from Fujaihrah for example without showing sensitivity toward the originating people or knowing the cultural or and historical purpose.

      I’ve seen and met at least 20 white folks in between Oklahoma and California who were just wearing dreads or certainAfrican or other ethnic garb as a way to advance their own selfish need to appear creative or “different” so as to impress, be admired or have yet another tool in their box that enables them to claim they cannot be defined (kind of like adolescents who claim no one understands their profoundly different phase in life, everytime someone–especially their parent–says, “Oh so basically you are feeling WXY” or “So your goal is to…” they either say yes but then all but negate what has been identified with a qualification or they say no that’s not it at all). Some who feel irritation seeing these trends feel it because they doubt the motives of the white people doing it can be trusted or if their purpose is faithful to that which was established by those to whom the custom belongs. So I think there is a valid basis for irritation. We live in a time where the shine of nearly everything distinctively Black (historically and culturally) is being dimmed or altogether stolen by anyone who likes the rhythm of it claiming it and wearing it as though it is just as inherent to them when it simply is not. Celebrating diversity cannot truly happen until we have a society where black people are not expected to temper or tame or terminate who we’ve always been, what we’ve always worn, and what we’ve always had before it occurred to anyone to commercialize it.

      That there are whites willing to listen and dance to our music, wear our cloths or hairstyles and speak our slang says nothing much about the “common humanity” they truly believe we share and that they believe we are equal or in some ways superior to them. So many were willing to Lindyhop, make out or even go home with us in the days of the Savoy ballroom, but how many of those white openly and actively challenged and opposed the system built by those who look like them, which closed that ballroom down? What did they do most of them? They did the same thing most whites willing now to “get down” with us do–cowardly go back to their privilege.

      It takes much more than just donning our hairstyles or speaking our slang; they cannot identify with s until they humanize us. This conversation isn’t served well by citations of situations with “friends” who are somehow an exception –we’re talking about the rule. We’re talking about something that doesn’t merely irritate or hurt because one “chooses to focus on it”.

      • midnightmoses

        Firstly, There is no such race as white, it is Caucasian and they come in all different colors, from swarthy dark to light skin. All races and ethnicities are oppressors. Look around the world in every country for an example. African blacks are oppressing member’s of minority or weaker tribes. You might say white people are the most successful. Your contention that dreadlocks are from black culture is wrong. It is common knowledge that Celts and many other Caucasian tribes wore dreadlocks thousands of years before any record of black people wearing dreads. We also know that for thousands of years people in India wore dreadlocks. The person who influenced most people today to wear dreadlocks is Bob Marley, who is just as white as he is black since his father was white. It seems you need or want to define whiteness when it doesn’t exist. Like I stated Caucasian’s come in many different colors and many different ethnicities. It also seems from your statements you don’t know very much about Caucasian cultures or ethnicities. So should “white people” be annoyed when they see black people wearing wigs of straight hair or wearing tailored modern clothing, getting nose jobs to have a more Caucasian appearance.
        “It is funny you say whites are willing to listen and dance to our music” The music couldn’t be performed if it weren’t for the instruments that were invented by white people. The music wouldn’t be heard if it were not for the invention of speakers, radios, televisions, cars, trucks. and everything else it takes to get musicians and music to be heard by the public. African Americans have adopted the religion of their white slave masters, speak the language of English, not an African language and wear clothing that was adopted from the white man. It would suggest it is African Americans that are adopting much more of the white culture than the other way around.

        I suggest you are irritated because of your ignorance of world history and the history of mankind in general.

    • There is a difference in how some white people begin wearing clothing, hairstyles, and other culturally characteristic outfitting that distinctive to other ethnic heritages, it’s not an issue of permission, but rather one of motive.

      Whites are the historical oppressors of and the relations between the two groups have no valid parallel, especially since their generational privilege continues in contemporary relations as a common correlation with some sort of black disadvantage and/or abuse even.

      What I wonder is how many of them would just presume to adopt outfitting symbols or cultural distinctives of an Afghan or Sunni Muslim or one from Fujaihrah for example without showing sensitivity toward the originating people or knowing the cultural or and historical purpose.

      I’ve seen and met at least 20 white folks in between Oklahoma and California who were just wearing dreads or certainAfrican or other ethnic garb as a way to advance their own selfish need to appear creative or “different” so as to impress, be admired or have yet another tool in their box that enables them to claim they cannot be defined (kind of like adolescents who claim no one understands their profoundly different phase in life, everytime someone–especially their parent–says, “Oh so basically you are feeling WXY” or “So your goal is to…” they either say yes but then all but negate what has been identified with a qualification or they say no that’s not it at all). Some who feel irritation seeing these trends feel it because they doubt the motives of the white people doing it can be trusted or if their purpose is faithful to that which was established by those to whom the custom belongs. So I think there is a valid basis for irritation. We live in a time where the shine of nearly everything distinctively Black (historically and culturally) is being dimmed or altogether stolen by anyone who likes the rhythm of it claiming it and wearing it as though it is just as inherent to them when it simply is not. Celebrating diversity cannot truly happen until we have a society where black people are not expected to temper or tame or terminate who we’ve always been, what we’ve always worn, and what we’ve always had before it occurred to anyone to commercialize it.

      That there are whites willing to listen and dance to our music, wear our cloths or hairstyles and speak our slang says nothing much about the “common humanity” they truly believe we share and that they believe we are equal or in some ways superior to them. So many were willing to Lindyhop, make out or even go home with us in the days of the Savoy ballroom, but how many of those white openly and actively challenged and opposed the system built by those who look like them, which closed that ballroom down? What did they do most of them? They did the same thing most whites willing now to “get down” with us do–cowardly go back to their privilege.

      It takes much more than just donning our hairstyles or speaking our slang; they cannot identify with s until they humanize us. This conversation isn’t served well by citations of situations with “friends” who are somehow an exception –we’re talking about the rule. We’re talking about something that doesn’t merely irritate or hurt because one “chooses to focuses on it”.

    • Probably one of the most ignorant blog I’ve ever skimmed through in my entire life

  2. Couldn’t choosing Christianity be considered “choosing Whiteness” since it is a religion forced upon people of color, and who’s images don’t look anything like us? At least in Buddhism their deity’s are a few shades closer to us.

    • @DM: It is choosing whiteness if that what you get from it but Martin Luther fought a revolution so we can interpret the Bible, or any other book or artwork, they we see it. Bump whoever else gotta issue with it

    • @DM: Christianity is a white religion? Ha! Based on the geographical location of every person mentioned in the bible, there’s not a single white person in mine.

      • midnightmoses

        You are wrong! Jesus was Jewish and the Jewish are Caucasian. Don’t believe me do a little research. White is not a race, it is Caucasian.

    • @SheIsMe_APB: @DM: the second oldest christian nation in the world is Ethiopia

      • midnightmoses

        The oldest is Armenia which is a “white” Caucasian country. The Romans who are “white” are responsible for the spread of Christianity.

  3. Ms. Information

    So many whites are always trying to find the spirituality that many of them lack..it’s a little sad…

    • @Ms. Information: You’re ignorant if you think that whites lack spiritual depth. Plenty of whites are exactly what this author says they are–genuine. I love the tone of this story. Whites, blacks, everyone can use and appropriate whatever they want as long as they know what they’re doing it for and they are comfortable with their decision

      • Ms. Information

        @Tannis: and you are ignorant to think that my comment cannot come from my own experience…several…spell it with me…s.e.v.e.r.a.l. whites have made this comment to me…

        • @Ms. Information:

          Sorry, I’m still a bit confused. Are you implying that because you know several – and I believe that was s.e.v.e.r.a.l., correct me if I spelled that wrong – white people “lacking spirituality” that it’s some sort of commonly accepted trait among whites? That’s not a stereotype I’m familiar with. Because I also know several …spell it with me…se.v.e.r.a.l. white people that are actually significantly more spiritual than myself, a Hispanic woman. But I mean, it’s not like we could have different personal experiences or anything, right? Clearly there is only one way to spiritually define people of different races and ethnicities. We must get to the bottom of this!

          • Ms. Information

            No let me say it one more time so you can understand…white people have said to me that THEY believe that black people are more spiritual as a whole than white people…people who suffer more are more prone to look to spirituality in difficult times…and black people have and are still in lowly positions throughout the world…Tu entiendes?

    • @Ms. Information:
      lol you’re upset that people want to find their spirituality? Why wouldn’t you want that? Because you know, people totally shouldn’t be at peace with themselves and each other despite what color they are. Aren’t you just a bundle of peace and equality. HA.

      • Ms. Information

        @Starzula: No, just upset that some think that a hairstyle somehow makes you closer to the black experience…that’s all.

        • @Ms. Information:

          By the way, no white people get dreadlocks for the ‘black experience’ anymore, most whites who get them are into punk rock and associate it with that. And yes, I think it looks stupid too, but the white kids I know with dreads listen to punk, and couldn’t care less about reggae or Rastafari or anything like that for the most part.

