Should white people be able to appropriate black hairstyles (afro, braids, dreadlocks)

Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 12,400
During my sociology lecture at university today this topic came up and it caused a bit of tension between students of African heritage and one white student who couldn't see a problem with it.
Three girls of African background got all angry at this suggestion saying because white people have made fun of Africans with these hairstyles in past history and called Africans unprofessional for adopting these hairstyle they therefore have no right to appropriate these hairstyles. I didn't want to say my bit because then I'd probably have been called a racist.

I can understand their anger at past treatment but vehemently saying no white person should be allowed to appropriate these hairstyles is like saying all white people are responsible for past wrongs. I walked out of that lecture feeling pissed off, I feel noone should tell someone what hairstyle they can and cannot wear.

Thoughts?
Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014

Should white people be able to appropriate black hairstyles (afro, braids, dreadlocks) 24 votes

Yes
91%
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No
4%
Restless Soul 1 vote
Undecided
4%
PJWGIII 1 vote
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Comments

  • my2handsmy2hands Posts: 15,247
    Yes
    Should I twist my hair into dreads before Fenway? Its definitely long enough lol
  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 10,163
    Yes
    This is very hard for me to understand.  I understand stuff being offensive like dressing up as a stereotype for different culture "holidays"/celebrations.  But this other stuff not only do I find annoying I think it's generally stupid.  So many real issue to be worried about and how someone wears their hair really shouldn't make the list at all.  

    It'll be interesting if anyone here can share an argument for the other side and change my mind.
    hippiemom = goodness
  • my2handsmy2hands Posts: 15,247
    edited August 8
    Yes
    my2hands said:
    Should I twist my hair into dreads before Fenway? Its definitely long enough lol
    or go braided Bronson Arroyo style

    I'll let the ATM decide 
    Post edited by my2hands on
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 14,136
    plenty of folks with curly hair naturally, what are they supposed to do? shave it off, straighten it?

    some of this stuff is being offended for the sake being offended.
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  • riotgrlriotgrl LOUISVILLEPosts: 1,847
    Part of the issue is that African American men and women are still prohibited from wearing natural hairstyles because they're 'too ethnic'  but white people can wear those styles no problem.  I think when schools and work places no longer place restrictions on African Americans wearing natural styles then it won't be as much of a problem with other ethnicities wearing them.
    Are we getting something out of this all-encompassing trip?

    Seems my preconceptions are what should have been burned...

    I AM MINE
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 15,242
    Yes
    I actually thought of this when I was on the bus yesterday, when I saw a black woman with straight hair. 
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 8,490
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 15,242
    Yes
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    ok, but why the outrage now? in the 90's, every second white teenager you saw had dreds or braids in their hair (like Dexter from The Offspring). no one seemed to care then. I guess i didn't see it as "culture appropriation". I saw it as a compliment to their culture. 
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 8,490
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    ok, but why the outrage now? in the 90's, every second white teenager you saw had dreds or braids in their hair (like Dexter from The Offspring). no one seemed to care then. I guess i didn't see it as "culture appropriation". I saw it as a compliment to their culture. 

    I don't think it's up to white people to decide when black people are allowed to get "outraged", or when they have to "move on from the past" (I know that second bit is not in your post, but it's a common theme).
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 8,842
    edited August 8
    Sometimes cool things are just cool.


    Post edited by Spiritual_Chaos on
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • PJPOWERPJPOWER In Yo FacePosts: 4,119
    Yes
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    ok, but why the outrage now? in the 90's, every second white teenager you saw had dreds or braids in their hair (like Dexter from The Offspring). no one seemed to care then. I guess i didn't see it as "culture appropriation". I saw it as a compliment to their culture. 

    I don't think it's up to white people to decide when black people are allowed to get "outraged", or when they have to "move on from the past" (I know that second bit is not in your post, but it's a common theme).
    People have the right to get outraged and ridicule, and people have the right to express themselves with whatever damn hairstyle they want.  Simple as that.   
    "At least I'm housebroken"
  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 8,842
    edited August 8
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    I don't really see what is offensive about someone finding the way someone else twists their hair being neat and decides to do the same. To me, that sounds detached from colored people having to change their appearance to fit it. 

    "Hey! White person. You in the dreads! You took our hairstyle because you like it and now you can't not get a job just like me. Don't look up to us and think that our hairstyles are cool! I find that very offensive!"

    But I might be ignorant. And am open to change by opinion if getting informed.

    (I have dreads. And I am a white swede. Never thought about it being wrong.)
    Post edited by Spiritual_Chaos on
    The man they call my enemy. I've seen his eyes, he looks just like me - A mirror...
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 15,242
    Yes
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    ok, but why the outrage now? in the 90's, every second white teenager you saw had dreds or braids in their hair (like Dexter from The Offspring). no one seemed to care then. I guess i didn't see it as "culture appropriation". I saw it as a compliment to their culture. 

