Locks is it a black thing or a human thing?

So, I am a locks wearing man. They are shoulder length. I love them and I can't get enough of them. However, with that said, they come with a cliche' or a stigma. With in my own African American culture they were feared because it was a revelation of the natural hair texture of African Americans. Furthermore, the hair is not combed and produces a "matted" appearance. However, the stigma associated with "locking" one's hair has changed because of the cosmetological innovations that have taken place. Many individuals now lock their hair so, of course, there are stylists that cater to the lock clad community.

I say that to say: my cousins life-long New Yorkers have been lock-clad for 26 years, now. They were pioneers in the ideology of non-rastafarian people can lock their hair. However, my family hated it because the hair was un-combed. Worst, it shows that they were no-longer; processing, straightening, or "altering" their hair. This was fine with them, they left their midwestern community, in which they were descendants of the great migration. Meaning, their parents were from the south. In plain english, their parents and family (mine too) retained the skin, eye-color and hair complex. If you were not fair, straight-haired and light eyed you were not as beautiful. So, their direct defiance was already progressive and anti-oppressive. Therefore, their move to NYC and embrace of locking their hair was in divine order.

However, they moved to NYC 26 years ago. Locking one's hair was still considered new territory. Even their children were locked too. The only people at the time who were "locked" were Bob Marley and Whoopi Goldberg. So, it was indeed a transition. Now, seeing a lock clad person is as common as eating a bowl of cereal in your pajamas.

I gave this long prose to get to my thesis. Now that it is socially acceptable to wear locks why is there still a division of non-black/African Americans (white) and black/African Americans? Historically speaking, there were ancient civilizations and tribes throughout the globe that have worn locks in their hair. The term dreadlocks came from when individuals first saw the Rastafari peoples hair and the response was "oh what dreadful locks." Therefore, you will hear people refer to them as locks, locs, or locz. The reason being is that the wearer feels that their hair is not dreadful but beautiful.

I personally, feel that anyone can lock their hair. The only problem I have is when they do not maintain their hair. I.E. when it clumps together, and is overtly matted. This is when: the locks fuse to huge matted locks so that they end up looking like (excrement). My boyfriend and I, get nauseous when we see individuals on the train, sidewalk, or parks that do this exact same thing (Regardless of race). Now, if you are emulating the Rasta culture do it properly. There is a philosophy, world-view that is associated with the ideology of the Rasta culture. Secondly, the belief is homophobic/and sexist, which most people do not know. Or they claim, its not like that it is what you take out of it. I simply respond, no bueno!!! Text is text, actions are reflections of the text.

Now, I know that individuals lock their hair for various reasons but I think that copying someone is so cliche' that they need to grow up. I think when someone commits to a hairstyle such as locks, or chemically straightening or extending their hair. They must be ready to defend it and not just say oh cause I wanted to lock, straighten, or extend my hair.

Lastly, I think that it's sad that I have had to defend the diversity of hair culture. I know that Oprah, and Chris Rock have documented hair culture. Individuals do not realize that hair is big business. Like I stated earlier, it is up to the individual. I only ask that anyone who locks their hair just PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE maintain your locks. Do not let the clump together and hang from your roots. That is not proper lock maintenance.... However, to each is own....

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Comment by Kevin Edward Dolan on February 18, 2010 at 8:27pm
Ah! This is so fascinating for a man who is definitely 'white' (whatever that means) and who has slightly wavy - and greying - hair.
I know young women who have slightly frizzy hair who use straighteners to make the hair, well, straight! Dead straight! Lifeless, in my eyes...
Here in the UK, there is not the same feeling that to 'make it' (again, whatever that means...), one must be part of mainstream 'white' culture, and that one must pretend to be other than what one is, so that one must straighten the hair so that one looks more Latin than African, for instance...
Here is the UK - in our relatively meritocratic culture - racism is not so much a feature of everyday life (well, it's illegal, for one thing) as in the USA... Black, white, or any shade of brown, if you can do the job, you're in!
Me, I applaud those men or women when they say, this is the way my hair is! Like it or not, it forms dreadlocks! It's curly and frizzy and, well, what it is! Such women, for instance, when they embrace the natural geometries of what nature gave them appear formidably beautiful. The men appear strong and sure of their identities. There are fashions in appearance. See those fashions for the will o' th' wisps they are. Embrace who and what you truly are. Feel proud. Enhance the look of your features, and walk tall. Knock 'em dead!
Embrace your real selves. To hell with what the world thinks!
Comment by Anwar Diamante on December 27, 2009 at 9:16am
@ Cheryl, thank you for the comment. I totally agree with the over processing their hair and keeping up with Beyonce. Yet, I am noticing men who are starting to shave their heads and wearing locks in their hair.

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