          • @Charlie: I just have to speak up. My white, educated, working son has dreds because he likes the look of them. He was fired from his job because he refused to cut them off. (He had worked at the company for over two years when he went with dreds.) I have thought of wearing dreds and found myself here, wondering if my grey hair would look okay in dreds. I had no idea that someone would be offended by my wearing dreds. I have always believed that doing something similar to someone else (no matter the race or color) was a form of flattery! I am aware of white privilege and have attempted to help make others aware of the problem. Please do not be so darn judge mental. My son is hardly a punk rocker.

    • @Ms. Information: @SheIsMe_APB:

      Hah, I live in a black neighborhood, and if you think that black people as a whole have ‘spirituality” you got another thing coming. Cellphone obsession and Timbalands is what they got, that’s for sure.

    • @Ms. Information: really what is sad is someone talking about spirituality and using the word black or white ….maybe you should chevy yours….ONE LOVE…

    • midnightmoses

      Really, your salve ancestors were introduced to Christianity by their “white” Slave masters.

  4. Yes, we must liberate people’s minds. Nothing is just black and white. Exceptional article.

    • Khemausetankh Khemet

      Personally, I don’t believe locs are indigenous to any one culture; I believe they were an original hairstyle of early homo sapiens. When people are conscious and respectful of other cultures’ practices, I don’t have a problem with them using those cultural practices. When those practices are used and without
      acknowledging where those practices come from, that’s an issue, ie Elvis Presley, rock and roll which originated in the Black community.

    • @Dena:

      Please come back to reality and out from the metaphysical realms in which you inhabit. This is the USA. EVERYTHING is black and white, EVERYTHING is racial. The fact that predominantly black urban schools are heavily underfunded and lack adequate, I mean BASIC, test scores in reading and math is too incredulous and vile and a gross representation of: white economic privilege.

      This is what I HATE, and really do mean HATE about pseudo-spiritualism, churchy-Jesus people is that you use your spirituality as an excuse to dismiss the problem and not engage in a much needed discourse about the state of marginalized communities. I’m spiritual, I meditate-I genuinely believe that we all have the power to change our lives and this system. But meditating all day isn’t going to get ANYTHING done and saying shit like “I don’t see color, color doesn’t exist.” is ignorant and doesn’t contribute to the goal: which is to overcome systemic oppression.

      • My family is Scottish and French. So I’m labeled as Caucasian. It’s easier for some people to live life if they can label and box up everyone. I went to an underprivileged “black” school. I went there because my family was poor. Surprise, there was other white people. The reason these schools don’t get funding is because there is no influence, mainly because of the lack of money. Money begets money. They are predominantly black because in that area, Chicago, there is a vicious cycle of poverty and the major ethnic group is black. You aren’t being held down. Should I be mad that my classmates got scholarships because they are black and I didn’t because I am white? Seems silly to waste my time.

    • Nothing? What does this mean? The whites who make sure the politicians in their pockets legislate property value decline when they leave in great numbers or when an area has more than 10 or 15% blacks, presents a challenge to what you’re saying. When we talk in terms of ownership and power, particularly political power, it is very much black and white-doesn’t need to be “just”. People who talk as though the most mature thing to do is chant and levitate above the systemic realities that continue hold many blacks back, and keep them out and from getting their piece are advocating a dangerous niavete.

  5. This is an excellent article. :)

    While we’re talking about privilege, I think it’s also worthwhile talking about how “white privilege” is not the only form of privilege that exists. I think we risk misrepresenting things when we assert (as some of us have a knack of doing) that white people are uniquely privileged. At some point, we have to acknowledge that privileged people exist in other communities and races as well, and that not all whites are privileged.

    In this age, privilege is largely about having material wealth. I will not deny that misogyny, racism and other forms of hatred still exist. But neither will I argue that a poor, white, West Virginian man without access to healthcare is more privileged than a well-off black woman who owns a successful franchise company in the North East, and whose kids go to high-cost private schools.

    Also, the world is so much larger than America. I sometimes feel overwhelmed when talking to my American friends about race and society because many of them seem to believe that the paradigms that they apply uncritically to America are universally true. But the world is so much more complicated than that.

    I think appropriation is a human thing. Everybody does it. And it can be a good thing. It can also be a bad thing, of course. It’s all about context. Locking one’s hair seems harmless enough to me. Why should it be a problem when somebody white, Asian, etc does it? At some level, I feel flattered when people admire the clothing and aesthetic practices of my community and try to adapt them for personal use. It tells me that they admire something about my culture. And isn’t that a positive? I don’t bother being snide about it, because I also borrow ideas from other cultures, and I am not apologetic about it. Who knows? Maybe I look ridiculous to the people whose practices I appropriate.

    It strikes me that it’s silly to formulate rigid ideas about the wrongness or rightness of appropriation. How many communities living today have not appropriated religions, languages, cuisines, technologies, agricultural practices, political ideas, fashions, etc from elsewhere? Cultures grow and thrive precisely because people exchange ideas and technologies. Yes, the exchange of ideas and technologies can also be destructive. But these truths hold whether the people doing the appropriating are black, brown, white, or anything else.

    • BingringingtonTheThird

      @Rose Kahendi: I would argue that all white people are privileged, actually, but types and levels of privilege vary. The proof is in the fact that “a poor, white, West Virginian man without access to healthcare” is inhibited by his material circumstances while “a well-off black woman who owns a successful franchise company in the North East,” while not apparently inhibited by her material circumstances, will always face discrimination based on her race and gender. Just because she happens to have done better in life does not mean she is, overall, more privileged–just that she is more successful. Were she and the white man from Virginia to start at 0 in terms of location, education, opportunities, etc., he would most likely do much better than she, and this would largely not be based on merit but on the difference in their race and gender.

      I do agree with you about the issue of appropriation being nuanced, not at all black and white (no pun intended!). What I don’t about this article is actually that the author seems to be trying to push it into being a black and white issue. I have to agree with what SheIsMe_APB said earlier, that when PoC “appropriate” something, it doesn’t have the same affect as when a white person does it. A white person can certainly appreciate and respect a culture enough to want to sincerely take part in it, just as a PoC can fail to appreciate/respect a culture in which they are taking part, but the PoC does not have the same potential to do harm or to be offensive to the original culture. That’s just the way it is. This is similar to the argument about white supremacy vs. interracial racism. Because of historical circumstances, the two things are just not the same.

      • @BingringingtonTheThird:

        Thanks for your response.

        Just to clarify where I’m coming from:

        I am strongly resistant to thinking of white privilege as this omnipresent force that governs every little thing that folks in America do. It actually sounds like some mystical, god-like force.

        I am also strongly resistant to thinking about things on the macro scale all the time. I think it’s also important to think about how things work at the micro level. As I see it, the problem with focusing on white privilege at the expense of all else is that, at some level, it makes it easy to forget that white people are human beings with individual trajectories and human motivations.

        I’m basically trying to say that cultural criticism is useful in many ways, but it has its limits. There are some contexts where it doesn’t help us to understand one-on-one interaction between human beings or the reasons why people make the choices they do.

  6. I don’t think that the kinds of activities a person can participate in should be limited based on race; I love it when people can appreciate other cultures. HOWEVER, they do need to respect the members of the culture that the activity originated from. I feel that there’s something wrong when a white person wants to wear dreadlocks and play african drums, but wont show any kind of solidarity with black/african people when the time comes to deal with racial justice issues.

  7. I don’t think anyone has a copyright on cultural practices, even if they are traditionally practice by particular racial groups. Although, it makes me cringe when I seek whites who wear locs and don’t maintain them right. I often see “hippy” type white liberals wearing locs that are matted, dirty, and out of shape. I don’t get possessive, I give them a card to my hairdresser who is more than happy to show them how to grow, maintain, and care for their locs respectfully.

  8. Why should it irk you? Black women have been relaxing their hair for an eternity.

  9. I agree with the people you disagree with in the article.

  10. Other than it looks like shit on white people, I can share this sentiment. But should we not share our cultural histories which are many and varied. Like blonde black people.

  11. Stop thinking in terms of black culture vs white culture and admit that everything we have going on in this country is American culture, whether appropriated, borrowed, stolen, or invented; like it or not.

  12. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…I thought.)

    Attachment to anything leads to ownership. Ownership (over a hairstyle??) begets jealousy; jealousy breeds discontent. And who’s discontented? Those who are “irked”. Let them be irked. Doesn’t sound like the dread-loving-white-searchers-of-solace are the ones having a hard time with this. We all bring on our own discontentments. We can choose or not choose to be annoyed. It’s entirely up to us. I prefer to let people live their lives, provided they’re not hurting anyone else…The only reason anyone is feeling hurt is because of ownership. Their choice.

  13. Should Gentiles, whether white or of other “races” be discouraged from reading the Bible? Are they appropriating Jewish literature and culture (and the Jewish theologian Jesus)? Should Blacks not wear dreadlocks, which were first worn by Nazarites (Hebrews)? Should non-whites not wear denim blue jeans, an innovation of Jewish European immigrant in California? Should non-whites use the Internet, or are they appropriating white geek inventions?

