What do you call them? Dreads, Dreadlocks or Locs?
After seeing this picture on Pinterest it posed the question, "Is the correct term DREADS or LOCS"? It took me back to my Sophmore second semester at LU and I had a professor who had long locs. The last time I seen long locs like that was on an episode of A Different World. I was mesmerized by them because they weren't as common as they are now in 2014. After class I went to ask a question but before walking away I said, "I like your dreadlocks". Real calm he replied, "You think my hair is dreadful?" I was like, "No, NO, no..I like them." I can't remember his exact words but since that day I think twice before saying Dreadlocks. On the other hand I see those with locs who refer to their hair as dreadlocks. I was confused so I did a little research.
“Dreads” is a shortened form of the word “dreadlocks.”
According to etymologists, “dreadlocks” is a word that was first used to describe the locked hair of Rastafari people. Though the etymology of the word is not debated in the academic community, it is debated in the black hair community due to a number of myths; however, two common stories are told.
One story claims that the word came from the Rastafari followers’ “dread” (“fear” as described Biblically in the books of Hebrews, Psalms, and Proverbs) of Jah, the God of Abraham. This theory most closely correlates to the academic explanation of the word.
Another common theory states that hair of African slaves shipped to the Caribbean matted up during the course of their transport, and therefore their hair became known as “dreadful.” It is important to note that Carribean slave trade predated the first documented use of the word “dreadlocks” by more than two centuries, and it is both uncertain and academically unproven that this connection is grounded in fact.
Because of the second story, many black people prefer not to call their locked hair “dreadlocks.”
Having “dreadful” hair is a racially-charged societal myth that particularly concerns black and African hair types. There is a pressure in the black community to have “good hair,” because Western beauty standards often label natural black/African hair as something negative that must be hidden (weaves), disguised (braided), or heavily-manipulated (relaxed).
Many black people assert there is nothing “dreadful” about their hair, knotted or not. For this reason, the word “locs” was invented to specifically describe knotted black and African hair.
Because “locs” is an invented word and was created to specificallydescribe black people and black people only (Africans included), it isgenerally inappropriate for people who are not of African descent to call their own hair “locs.”
What say YOU?