    I don't think it's up to white people to decide when black people are allowed to get "outraged", or when they have to "move on from the past" (I know that second bit is not in your post, but it's a common theme).
    no, I didn't say white people are allowed to decide when black people get outraged. I asked why you think the outrage is happening now, as opposed to when it was way more widespread 20+ years ago. 

    I am glad you added the paragraphed part. I have been an outspoken opponent of the "get over it" movement. 
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 19,366
    Yes
    Funny no one screamed when Jordan shaved all his hair off and started that trend ....
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • riotgrlriotgrl LOUISVILLEPosts: 1,847
    There is greater support now.  Just as in the #metoo movement women and people of color have more support than they did in the past and feel they can speak out whereas before you kept your mouth shut.
    Are we getting something out of this all-encompassing trip?

    Seems my preconceptions are what should have been burned...

    I AM MINE
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 8,490
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    I don't really see what is offensive about someone finding the way someone else twists their hair being neat and decides to do the same. To me, that sounds detached from colored people having to change their appearance to fit it. 

    "Hey! White person. You in the dreads! You took our hairstyle because you like it and now you can't not get a job just like me. Don't look up to us and think that our hairstyles are cool! I find that very offensive!"

    But I might be ignorant. And am open to change by opinion if getting informed.

    (I have dreads. And I am a white swede. Never thought about it being wrong.)
    Yeah, I can see what you mean. I am just guessing, but I could imagine that it just seems like take, take, take - “hey, you’re going to work for me for no pay for the rest of your life and I own your children, too... hey, you can work on my farm and in the dangerous, crappy jobs no white person wants.... hey, I like that hairstyle so I’m just going to take it, regardless of what it means to you”. I don’t know how this plays out in Sweden, though, given the major differences in historical treatment of black people. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 10,163
    Yes
    I think it's a much more complex issue than the comments here suggest. African American people had literally their entire culture stripped from them in a deliberate fashion, by people who stole their bodies, their labour, and their personhood. Black people have struggled to have anything from their culture seen as worthwhile when they own it themselves. They have been told that their hair is unattractive and unprofessional, and if you expect to work here you'd better get rid of those braids and straighten it to make it look "normal". To have white culture then casually pick and choose what they like from black culture when they feel like it and dismiss concerns as being "offended for the sake of being offended" must be pretty galling. 
    ok, but why the outrage now? in the 90's, every second white teenager you saw had dreds or braids in their hair (like Dexter from The Offspring). no one seemed to care then. I guess i didn't see it as "culture appropriation". I saw it as a compliment to their culture. 

    I don't think it's up to white people to decide when black people are allowed to get "outraged", or when they have to "move on from the past" (I know that second bit is not in your post, but it's a common theme).
    But it’s up to black people how a white person should wear their hair? Seems pretty dumb to me. 


    hippiemom = goodness
  • unsungunsung Posts: 9,291
    Yes
    riotgrl said:
    There is greater support now.  Just as in the #metoo movement women and people of color have more support than they did in the past and feel they can speak out whereas before you kept your mouth shut.
    Deciding how to wear your hair is nothing like being sexually harassed.  How does speaking out equate on each issue?

    Wear your hair how you want = nobody else is being hurt.  

    Don’t harass other people = nobody else is being hurt.
  • unsungunsung Posts: 9,291
    Yes

    Funny no one screamed when Jordan shaved all his hair off and started that trend ....
    Secretly he was trying to appropriate the skinhead culture.  Must be what it meant if a white guy having dreads is guilty of some made up crime against culture.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 24,749
    Yes
    Works for Keith Morris, works for me.

    "Love and only love will break it down"
    -Neil Young
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.





  • riotgrlriotgrl LOUISVILLEPosts: 1,847
    unsung said:
    riotgrl said:
    There is greater support now.  Just as in the #metoo movement women and people of color have more support than they did in the past and feel they can speak out whereas before you kept your mouth shut.
    Deciding how to wear your hair is nothing like being sexually harassed.  How does speaking out equate on each issue?

    Wear your hair how you want = nobody else is being hurt.  

    Don’t harass other people = nobody else is being hurt.
    Both issues have similarities because people have more support in both instances.  And just because people aren't being physically hurt doesn't mean they aren't emotionally and mentally hurt by these actions.  What does it cost you or anyone else to try to understand another person's point of view?  I don't HAVE to understand WHY people of color feel marginalized I just have to understand that they feel that way and offer support.
    Are we getting something out of this all-encompassing trip?

    Seems my preconceptions are what should have been burned...

    I AM MINE
  • oftenreadingoftenreading Victoria, BCPosts: 8,490
    I don’t know the right answer, but I think that in this instance, like a lot of things in life, some basic principles apply. 

    Just because you have have a “right” to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right thing to do. No one is talking about making this illegal, so of course you have a “right” to do it, but too many people focus only on their rights and not enough on their responsibilities to society and other people. If you only focus on what you have a “right” to do, you may be an asshole. 