    Or is it possible that cultural developments, from fashion and art to science, become part of the culture of anyone who embraces them?

    Should we tolerate racist, simple-minded drivel as long as it doesn’t come from white people? And if so, what’s an accurate and contemporary definition of “white”? Who shall be denied the right to like things that people of his/her own “race” didn’t supposedly invent?

  14. oh i didnt get the memo we all had a box labeled for us. i hate it most when black people are telling other black people how we are suppose to be. and they are the same ones that ask for acceptance yet dont do it themselves b/c they feel they are owed something for struggles they’ve never went through.

  15. haha i just realized… this is racial profiling!

  16. I enjoyed this article ,I love diversity and the sometimes discontentment it causes,as the atricle goes forward it seems we agree to disagree ,depending on our OWN experiences.Anothers opinion is just that Theirs which automatically sets you up to debate.Have a Great Day Everyone… Peace

  17. This was a very interesting read. I’m vaguely familiar with bell hooks, but this article has definitely sparked an interest in me and I would like to read some more. I used to find a problem with seeing white people wear dreads. When you made the point about seeing the black lady with a mohawk I looked at this issue from a different perspective. A similar example of this, IMO, is when I’ll go out to a club and the music playing is new and old hip-hop while the predominately white crowd is dancing but as I walk in with a group of my black friends we all get stared at then the crowd clears. I think the issue is just a lack of respect. I know that I didn’t make the music it just seems to be a tad hypocritical, but things like this lead to opening tons of cans of worms.

  18. I dont have a problem with white folks borrowing as long as they are cool and remember where it comes from. I just dont consider their locs a journey like it is for us black folk, because there is a deeper history and reverance for us. Also they dont know there is a secret headnod and smile you are supposed to give to others with locs, if you dont give it, you are liable to be reported to the ‘Bureau’ who may sneak up behind you on any given day and snip them off. Thats really why there are so many with mohawks……it wasnt really their choice……
    I actually know more white folks who cant stand white people with locs, because they consider it the ‘Malibu’s Most Wanted Syndrome’ Go figure

    • @Nu: we arent barrowing indians in america cave man etc been round alonge time u wanna talk about barrowing how about blacks wearing skater shoes tight jeans n punk band shirts ? Not we ven knowing that style wss created bye racist nazis in england who for? In germany so its sad for whtes to spiritualy improve them selfs but blacks can wear racust regime cloths without knowing the meaning that makes sence ingrate

      • @Rasta faria:

        Black people created rock music anyways.

        • midnightmoses

          Rock music was invented by the Beatles, they are not black. They took some old rock n roll which had its roots in the blues, they took some country which had its roots in Scottish folk music and they took a little skiffle music which is a cross between rock n roll and country, they also were influenced by classical music, they put that together and it is called Rock. Rock n roll and blues were dead and buried in the US. The Beatles created a hybrid of all those styles and created a new form and brought back to the US along with the other British bands that followed.

        • midnightmoses

          Don’t forget, the biggest force in Reggae is Bob Marley who is just as white as he is black.

  19. Stop putting people in “boxes” people should be free to wear any and all hairstyles, clothing, etc. and practice any religion that they choose…….stop stressing and start loving!!!

  20. How about You don’t judge or hate anything about me and I won’t hate or judge anything about you and if every body does this the world will be a better place,

  21. Ok first its urk 2nd if any of u are comfortable with bob marley having dreads or 9of the 15 kids he has then ur hypo crits as robert nesta marleys father norval marley is white so hence y the called bob half cast for being white and black and same for most his kids who are half white and born in england if more ppl took there heads out there ass dreads have been used way b4 n cave man and indians celtic warrors ton just cause majority blacks wear them does/t mean they own or originated it these thing were done in all cultures even asians get a grip on reality 2012 dont worry bout othrtd ppl hair worry bout uh r own

  22. if the main issue is that of appropriation of something, perhaps one’s concern should lie with the intent of the act that is seen as being appropriated…not all of these instances should be viewed one-dimensionally as consumerist…

    being american makes us all privileged in one way or another, though some of us of lesser privilege tend to be hyper aware of the structures that are to be adhered to and have issues with those of greater privilege who do not have to adhere in similar fashions (and can in a single gesture trivialize things like hair styles in ways that disregard the struggle black americans have had with hair for what seems like centuries, for example), which can cause the lesser privileged to react in discriminatory manners without examining why such things bother the less privileged so much…

    apologies for the ramble. hope it made sense

  23. I find it all encouraging…..that so many are admiring and experiening other cultures….one truth …many paths….

  24. I cant read this………….maybe i am a little open minded…maybe because I met a blue eyed blonde hair WHITE African American…..meaning that he was born in Africa and moved here…….so i say to each their own……..let everyone do what they want with their head

  25. All cultures are amalgamations supported by the ruling class. However, there is a difference between appropriation and adaptation. For example, “T,” who made a personal commitment and a life change adapted Buddhism. The guy who grows dreads cus it looks cool, appropriation. Further, appropriation is not bound by race, class, or gender. I see black kids with dreads who have no idea of the myriad histories, meanings, and reasons for growing dreads. I used to grow mine for Kenyan warrior reasons (which was a bit of an appropriation being a girl). It used to tick me off when white dreads didn’t know the code (dreads acknowledge dreads), it suggested a thoughtlessness to me… but i am biased. It also pisses me off when I see people in Ramones t-shirts and they don’t know any of the music. And white musicians turning me away from an open mic because it was exclusively for blues musicians (with nary a black blues man in sight). That turned into a rant there…

    • @kela: ok not ALL cultures… clearly there are subcultures but within each culture there is an “authority” exerting a hegemonic force…

  26. NubianThoughts

    Reading the comments…and replies to those comments… is almost more interesting than reading the article.. It’s interesting to see so many valid (and sometimes curious) interpetations of an ‘IMO’ article..

  27. Black people fighting over White people…damned ridiculous.

  28. Negroes that think they disadvantaged in America only need to go live somewhere else to realize just how good they have it here.

  29. So the black lady doesn’t like a white person with dread locks….because why???

    I wonder how she feels anytime she sees a black woman, without an Afro. Hey, how did your hair get so straight…and who are you trying to be like with that straight hair?? ;-)

  30. Your friend Nicole probably dealt with a lot of bs day to day at Morgan Stanley. Just because she made it look easy doesn’t mean that it was easy.

  31. Maybe she shoul practice some of the four noble truths she seems to have a lot of hatred towards others and what they do. If it was me I would have gently given her a thought in the right direction, you have every “right” to show compassion even to those like this women.

  32. All Together Now

    I agree as well that nothing is specifically “black” or “white” or whatever meaning people want to apply to those colors, but this article also seems skewed. In making the point, the arthor supported the main point and shot down the ideas of “Nicole”, etc. For instance, using Nicole as an example of all people just because she happened to get a job… If you’re going to write an article and try to make a strong point, I think it’s best to unbiasedly cover all angles. No one’s trying to fight here. A ton of white people (,etc.) can pull off dreadlocks, and a ton can’t. It depends on the person. Not the stereotype.

  33. All Together Now

    And before someone else jumps on this as an excuse to start an argument (because people are… interesting like that) …

    *author

  34. All Together Now

    Whoops. Here’s another: *using Nicole as an example of all black people.

    You can probably tell by now, but I’m still commenting on this because I’m trying to burn time for the next 30 minutes.

    So people who have time to argue in the comments sections on the internet must have loads of free time.

  35. I am English,white and have dreadlocks. I find it such a shame that even in 2012 we ate still trying to horde ourselfs into little groups, why is it so important to be “white or black” hasnt the past 20 odd years of equality abd diversity ment anything?” Ive grown up being tret and treating everyone equally” it sadends me we cant just let go of the past and move on, after all its not “our” past as we had not been the onces who caused it. i would never hurt anyone or tell anyone they can not do something. the soon we realise the world is no longer segrigated. and infact has become one wolrf thr dooner we can let go of hate and just get on with life! Ive not been to america and woyld like to go one day, bit from what ive read on the internet there seems to be a battle of.colour, for a nation of immigrants it confuses me why there is so much hatred against being “differnt” whites will grow dreads, blacks will listen to metal music, indians will practice zen and asians will listen to hip hop. just let people be people. we will all be deaf one day and become part of the same ground, which oddly is where we all came from n the first place

  36. It bothers me too. I’m Caribbean-American female and have locs. I just stay away from them and usually my energy keeps them at bay, too. I’d prefer they were just white and openly voice their opposition to white privilege and white supremacy than cop out with a hairstyle that has nothing to do with them. Geez. That’s my .02.

