Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Dread" Locks

At church the other day, a lady came up to me and asked my name. Being that my name can be associated with the way I wear my hair (part of my name has "dred" in it), a nearby brother says, "Use name-word association." The woman, a senior citizen, was a little confused so I filled her in.

"My name is Blank, Blank-dred and I wear Dreadlocks," I said emphasizing the dread part. Now the nearby brother jumps in and says that unless I'm a rastafarean, I don't wear dreadlocks. He says that he received a whole education on locks by one of his coworkers and only people who live the rastafarean lifestyle can call them "dreadlocks" so I shouldn't call them that because obviously I'm not living that lifestyle.

I was a little confused by this and wondered why he brought up "name association" if he wasn't associating my name with my hairstyle? What else was he suggesting she associate my name with? My name isn't Sunday or Mary . . . there's no songs that I know of with my name in it . . . outside of dred and dreadlocks, I got nothing. So yeah, when I want people to remember my name, I go straight for the hair-name association which is the most obvious.

Besides that point, I never really had a problem calling them "dreads" or "locks." Mainly because I've been called "Dreadlocks" way before I got this hairstyle in the first place. (Maybe if that wasn't the case, I would have more of a problem with the term.) And the way I see it, while Rastafareans may (or may not) have designated the name dreadlocks, the rest of the world adopted that terminology in connection with the hairstyle so if your hair is locked up and you call them "dreadlocks" I don't think that makes you a rastafarean just like if you wear a mohawk, that doesn't make you a Mohawk Indian and if you wear a bowl cut it doesn't mean you put a bowl on your head and cut around it, LOL.

Now I'm not completely in the dark about the connection between spirituality, Rastafari and "dreadlocks." I've lurked on 1 or 2 message boards where the topics were the history of the term dreadlock and can anyone wear dreadlocks (and lemme tell you, there were a lot of people who strongly believed that you shouldn't even lock your hair up unless you are a rasta or on a spiritual journey-regardless of what you call them). Also, I've been on the message boards where people talk about how they do not like the term dreadlocks.

At the end of the day, I refer to them as locks (in order to be politically correct and not offend) but around friends and family I might just call them "dreads" "locks," whatever it doesn't matter to me. A lot of people might say it does matter.

What do you think? Are you offended when people refer to locks as "dreadlocks"? Do only rastafareans wear "dreadlocks"?