    Doing something just because you want to, despite consequences to anyone else, hasn’t created a particularly great society. Nor has it been particularly great for the planet, for that matter. 
    my small self... like a book amongst the many on a shelf
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 15,242
    Yes
    I don’t know the right answer, but I think that in this instance, like a lot of things in life, some basic principles apply. 

    Just because you have have a “right” to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right thing to do. No one is talking about making this illegal, so of course you have a “right” to do it, but too many people focus only on their rights and not enough on their responsibilities to society and other people. If you only focus on what you have a “right” to do, you may be an asshole. 

    Doing something just because you want to, despite consequences to anyone else, hasn’t created a particularly great society. Nor has it been particularly great for the planet, for that matter. 
    I guess I just don't see this as harmful. What I see as harmful is the caricaturization of their cultures. Like has been done to Native Americans and sports teams. Blackface is harmful. But being told you can't wear your hair a certain way because it marginilizes a group of people? I see that as taking it a bit far. 
  • PJPOWERPJPOWER In Yo FacePosts: 4,119
    edited August 8
    Yes
    I don’t know the right answer, but I think that in this instance, like a lot of things in life, some basic principles apply. 

    Just because you have have a “right” to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right thing to do. No one is talking about making this illegal, so of course you have a “right” to do it, but too many people focus only on their rights and not enough on their responsibilities to society and other people. If you only focus on what you have a “right” to do, you may be an asshole. 

    Doing something just because you want to, despite consequences to anyone else, hasn’t created a particularly great society. Nor has it been particularly great for the planet, for that matter. 
    I agree, but the original poll question was “should they be able to”, insinuating that the question referred to some kind of enforcement of hair styles.  But I agree, just because you have the right to do something does not mean you have the right to be clear of the public backlash for said action that may have insulted someone else.  But I definitely believe people should be “able to” wear whatever hairstyle they wish.
    "At least I'm housebroken"
  • unsungunsung Posts: 9,291
    Yes
    riotgrl said:
    unsung said:
    riotgrl said:
    There is greater support now.  Just as in the #metoo movement women and people of color have more support than they did in the past and feel they can speak out whereas before you kept your mouth shut.
    Deciding how to wear your hair is nothing like being sexually harassed.  How does speaking out equate on each issue?

    Wear your hair how you want = nobody else is being hurt.  

    Don’t harass other people = nobody else is being hurt.
    Both issues have similarities because people have more support in both instances.  And just because people aren't being physically hurt doesn't mean they aren't emotionally and mentally hurt by these actions.  What does it cost you or anyone else to try to understand another person's point of view?  I don't HAVE to understand WHY people of color feel marginalized I just have to understand that they feel that way and offer support.
    A haircut seems something extremely petty to get worked up over given everything else going on.  

    I’m not saying what should or should not bother someone but c’mon, it is just hair.  If that actually bothers someone then they must get bothered by a lot of things.  Seems rather stressful.
  • unsungunsung Posts: 9,291
    Yes
    I just doubt anyone takes the time to grow dreads to intentionally upset other people.
  • lastexitlondonlastexitlondon Posts: 3,491
    Yes
    I think it looks best on afro hair but help yourself to whatever hair you wish to have I say. It's your hair. 
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  • jeffbrjeffbr SeattlePosts: 6,004
    Yes
    Being offended by cultural appropriation is the latest trend amongst those looking to be offended. Sorry, not buying it. Should white women be wearing hoop earrings? That's cultural appropriation as well depending on who is asked/offended. We've had a few threads talking about this. Some of the claims are just silly. I have curly hair which gets frizzy, and if I didn't do anything with it, I'd have some pretty natty dreads. I'm not going to apologize for that. I don't wear dreads, but that's how it would go if I didn't run a comb through it and use some sort of product to control frizz. And if I use a chemical relaxer on it, I'm probably also appropriating black culture since I'd have to use a product targeted primarily to the African American demographic. 
    "I'll use the magic word - let's just shut the fuck up, please." EV, 04/13/08
  • Meltdown99Meltdown99 None Of Your Business...Posts: 2,396
    Yes
    Why not?
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 42,727
    edited August 8
    Yes
    I think accusations of cultural appropriation are often quite ridiculous. I think the only time cultural appropriation is a valid accusation is when whatever the clothing or hair, etc is is specifically offensive, i.e. done with racist intent, or as a caricature or something. Dressing up for Halloween can often make it a legit problem. But I don't think it should EVER be condemned when it's just a white person legitimately adopting a personal style or fashion that comes from a different culture because they like it and think it looks good. To me, it's an homage to that culture, not an insult. I think the whole idea of that kind of "culture appropriation" is completely nuts and only fuels the flames of racism in both directions. It's totally counter intuitive IMO.
    Post edited by PJ_Soul on
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