  37. I must say all of the responses are intriguing.

    I read them and see the validity in all of the responses because they are personal opinions that everyone is entitled to have. If there’s anything that everyone is entitled to it is the freedom to express themselves how ever they wish, so long as it isn’t harmful to the community’s (local or international) health. Be it through words, hairstyles, clothing choices, body modifications, musical tastes, creative expression, etc.

    I am a caucasian female and I absolutely embrace all cultures across the globe. I don’t have locs but I have my own ‘appropriated’ insignias that I proudly wear and embody (i.e. tattoos, piercings and style of dress that aren’t inherently eurocentric) I realize there is a necessity for respect in honoring the origins of the things that are what they are now. I think that’s part of truly appreciating something, coming to understand it and for some, mastery of it.

    This conversation has been had way too many times with the issues being completely moot. Is this really about hairstyles? Is it really about any of these things that people supposedly own or have exclusive rights to in terms of superficial adornments or expressions?

    As adults it’s unfortunate that people can still say negative things about how other people choose to be when it really has nothing to do with them and it is in no way harming to them or degrading of their cultures or persons. (personal opinions of bad taste or poor representation aside)

    What it sounds like to me when I hear people talking about appropriation is really that fear, misinterpretation and perhaps a lack of compassion are the foundation of the perspective. This goes for all people of all colors of the rainbow. Bitterness regarding a supposed ownership of a cultural nuance doesn’t seem to allow people the opportunity to understand the nuance which is exactly what people seem to be upset about in the first place. How can you be mad at a situation that was created by the very attitude that perpetuates intolerance?

    Everyone everywhere has appropriated something. Cultural values and expressions are created through communion with spirit. Who has ownership of that? These expressions are live, living and evolving. How incredulous of any of us to think that any one of us owns these abstractions of expression that has made the world the beautiful place that it is and worse, to keep them from spreading outward, as if to halt the nature of life itself. Why should something stop at cultural lines, state or country lines? Or at skin tones and pigmentation for that matter? Does that make us all a little more comfortable with being inert and unchanging? Does it make us feel better about settling for being less than our potential?

    What is so wrong with people wanting to jam a bunch of awesome expressions of humanity, art and spirituality together into something completely contemporary and relevant to the times of it’s conception?

    It bothers me to think that as an advanced human society we’re still grappling with people wanting to be authentically themselves via being in communion with all that is available to us through the vast cultures that we have to choose from emulating.. with respect and reverence.

    If it’s so offensive to you to see other people being outside of their cultural box then perhaps a little self reflection is necessary to see why it bothers you so much.

    Perhaps it’s because you’re inhibiting your own expressions of authenticity so much so that you are infuriated by other people’s freedom. Bondage is largely a state of mind.

    Free yourself.

  38. Personally, I find the appropriation of culture to be problematic in general. I find it interesting how people of African descent in the West often neglect to consider the ways in which we are privileged by virtue of our citizenship. Thus, we are also at fault, in many instances, for the very same thing that bothers us about white people. I do not like the wearing of dreadlocks as a fashion statement. However, I tend to remain silent on the matter because I believe that each and every individual reserves the right to style his or her self in a manner that is delightful to them. Who am I to judge? No one. This is something that I’ve come to terms with. I know several white people with dreadlocks. All of them, like myself, were born and raised in the West Indies. At a young age, they made a spiritual commitment to the path of Rastafarianism. I believe that the wearing of dreadlocks ought to accompany a spiritual ovastanding and consciousness of the world and one’s positionality in it. However, that ovastanding is not something that can only be attained by Black people (for all humans are people of African descent). Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and culture… I am irked when people where dreadlocks but do not make any effort to resist all of the varied forms of oppression that we impose on one another. I smile to myself whenever I come across a person with dreadlocks who is conscious of the power dynamics inherent in intersections of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. That is information that I cannot tell simply by looking at the color of his or her skin.

  39. Interesting article. I believe that some people like making themselves feel irked, perturbed, angry, and/or otherwise upset. I think they find the closest thing they can to blame this on. The dis-ease is inside, has nothing to do with others, really. That being said, I’m a black woman with locs. It doesn’t bother me seeing anybody else in the world wearing locs. Frankly, it’s not my business. Live and let live, in peace.

  40. Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
    And another
    Inferior
    Is finally
    And permanently
    Discredited
    And abandoned –
    Everywhere is war –
    Me say war.

    That until there no longer
    First class and second class citizens of any nation
    Until the colour of a man’s skin
    Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes –
    Me say war.

    That until the basic human rights
    Are equally guaranteed to all,
    Without regard to race –
    Dis a war.

  41. Black people can’t have nothing. White people have taken and destroyed everyone’s culture on the face of this planet because they truly have no cultural nor identity of their own or nothing to claim that is originally their own. I do agree with a previous commenter who stated that white people lack in spirituality, this is truth. Locs show our connection to our God and it is our culture and identity, that whites have tried to take away from us. Or hair will naturally lot on its on, white hair needs assistance. They have given us a white god and have whitened the people of the bible (as everything else) when we know that the people were and are black, just to make us feel inferior to them. Now when SOME black people call them out on this they want to dance and sing Kumbaya around the fire with black people, as if we have no right to claim what rightfully belongs to us because it is now ”2012 and racism no longer exist.” Yeah, racism no longer exist when something is going to benefit you, while being at the expense of others.

    Everything really is black and white, Adam and Eve (the original human beings) were black, and God said he made man in his image. Which only makes sense to say that Black culture was and is everything and everywhere, but black people refuse to acknowledge and claim it for themselves, now you have all of these other races claiming it for themselves, as it always have been. I guess we should be flattered.

    Whites want to be gods and to control everything and everyone, that is why they have mixed with everyone on this planet, after destroying the original state of the people. MOST blacks just refuse to see this because they enjoy the oppression and race mixing and love the whites more than their own.

  42. my experiences (what i see) make it difficult for me to trust the intentions of whites. …i was researching meditation centers in my area. i found one that happened to be run by a group of white men and women. the description of the class indicated that this type of yoga had been modified to address modern living. to me that meant it was changed so that they didn’t have to venture too far from their comfort zone. …my sister was a teacher at an inner-city, predominantly black school with a large population of african-american teachers. the school was taken over (chartered) by a white business man. soon after, almost all of the black teachers were fired or… encouraged to leave, leaving openings that were QUICKLY filled by white new graduates. we later learned that working in an inner-city school faired well in the careers of those white educators. …when whites began moving into a predominantly african-american neighborhood in my town, they smiled and spoke like they were interested in being friends/neighbors. but it wasn’t long before ALL of the long-time residents were… gone, property taxes were raised, and the neighborhood became colorless. so… when whites are helping poor black people in poor black neighborhoods, i don’t think it is because they care about the people. i think it is simply something to do to fill in the gaps of boredom resulting from an privileged life. after all, i doubt that these same people would dare move into one these neighborhoods they help clean or send their children to one of the schools they help paint… or in which they teach. OOPS… DID I WANDER OFF COURSE? …the bottom line is that i have difficulty trusting the motives/intentions of whites. even when it comes to yoga, meditation, and locs, i don’t think it is with the pure intention of the ones that originally engage in these things. and i agree with the lady in the cafe: when they get bored with being the rebel or… whatever… they can cut their dreadlocks, take a shower, and put on a suit and it’s back to a life of privilege.

  43. While I dont think that we should forget about discrimnation based on ones race or the privilige of another, it just seems plain dangerous to me to keep perpetutaing this whole us, we, them, my people etc.. Recognizing the marginalization of particular ethnic, religious and gender groups is very important. But at what point does everyone quit making assumptions about peoples intentions and beliefs based on race, ethincity, gender etc. I think that anyone who wants to expand thier view of life and embrace or explore new traditions or cultures should be a welcomed individual. We are all human and all face struggles and uphill battles in life. Some people more than others definetly but lets not gloss over peoples individual struggles and experiences. Lumping any group of people together and making any assumptions about them withouth knowing the truth is a dangerous thing. It allows hate and ignorance to continue.

  44. whitewithdreads

    There are some overtly racist comments here, and most of them are from black people. It’s funny how when white’s say something racist they’re ignorant, bigots who deserve to die, but when blacks say racist things they’re just “speaking the truth.”

    “Everything really is black and white, Adam and Eve (the original human beings) were black, and God said he made man in his image. Which only makes sense to say that Black culture was and is everything and everywhere.”……Really? Now whites are subhuman, obviously the devil must have made them. Also, with what your saying about everything comes from black culture you do realize that includes all the negative qualities that humans posses like racism. Your logic is highly flawed.

    “and i agree with the lady in the cafe: when they get bored with being the rebel or… whatever… they can cut their dreadlocks, take a shower, and put on a suit and it’s back to a life of privilege.”……This reminds me of the skit Eddie Murphy did on SNL where he put makeup on to make himself white, and he saw a whole new world. Where whites didn’t have to pay for things, and they served champagne on public transportation as long as there wasn’t any people of color around. Man, I should cut my hair so I can go get my executive level job, of course, and my free mansion in the Hamptons. It really sounds like you’ve gotten most of your ideas about white people from tv.

