Mar 21, 2012

Discussion: A Curl by Any Other Name...


-Your dreads are cute.
-Are they? Then why are you calling them dreadlocks? Dreadful locks? You mean... they are so dreadful that you like them?

- Ooh. You know you have some naps in your head.
- [silent pause].....



I generally refer to locs as locks or locs. Long ago I referred to them as dreads. But since I don't have locks, here is Ashiya's take on how people name her hair:
After wearing my hair loc'd for so long, I've gone back and forth on how I refer to my locs. While considering a response to this discussion, I realized more recently I call my hair what it is: hair.  Personally, I prefer the term "locs" for descriptive reasons. I have grown locks of hair.  For some time, I did not refer to them as dreads and was annoyed with anyone who did. My Beloved's decision to loc his hair changed my view.  While traveling in the Caribbean, he was called "dread" as a greeting.  Listening to more roots, rock, reggae, we realized that "dread" was a term of endearment used to refer to a kindred spirit.  While "dread" may carry malicious intent in some circles, it symbolizes the peaceful warrior in others.  Ultimately, I believe intent is far more important than word choice.  Someone that is speaking with appreciation can always make their point with respect.

As for my kinky coily curls... There's just something about people calling my hair nappy that kinda grinds my gears. Why, you ask? Well, my hair is curly. In some places it's tightly curled. Sometimes my tight curls get kinks. And knots. And snags. And other things. But that's not a bad thing. It just comes with the territory of having tightly curled hair. But that's no reason to say that it's better or worse. Tight curls aren't better than loose curls. Loose curls aren't better than tight curls. Don't 'Don Imus' me and my hair. I don't care to know what the line is between curly, kinky, and nappy. I have 4b hair and 3b-ish hair all on the same head. It's completely okay to refer to African American naturally textured hair as curly hair. Completely. Okay.
In conclusion, if you want to be politically correct when speaking about natural hair,

This is acceptable:
Kinky
Curly
Coily
Wavy
Textured
Afro
Hair

This may get you a side-eye:
Nappy
Dreads

Do you still get offended when people call your hair nappy or refer to your curls as naps, or have you learned to accept it? 
Did we miss any names that cause you to give a side eye?


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