Saturday, April 2, 2016

Blonde Dreads and Roller-Coaster Screams

Willie One Blood from "Leon: The Professional"

Is it OK for white people to have dreadlocks?

A viral video has started a debate about "cultural appropriation" and the racial politics of hair.

The footage picks up in the middle of a confrontation between two young people - one a white man, the other a black woman. The argument centres around the man's hairstyle. Specifically, his dreadlocks.

"You're saying I can't have a hairstyle because of your culture - why?" the man says.

"Because it's my culture," the woman answers back. At one point she pushes him and tries to stop him from walking away.

The video, which has been watched more than three million times on YouTube, kicked off a debate online. 

The man was later identified as Cory Goldstein, a student at San Francisco State University, where the video was apparently filmed. During the argument, Goldstein at one point declares: "You have no right to tell me what I can wear." Most of those commenting seemed to agree - many were critical of the woman.

"Props to the white dude for keeping it civil," read one typical comment.

But beyond the specific incident in the video, what of the charge of "cultural appropriation" - the use of another ethnic group's fashion, art, or in this case, hairstyle? In a later video response, Goldstein made a distinction between "appreciation" and "appropriation".

"When people wear Native American headdresses, that's cultural appropriation," he said, because only people with "high standing" in the Native American community have traditionally been given the right to wear them. (It's this thinking which led the Glastonbury Festival to ban the sale of headdresses, which were once somewhat fashionable).

"The fact I have dreadlocks doesn't mean I'm trying to appropriate culture, it means I love and respect their culture and it's something I hold true to myself," Goldstein said. "These things should bring us closer together."

The woman in the video has apparently shut down her social media accounts and did not respond to requests for comments. Her personal details were quickly circulated on message boards and social networks.

Alongside the discussion about this particular incident there was also a lot of chatter online about the politics of hair.

Yesha Callahan, an editor at The Root, a website aimed at African-American readers, told BBC Trending radio that she didn't agree with the woman's actions, but can understand why some people are uncomfortable with white people with dreadlocks.

"People may be showing appreciation, but they should be careful of sidestepping into appropriation,"
she says. "I understand where [the woman in the video] is coming from. She sees someone with a hairstyle who's wearing it freely, who probably doesn't get as much push back as she would, if she had the same hairstyle. Sometimes people call dreadlocks 'dirty' or 'ghetto' if they see them on a black person."

Callahan, who blogged about the video, said hairstyles are an occasionally popular and sometimes thorny topic of conversation amongst The Root's readers.

"Hair is a huge part of black culture. People choose braids, dreadlocks, choose to straighten or weave - and a lot of people bring up these choices. Are black people appropriating white culture by straightening their hair? Well, there's a difference between assimilation and appropriation."

Callahan says she once dated a white man who had dreadlocks. She had no problem with the hairstyle, but rather the slapdash way he pulled it off.

"He had nicely maintained dreads… but he didn't have those until I took him to a salon," she joked. "I wasn't going to walk around with someone with raggedy hair."

Reporting by Emma Wilson   Blog by Mike WendlingWendling

I dunno.  This one, for me, is fairly simple.  It's a hairstyle.  One that does not connote status, either social or religious within the group/tribe/race of origin.  In the case of the young man involved, it does not indicate an attempt to claim "African American-ness" for himself.  In my experience, it often suggests an affinity with Reggae music. (Read more about this HERE )
No screaming on rollercoaster says Devon park Big Sheep

BBC  30 March 2016 

A theme park has asked people not to scream on a new rollercoaster ride because it's too noisy.
The owners of Big Sheep in north Devon said they erected a warning sign after people living nearby raised concerns over the new ride.

The 400m-long attraction, the Big One, opened at the park this Easter.

Owner Rick Turner said the message to customers was "unless they're absolutely petrified, please please don't scream too much".

The planning process for the ride in the village of Abbotsham had taken four years, and a group of local people had got "very very animated" over the prospect of loud noise coming from the attraction, he told the BBC.

Over £200,000 has been spent building a large noise reduction bank in the middle of the ride, and legal expertise was sought about the noise levels.

Hugh Bone, chair of Abbotsham parish council said he was "pleased" the sign was there, after villagers asked the council to control "the amount of sound" coming from the theme park.

Local people "do worry" about the noise, he said, particularly on weekends "when there may be funerals or weddings taking place" in the nearby church.

Mr Turner said Big Sheep had been in the village for 30 years and it was "somewhat galling" when new residents decided to complain after they had moved to the village.

However, he said the park tried its best to reduce noise for neighbours, and he hoped the sign would discourage riders from "shouting excessively", even if some would inevitably "squark".

This is the second placard to go up at the park - one next to a flying chair ride reads: "We love our neighbours, no screaming please".
Oh, doG!  Don't get me started on this one...  I live in a neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area called Pt. Richmond.  For many blessed years it was virtually unknown to the public at large.  To some extent, it still is.  But about 10 or so years ago the TV show "Bay Area Backroads" discovered us, filmed a segment and ran it 3 times in the course of a year.  

We had been "discovered" 

Ever since then there has been a steady stream of yuppies and Marin-ites (People from Marin Country - on the other end of the San Rafael Bridge) coming in, being charmed by the quaintness and small-town charm of our neighborhood, and buying homes up in the hills above downtown Pt. Richmond.  

They no sooner move in than they begin to propose legislation to "improve" our town.  First they chased out most of the resident winos.  Then they began to make noise about things that offended their delicate, entitled, upper-middle-class sensibilities.  They whine about signs, recycling poachers, the homeless and lots of other stuff.  They want security cameras at every intersection.  It has evidently dawned on them that they have move to a place that is a stone's throw from a downtown-cum-industrial area that is one of the most violent and toxic in the state.   

You think they might have check out some of this stuff before moving here.  But no.  They moved here from snotty neighborhoods and are doing their level-best to create another snotty neighborhood right here.  Faugh! 

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