    Or that it’s somehow insulting to blacks for whites to have dreads, but it’s fashionable for a black lady to relax and dye her hair blond. If you can’t see the hypocrisy, you only see what you want to see. Racism isn’t a trait only carried by white people it works across the board. I know that there are intelligent, progressive thinkers from all races, and hopefully one day those are the people who inherit the earth. The sooner people except that skin color has to do with what type of climate your better suited for, the sooner we can join forces to rid the sleazebags of the world who hold influential positions. Whats the easiest way to control people? Divide and conquer, and with all the diversity in the world it’s not very hard. Kinda like a made for tv invention “set it and forget it.” And by the way, my locs stay in naturally, not because of a wax product , that’s a myth like black people are lazy.

  45. I never understand white people that want to wear dreads in the first place. Your whole society is designed to make blacks hide our culture. We won’t be silenced. Why must whites copy everything then have the nerve to wonder why people look at them strange. You hate the very essence of what is to be black. Dreadlocks are becoming just as common as black women wearing.natural hair. We have grown tired of the Eurocentric bull crap we have been fed for 400 years. White people’s hair doesn’t even lock. We flaunt our blackness because we are proud. the way we dance, our mannerisms, our swagger, & our realness. America shuns everything that associated with being black. We live this sh*t. Braids, dreads, waves, across, & whatever we try to do is all apart of our existence & history. White people’s history is theft, murder, oppression, greed, inhumanity to other people who have color.

    • @Just Real.: Not ALL white people hate the essence of black people. Racist whites “hate the very essence of what is to be black,” but those who have no problem with black people don’t hate us. Did you know there are White Africans? White Haitians, White so on and so forth, who are white but who were born and raised in these Black countries? Do they hate black people too?

      It’s a hairstyle. If you talk about you OWNING THIS SHIT, then tell black girls who perm their hair to stop perming their hair, to stop conforming to Eurocentric traits of beauty, because they own THAT shit. Kapeesh?

      • tiredofthewhites

        the whites born in africa. how the hell they got there? by being colonialists and thieving the land from the africans. look up apartheid. whites didnt go to africa just cause they went there to steal. so what are u saying . YOU WHITES AND YOUR ONLY COMEBACK IS BLACK WOMAN STRAIGHTEN THEIR HAIR. WHY THE FUCK U THINK THEY DO THIS? A BLACK WOMAN TRYING TO GET A CORPORATE JOB WITH LOCS OR ANY OTHER NATURAL STYLE WILL BE SHUNNED OUT OF THE INTERVIEW. THE EMPLOYERS WORDS ARE I DONT THINK UR HAIR IS IN THE COMPANY POLICY. SO BEFORE U TALK SHIT ABOUT WHY WE STRAIGHTEN OUR HAIR EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE FUCKING SUBJECT. @Cyn:

        • your saying the ONLY reason black woman straighten their hair is because they won’t be able to get a job???? Are you kidding me? Michele Obama? Beyonce? And every other WELL known person of color! Oprah wear’s an afro if she feels like it! So tired of listening to this one sided bull shit!

    • All naturally textured hair will tangle and lock up if you give it a chance. This is why combs were invented. In antiquity, locks certainly existed outside of Africa. Namely in Greece, India, modern Israel, Meso-America, and yes, even Ireland. Don’t talk down to everyone when you haven’t done your homework on this. That is the origin of the very ignorance you are criticizing. Google Polish plait. Poor people couldn’t avoid that ish back in the day. “White” hair can be any number of different textures ranging to perfectly straight to bordering-on-but-almost-never-exactly ‘nappy.’

  46. As a black young man I personally don’t find anything wrong with whites admiring our culture just as long as we get credit. I actually know of some older whites that things of this nature irks them too about their own kind! To me it’s silly…Why call us a melting pot called America with so many diverse cultures if we can’t share it. We as blacks have only wanted to be noticed for our good deeds and the things that make us who we are. Seeing whites admire our style is a privilege considering more than a handful look too us to find a sense of style. We once were nothing to even be mentioned let alone profoundly known as a symbol of style by any measure. Whites rocking dreads mean to me as black man that we are soon to one day see a black man or woman model with dreads or perhaps one taking charge and doing big things. Because once they can except the look on seeing it on other whites then to see it on a black person their a little less defensive about it, and it not be an issue. Racism is far from gone but as long as we can find things that can somewhat come close to sealing the gap such as; fashion, sports, music, and etc. then we are on are way to something better someday. This late 90′s generation is the one I personally believe that will do it.

  47. This subject of appropriation is so confuse to me, a Brazilian person. Of course I don’t want to offend anyone, but as a Brazilian person, our society was built over a mix of many kinds of people from all around the world, from Portuguese settlers to African slaves, from Dutch settlers to Japanese, Italian and German immigrants. For that reason, here in Brazil things are not that simple since people here have skin in all the colors of the spectrum because of ‘race’ mixing through 50 years since the settlers came here around 1500, which, of course, don’t deny the fact that racism exists here like everywhere. else, unfortunatelly;

    My family tree, from what my parents have told me, has Spanish, Portuguese, Black, Native Brazilian people. My father is a black man (son to a black man and black/native woman) and a white woman (daughter to a woman who was a Spanish descendant and a white man who was the son of a black woman).

    Though I have a paler skin from my mother’s side, I never saw myself as a white person even though the society probably saw me like that; I didn’t consider myself white because my father has darker skin and my hair is very curly, from his side of the family, of course.

    I’m aware of my white privilege-ness as society sees me as a non-black person and for that I never had to deal with people calling me racist names for the color of my skin – but I had to deal with people (even my own father, see how we are biased about Eurocentric beauty standards) telling my whole life that my hair would only be nice if I straighten it. I remember boys teasing me at school because my hair is curly and I of course thought they were right because “That was the truth”. I was ashamed of my hair and always had it in a pony tail or braid since i never had the patience to straighten it or throw chemicals at it to make it less curly (I’ve done it once and I really regreted it). Only after I reached adulthood I realized how everyone was WRONG about it. That my hair wasn’t good only because I didn’t KNOW HOW to take care of it properly since nobody ever told me / I’ve never seen there was a right way to take care of curly hair in first place until I researched it myself. Now I love it and I always wear it down and preferably very volumous, almost in an afro style.

    But that’s only one aspect of me, my hair. and since I never had to deal with racism for having a darker skin, I don’t belong with black identity even having half of my family tree formed by PoC. But I don’t belong to white identity as well since what society sees of me is not the whole truth about myself / my origins and also I have some experiences that white, straight-haired individuals will never experience in their lives.

    Am I white or black? Or both? I used to think I’m no one and both at the same time, but after a massive discussion I had with other internet users about racism, I’m don’t even know what I am anymore exactly because saying you are any race = white priviledge, but what happens when I don’t fit in any of them and in both at the same time? Could I use locks if I wanted to, for example? Or not because I ‘look white enough’ to do that?

    This conflicts me a lot to the pojnt I don’t have an identity anymore, I don’t know HOW to see myself. Sorry if thissounds kind of a rant, that wasn’t my intention, but this is how I feel about this subject and articles on internet only deals with it in a very black / white manner (no pun intended), like, wheather you are a white-privileged-blind person or a black individual who have their rights / appearence oppressed by white society. I find this article very interesting because it debates about both sides of appropriation and the comments reflect people are really interested in understand both sides as well…

    What should I do being a mixed person like I am, with all this people from many other parts of the world in my family tree and what happens about cultural appropriation here when you live in a country like Brazil where typical foods and holidays and everything else comes much more from other countries, from immigrants influences, other than from our Native People who, truth be told, were killed and oppressed by the settlers like the Native American people were and like them are still oppressed nowadays?

  48. I agree and disagree. Privlege is legit, however, i don’t like the popular way of seeing things as “No, this is mine” and a very black and white, polarized way of looking at the world. Where do mixed-race people fit into appropriation?

    As for religion, I believe we should recognize the cultural roots of a religion and tread carefully, but who is to tell a white Zen Buddhist to GTFO simply because of her race? I do believe that spirituality is something that transcends race and more societal matters, but I also believe in being aware of where your spiritual practices originated from and respecting that. However, from what I am aware of, Christianity is without specific color, Islam is all-color-inclusive, and most Pagan-branches are quite transparent (the issue of racialism is still a huge thing in paths such as Astaru, though, and in others as well, but there is no universal “only ___ can practice ___” doctrine. Cultural appropriation is a large issue within that community as well, with things like totems, “Native” traditions and practice, etc, but that’s a seperate issue).

    Also, shut the bleep up with “Black people are more spiritual than whites, says ‘several’ white people that apparently speak for every Caucasian on the entire planet”. It’s not true, no blanket statement is universally true about this matter. It’s complex and frustrating,and isn’t solved by multitudes of people saying “I’m of this culture and I think this, so THERE, WHITE PEOPLE! TAKE THAT.”

    And on another note: Appropriation is different from globalization, and I wish people would look the latter up.

    More notes:
    *EVERYTHING the person above me has said should be addressed. I am of Ojibwe, Puerto Rican and slivers of European Heritage [italian, dutch, romanian, scot/irish], and face many similar issues. I no longer identify with the term POC because it makes me feel, once again, boxed in and told how to think and feel.

    *What about white people raised in black/hispanic-dominant communities? Is adopting similar dress and mannerisms appropriative, or should we view “ghetto/barrio” culture as its own entity? [genuine questions,not trying to be smarmy] Nature versus nurture? Can we really “spot” appropriation in certain circumstances? Like locs, origin aside, many people get them now not to identify with black culture or rasta culture, but to get a more punk rock look, or simply because they want to. Somewhat connected, not every style of dress or hair is appropriative, though it may “look” something like “tribal”, it may be fitting a certain stereotype or image, or it may be genuinley what that person thinks they like to wear. My dance teacher was of mixed race, and had locs not to identify with her African heritage, but because she wanted to “let her hair go to nature”.

    In summary, I’m genuinley confused by pretty much everything!

    *

  49. Whites are Lunatics

    Drealocked, lice headed, breaded or pink and bald I just wish the cancerous white smell pig freaks would disappear.

  50. Fyi locks are not an African nor African American (Black) hairstyle. Locks have been around before biblical times. You people need to grow up and get rid of your racism because it seems to exceed that of the people you speak of.

  51. I am white and yes, it irks the fuck out of me to see white people with dreads

  52. I appreciate that the author wasn’t one sided. I think a lot of times people talk about cultural appropriation as if it only exists in one way a.k.a only white people an appropriate things from other cultures. I’m white and so many times I have been accused of this. I don’t think im racist or ignorant or willfully going around “appropriating” things that “aren’t mine”. It kind of drives me crazy that white people are (sometimes) viewed as incapable of being anything BUT racist. As if we all go around with some kind of ” I rule the world” attitude where we are just searching out opportunities to seek and destroy other cultures. What about Christianity? Frequently associated with white (Americans usually) but totally not a “white” religion. Not even a little bit. Did we appropriate that? Did everyone else of non middle eastern/ Jewish background? Is anyone rightfully “allowed” to be a Christian? I just think everyone on a whole spends entirely too much time thinkin of race. Often it seems people have a “tit for tat” attitude. Well dreads are for black people, how dare a white person appropriate them… By that logic black people shouldn’t have relaxed or straightened hair after all “that’s a white hairstyle” sigh! Exasperating! Why can’t we accept we currently live in a world where so much cultural mixing has occured that it is impossible to say this belongs to that race or that race can’t do this because it’s not theirs. Cultural “appropriation” does happen every day from every race it doesn’t have to be a negative and it doesn’t have to be thought of as secular by whites. It’s impossible not to adapt traits from the people around you and thank god we live in a multicultural world… I think it’s about time that that’s accepted and we move towards less boxing people in by race and more acceptance of everyone

  53. Dreadlocks have been around for centuries. They were worn by kings, priests, and EVERYBODY before we made shampoo with conditioners. There are such things called natural dreadlocks, and anybody can grow them naturally and without wax. No single ethnic group invented dreadlocks they simply happen over time with lack of brushing, shampooing, and maintenance. Seriously, get over the race thing. Everybody needs to focus on themselves instead of other people for a change.

  54. Dreadlocks HAVE been around for centuries. The Celts even wore them. As did the Greeks and Romans. I think the issue here is ego not hair.

  55. I’m a little late to the party, but what it’s really about is the one-way street of multiculturalism. People want to have what is “theirs”, and they’d like it to be exclusive to them, and in this case, minority groups have come to feel that their signature stuff makes them special. American born Spanish speakers, for example, don’t like to see whites speak Spanish. It’s a very “high school” mentality. It’s like the guy who says “band X? Oh, they were cool but now EVERYONE listens to them.

    I’m white, and I think whites who do the tribal thing are ridiculous…BUT, they are no more ridiculous than a person of color who does it. Skin color does not give you an automatic connection to an experience. An American black who puts on a daishiki is just as ridiculous.

  56. I agree. I live in NJ in the Princeton area. I don’t know what or why but there are quite a few white folk sportin dreadlocks about town. Yesterday, at whole foods in particular, I noticed what appeared a couple, huge out of control smelly dreadlocks. WTF? What is the actual purpose of dreadlocks? They looked stupid and I wanted to cut off their dreadlocks and beat them with them. AHHHHH I feel better just venting.
    As an employer anyone who shows up with dreadlocks or ear lobe expanding plates is automatically disqualified. Thats right! No job because your look freaking stupid!

  57. Wow. This whole thing about white people is stupid as fuck. What I don’t get is while your calling white people racist….here you go making a bunch of racist and culltural hate comments. Really though is ignorance still among us?? You don’t here any white people posting shit talking about african americans “blackness”. Come on now……its 2013…. ide like to think we r over racial differences. Dreads aren’t a “black” thing. Dreads are a natural thing. If you don’t brush your hair…no matter what race you are….BAM dreads. So the fact your trying to still separate the african american race from caucasians…that’s your fault for thinking that racist way. I solely believe from experience that black people are racist against white. Just because they believe the opposite. Seriously we got over segregation decades ago. Now your gonna bring it back in cultural discriminations? Racist fucks

    • Yeah, I dont know what bubble you’ve been living in but by the time they’re 12, most black kids have had to put up with a shitload of racist remarks. And it damn well hurts so don’t even try to use the excuse of “black people are racist towards whites” because at the end of the day, the amount of racism a white kid faces won’t even measure up to a fraction of what black kids – and generally, MINORITIES in America go though.
      And in no way do I support Racism of any kind.

  58. White people’s hair deffinintly has the ability to mat up on its own. Believe me when I say that I speak from experience.

  59. Damn people get mad at anything huh.
    End Racism… just have mixed babies

  60. Soft article, i know it may irk but get over it….Almos everybody does irkish things, so be it. It irks me the dumb people get irked about stupid things but I still let them be. I have better things to learn about/do in my life. #1 help my brother or sister (mankind) #2 No color/culture required #3 Honest, morals, and level headed-ness toward themselves then others is a start. STOP JUDGING OFF OF LOOKS…..get to know a persons true character then you can place some judgment if you want to go that low. If your in middle or elementary school you get a waiver until you get into the 10th grade, when u same folks looked/acted/viewed/did wild things yourself.

  61. Race…white…black…asian etc. These race obsessions on what one should wear/listen to/speak – people shut the hell up. These things shouldn’t even be issues anymore. I wish this type of discourse would just go away along with the words nigga, cracker, chink – shit the list could go on
    . But, of course, these things are here to stay because we assign race to everything and won’t be happy until people meet our expectations, no matter how ignorant and outdated they may be.

  62. 1. Anyone’s hair will lock naturally over time. There are video series/documentaries on youtube of people doing this over the course of 1-2 years. There are renderings/coins/etc of white Celtic people with locks from ancient times as well. People in Asia, Africa, and Europe have deliberately allowed their hair to lock since the beginning of time, because fuck inventing combs.

    2. Locks tend to happen when people go away to fight on the run. The Mau-Mau and wood-kerne are good examples of this from two different cultures/races. If you don’t have time/reasons to sexy up your hair all the time or at all…it will lock up. Curlier hair locks faster, of course.

    3. Locks have a connotation of oppression/resistance to them, but not for the reasons we think in our narrow, now-centric (Afro-centric?) viewpoints. They can be a symbol of Black identity if you want them to be, but due to the facts above they serve a broader purpose. They are the natural result of a person separating themselves from the normal comforts of life and reverting to a more natural state to fight/get closer to God. They have can have two connotations: A militant one, of a person who’s out of fucks to give and is on a mission. Or a spiritual one–a person in their natural state. They can be a symbol of age/wisdom/leadership in some cultures.

    I have my hair locked for a few reasons:

    1. I made a promise to not cut my hair until I accomplished certain things (I’ve gone away from my family and friends and put myself in the monastery, so to speak). Locks are easy to maintain and I don’t have to f around with hair products all morning, so they’re practical. They’re also a daily reminder that I have goals and am on a path toward completing them, but it’s a process and it isn’t always pretty. Also, locks defy the second law of thermodynamics, which is cool. From chaos, order.

    2. I’m proud of my Celtic heritage, and for all of you who talk about white privilege sure, it’s real. So is the fact that my people have been and continue to be oppressed to this day. (Wales/Scotland/Ireland/etc.) The fact that it’s been by other white people makes it much less damaging, I assure you. I promise you that during the Potato Famine everyone was saying “Goddamn it sucks that we’re all gonna die because the English took our food, but it makes me feel better that at least it’s going to my white brothers across the pond and not some BLACK GUY. White power!” I’m proud of the fact that people fought back when they could over the years. Some of them hid in the countrysides and waged guerrilla warfare (you’ve heard of the IRA…have you heard of the woodkerne? These folks wore dreadlocks). Oppression in any form has bothered me since before I was old enough to go to school and before I knew anything about my heritage (which also includes American Indian, for those of you who can’t sympathize with white people). Most of my writing in college was on military rebellions…stuff is fascinating.

    3. I’m a boxer and I don’t care who you are, it’s intimidating to fight a white guy with dreadlocks. Or you think I’m a pothead and underestimate me. Either way, it messes with you. Plus it looks cool and I don’t need (or frequently give) any other excuse.

    I’m fully aware that to most people I look like a trust fund anarcho-liberal hippie who listens to Bob Marley, smokes weed all day and is burdened by white guilt and more of my parents money than I know what to do with. Truth is that I’m not worried about most people, especially when they couldn’t be further off-base. I’m a human being goddammit, and I can wear my hair any way I damn well please. I especially don’t worry about offending racists who think my hairstyle is somehow ‘theirs’ just because their race has used it more often. That is simply retarded, and I’m sorry you feel that way but your opinion is invalid and will not be taken into consideration.

  63. I’m white. I follow the truth in all religions..Love is my religion. I’ve worn long hair and dreads and will again. Ive shaved my head bald. I have tattoos and will get more..I plan on plugging my ears..because these are things that I as a person enjoy, it has nothing to do with the color of my skin and if you feel it does that is racism on your part not mine my friend..live your life the way you want..live it with love..and live it to help others..everything else is irrelevant.
    Free your mind

  64. I don’t understand how this is such an issue who fucking cares what hair stile you where, if you have nothing better to do with you life then get pissed off because some white dude is wearing dreads or some black guy is wearing skinny geans your just waisting space i feel bad for you let me give you some advice people who wear things that seem strange to other people dont do it because there coppying any culture or religion they do it because they have the dessire and the power to do so, so the fucking do it they put on feety pajamas and die there hair rainbow wearing a septum wring with a corset pirceing on there neck and im pretty sure they could give a shit what some monkey in a suit or self richous religious freak thinks, its there life there body let them do what the hell they want if you dont think it looks interestin or like somthing you want to do then dont do it… its not complicated but to just constently wine about the shit like this like what the fuck happen to you, there are better things to by crying about, like why havent we made a civilization on the moon, why cant my car fly, why do illigal imigrants have a better chance at getting a job then i do, why does it cost 5$ a gallon for gass, how are people still starving when we have people with the resourses to end it, why is are leader trying to take guns away its the only thing that makes an old lady walking home from the store and a thug who wants whats in her purse equal, but to complain about what style somone is wearing is just sad because you have no vission or external dessire to stick out and exclaim i am an individual guided by my own light no one else can, an one more thing this race shit… are you fucking serious how the fuck have we not gotten over it, yes there are black people, yes there ae white people, there are yellow people red people and even fucking purple people, but there all PEOPLE, were all part of the same damn species but we fight and claw at eatch other like were cats and dogs, if we cant put asside what people look like on the outside and just realize that there people just like we are just because there black doesnt mean there heart beats sideways or just because someones white doesnt mean there lungs are upsidedown, if we cant put asside the most petty fucking thing ever heard of there is no hope for hummanity were going to die a sad and lonly species on this rock floating arround the cosmos.

  65. Those aren’t dreads…they’re mats. Dreadlocks are round, mats are flat. I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of “locking” a European. It was DISGUSTING…all the stringy hard wrapping around my fingers…I wanted to throw up. Needless to say, that was the first and last time.

  66. Seriously I can’t believe this?? If i dread,shave,dye or anything with my hair – why should anyone care black or white! I’m 52 and seen huge afro’s to gerry curl’s to relaxing and now brazilian blowouts to afro hair…I love it ALL! Never once have I said this irks me because its NOT euro hair and for that all afro hair should only stick with their own styles…which is what??? an afro or dreads? Come on!
    I love reggae but Im not a rasta, if I want dreads its because my hair is unmanageable and I wear it up all the time in a big messy bun anyway, so Im looking into getting dreads….possibly…my personal choice! Who do you all think you are judging? Try listening to the word of the “real” Rastafarians! This was one sad conversation.

  67. By a few of the former arguments, these statements would be valid-

    If you’re not of an oriental descent or of spanish/hispanic culture, stay away from Panda Express or Taco Bell. You have no right to those cultural foods. If you don’t go out of your way to learn extensively about their struggles as a people, you have no right to that food, so don’t even think about it. There were no Blacks in Germany, either- that means no hamburgers for you! And France? Everyone you see on TV from that country has a pale complexion to go with their dark-brew coffee and their baguettes, so because the word ” french” is in french fries, none of those for non-whites, either! You eat what “your people” make, and that’s it!

    Also, apparently my overly-curly white hair can’t possibly knot naturally without aid. And on that note- If you’re black, you are NOT ALLOWED to have straight hair, or any colour that isn’t brown or black. It’s not characteristic of an african american, and since you own dreads, you DON’T own straight, dyed hair. Sorry, check your hair at the door!

    Since my white ancestors had slaves, I’m equally a racist pig who wants to see the entirity of the black culture squashed beneath my shiny boot heel. The sins of the father are the sins of the son. If anyone in your family has ever committed a crime since the beginning of your lineage, you are equally guilty, so why isn’t everyone from the guilty and down locked away? You’re all monsters, and should be regarded as such.

    I think these arguments are just a frustrating waste of time. All they accomplish is more hurt feelings, and perpetuation of stereotypes, fortifying barriers. I have worn dreads before, and I’m in the process of re-dreading. Why? Because I like them. The ideal image of myself in my head has dreads, and I should have the right to pursue MY personal journey, just as you should be respected for following YOUR path. I’m not religious, so there’s nothing spiritual about this for me; I simply have a beauty ideal I strive for to feel good in my own skin.

    I have PERSONALLY KNOWN black women who BLEACHED THEIR SKIN, but it would be wholly inappropriate of me to say “sorry, that’s a white thing, and you’re not permitted!” Why is it that ONLY white people need to “stay in their culture”, yet others can explore, learn, incorporate other societies and world views into THEIR culture? Why does it matter at all?

    Dreads have been worn by cultures outside of Africa- in Egypt, in India, in the British Isles, etc.

    On a similar note- science leads us to believe there’s a STRONG chance we all came out of africa…so technically I’m a REEEEALLLY far ancestor of yours who’s skin changed due to location on the globe. Which sounds pretty reasonable and logical to me. Keep a goldfish in a closet for a year without light, it will become white. That’s just how nature works.

    So what’s your “black” problem with dreads, again?

  68. No such thing as “white people” or “blackpeople”‘ Never has been never will be. Tell the highest truth. I dare you.
    Stop with the ” Im not “them” so I cant” Straight insanity!
    All humans are Africans first and completely multi ancestria l.
    and above all individual. Live the truth of your unique self. Lead Gather with Like Minds not Like Looks. Make your own businesses, communities, supports, education, ect. Turn your backs on “them” and Thrive!

  69. OK but what are black people doing when they straighten their hair, and dance to pop music? The same damn thing. you don’t have to be a certain culture to love another. Many people of different cultures are obsessed with as aim culture. this is a very glass half empty mentality. Shouldn’t we be happy that some white people are loving our culture instead of trashing it all the time. I think white people loving African culture is refreshing and different, because honestly not many black people like our culture because they’re still trying to fit into this European ideal.

  70. Dreadlocks have been around for a long time since when did they belong to one culture! Your judgmental hateful racist! You got some growing up to do I’d say! This is what’s wrong with the world today smh!

  71. People should be able to wear what they want and express themselves any way they see fit, it shows deep levels of insecurity on you and your friends part aswell to sit there and judge people based on such a silly argument. By the way whiten people and black people are being treated the same no ” benefits” on either side. I feel very sorry that you and your friend are wasting your precious, beautiful gifts of life being so hateful and judgemental. Instead of using your energy to pass judgment, enjoy your amazing life, try looking at the fact that we are growing as a society and focus on the beautiful parts of life. Good luck

  72. By the way… Do your research about dreadlocks before posting such nonsense… Like read the history of dreadlocks… Holla!

  73. this is fucking racist to no end. like Twyla said and like i’m saying: anybody should be able to wear what hair they want without haters like you. with my ethnicity i’ve literally been asked if i’m biracial before but actually it’s probably the Jewish in me, and everyone knows theyve been more than enslaved TOO. you’re so ethnocentric it’s sick. plus: WHITE PRIVILEGE? WHEN THE PRESIDENT’S BLACK. SO’S THE MEGA-WEALTHIER PROBABLY HELL WEALTHIER THAN I’LL EVER BE CEO OF MCDONALD’S AND THE QUEEN BEY. BUYING 80,000 BARBIES FOR HER BABY (LONG LIVE BLUE IVY) WHILE I COULDNT EVEN GET ONE FROM A DAMNED BENJAMIN FRANKLIN STORE EVERY SUNDAY. real privilege?? for so many people? is not paying a damn dime of taxes then accepting other people’s money from their taxes, having done shit 4 it. think about that and slavery’s been universal. the indian tribe where i lived was even enslaving long before others started up, sadly enough that’s the way it’s been a lot

  74. Wow. So I can’t play any gigs, because I’m using the Malian pentatonic scale and drums were the sole invention of African people. I can’t eat tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, corn, potatoes, yams, or anything other than fish and the odd leaf because they came from other countries first. I can’t wear clothes that have certain pattens on them. I can’t have a tattoo, I can’t have piercings, I can’t even go to a hairdresser of a different ethnicity to myself, lest she feels unwell at having to touch me. Perhaps that person should have a sign up saying ‘No whites’? Thinking about it, maybe I’d better get rid of the cat because they evolved outside Europe – I might be appropriating something special to Ancient Egyptians or Babylonians and insulting them by keeping her as a much loved animal, rather than a flea ridden mouse hunter.

    But hold on, Caucasian mummies have been found with tattoos. Roman chronicles refer to Northern men being painted, although if they were waving spears and shit at the writer at the time, I don’t think he was particularly likely to stop one and ask whether it was paint or tattoos. Celts (who are a huge part of my genetic heritage, along with Vikings) had their hair in a similar fashion, as it happens naturally to all hair. Ancient art shows white women with elaborate braided hairstyles. Did the Vikings, Geats and Danes nip over to Africa and abduct a couple of hairdressers before doing that?

    I don’t give a shit what colour somebody is, whether their skin is the colour of burnt umber, darkest brown with an undertone of blue, pink or whether it is scattered with tens of thousands of tiny golden speckles of pigment from the sun. In fact, were the melanin in my skin to be evenly dispersed, I’d be darker skinned than a lot of people who identify themselves as black. Red hair is something that every ethnicity sees, as it’s an error in genetic replication, similar to albinism.

    I am me. I am not responsible for what other people have done, I can only be responsible for my own thoughts and actions and I find people saying I have no right to act, choose my appearance or my career because my ethnicity makes me intrinsically bad just as offensive as it would be to saying similar to my brother’s children on the grounds that they also have Jamaican ancestry.

    Colour is irrelevant when somebody is being a complete dick. It’s a convenient excuse, a way of negating responsibility for being unpleasant, arrogant or spiteful.

    And you judging other people and their personal choices purely on the bases that they are white and upon what people entirely unrelated to them have done many, many years ago is as dicklike as any neonazi twat.

    Oh, and by the way, punk doesn’t equal nazi. Just as rap doesn’t equal child molesting murderer.

    • I just joined to say what wonderful comments you have made. Basically it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you treat yourself and others. Seen from abroad, the U.S. seems a rather colour-obsessed place – try to get past it.

  75. What a stupid racial and stereotyping post this was, why so judgmental!? Well here’s a thought for you, let’s put all people in to different boxes and let’s separate all the people by their color! Perhaps we should put black and white people in different schools, make them take different buses and so on. And yes, all white people are guilty for being white and they are ALL rich and privileged, actually there is no such thing as a starving white person nor a homeless one! And ALL black people are victims because once they were slaves, there is no such thing as a rich black person. Let’s judge EVERYONE and let’s point our fingers at them, condemning them for being because we are so perfect. Sieg Heil!

  76. Whose place is it to say what is considered black, white, yellow, green or purple? Isn’t the entire idea of humanity to push aside the thoughts that certain things are for certain races? I am a white, 26 year old male, who rocked dreads for roughly two years. I am tattooed and pierced as well. I have a sleeve of aztec ruins and flowers, and gauges in both ears. I pull from the idealism that as i age my ear lobes will stretch and as certain cultures in south america believe, will be a sign of my greater wisdom. I had the dreads simply because I love the way they look, not to steal from black culture. I have no interest in being anything but a tatted, pierced, and locked out white guy. So be pissed if you want, hate it if you want, but if you say something disrespectful about me loud enough for me to hear it, then I don’t care if your a twenty year old asian man, or a 55 year old black woman, I will say something back. And it probably won’t make you happy.

  77. Humans doing human things from human cultures.

    But, playing along with race, White Westerners had their native ways torn from them through conversion and slaughter, and rather than receiving a love or a compassion from those of other ‘races’, they are continually slapped with the sins that came out of their ancestors lost connection with the Earth and their nature.

    But, all that aside, arguing either side is wrong perception. One can never know another’s motivations for the way they decorate their bodies, nor should they even concern themselves with said reasons. Humans decorate themselves. All of us.

  78. Haha, you guys are some of the most racist people I’ve ever encountered.. If it wasn’t for the peaceful hippie type people, you’d all still be slaves. Not trying to be mean but it’s the truth.. How about hating on all the hicks/rednecks who think you should still be slaves? I believe in peace, and love and it “irks” me that an ignorant article such as this one would even exist. It also “irks” me that black people constantly complain how everyone’s racist but they are the most racist group of people I know.. I am not any ethnicity, I am a human and refuse to be put on blast for what I cannot control. I love and respect everyone equally, and advise you do the same. This is a beautiful life and I don’t see the point in worrying and being negative, because in all reality it’s just a waste of time (which we don’t have much of)..

  79. Black folk straightening their hair irks the shit out of me…. oh wait…

  80. obviously it’s not just white folk who can be racist….

  81. This has to be one of the most racist articles I have read and proof that blacks are just as racist as whites.

    What irks me is when I see black people using white man’s clothes, electricity, computers, internet, television, gaming consoles, phones etc etc.

  82. Embarrassed for you.

    So to sum up the comments:

    False equivalences – POC partaking in white culture isn’t the same as white cultural appropration. POC aren’t the communities with the power.

    Special snowflakes – Yes you are probably the most anti-racist white person ever but that doesn’t change the inherent racist power structure that is alive and well today.

    White people making it about them somehow – I swear we can’t get through a conversation about racism without somebody bringing up poor whites. Do you not realize you are using your white privilege to silence voices in this way?

    “There’s no black and white” – I would love to live in this fantasy world. Fellow POC who have bought into this white privilege lie, I feel especially sorry for. Of course white people want you to be colorblind: they want to see everyone as white. This makes them comfortable. You will only be white until they see your name on a job application, or on a loan application to start your own business. Let’s see how colorblind they are then. If you feel better because you don’t have an “ethnic” name, think about why that is.

    -signed a black female Buddhist who gives her money and time to POC sanghas instead of the white Buddhist appropriation industry

        

    • midnightmoses

      Really Embarrassed for you.

      Where do I begin,
      When you say POC, I am sure you are referring to black people. In most African countries POC are the community in power, so you are wrong about POC not being the community in power. “POC partaking in white culture isn’t the same as white cultural appropriation”, just because you believe that doesn’t make it true. It is just a convenient way for you to appropriate white culture. . African Americans attempts at cultural appropriation happens all the time. Claiming Egyptian culture when anyone with a computer can read the mountains of historical facts that prove it simply isn’t true. I remember African Americans groups trying to claim Hannibal of Carthage as being black, a little reading would reveal that Carthage was a Phoenician colony and certainly not black. Black people appropriated Christianity from their slave masters. By your logic you should be living in a hut made of cow dung like the tribes in Africa. You are able to live a pleasant life because of the inventions of what you call white men. In any country you name where there is a minority group they are always the least privileged, that is human nature . The only racial group that had all the power but decided to share it with the minority is white people. Tell me another racial group other than white people that abolished slavery. They still practice slavery in several African counties, India and the Middle east. indecently, there is no such race as white, there is Caucasian and they come in many colors.

      It is funny that It is ok for you to be Buddhist but not a white person. What about all the Chinese that appropriated what was an Indian religion Buddhism. You seem to be hung up on “white privilege”. There is no white monolithic entity. White people are competing and struggling against each other most of the time. In many countries up until fairly recently the white aristocracy controlled white countries and most white people were essentially slaves. Bye the way the word slave comes from some of the first white people who were enslaved by the Romans, the Slavs. Privilege exists in every country where there is a majority ethnic group. Look no further than Africa, people are killing or dominating the tribe that is not in power. As far as racist people go, African Americans are by far the most racist people I have encountered. You sound quite racist yourself. Your hatred for “white people” is obvious. African people I know are ashamed of the racist attitudes of African Americans. indecently, all names are ethnic. With a little research any name can tell you which ethnic group it came from. .

      Culture is an evolving and dynamic phenomenon. When two different cultures are introduced to each other, instinctively they borrow from each other because each culture may find some practice they can adopt because it may improve their lives in any number of ways. Culture is always changing and will always continue to change just like everything in the universe. I think you need to come out of the box you have put yourself in and be more open minded.

  83. dreads represent Freedom and they look good on any color of persons, nice troll thread post tho

    • Exactly. It’s a lifestyle . If you don’t live that life then im.not sure who’s to say how your hair should be? But this person hides behind a computer and expresses such foolery. I have LOCS . There’s nothing dreadful about my hair. I don’t have a problem finding men either so…

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