Why is it that when two male friends are on the train or subway, they
sit apart and talk to each other across the train even when there are available
seats that would allow them to sit together?
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 65200263523
Do most black people find the idea of white people wearing dreadlocks offensive?
I'm white and love the look and feel of dreadlocks, but I don't want to offend
anybody by wearing them. I understand dreadlocks originated in a culture
that I will never fully understand or really be a part of (Rastafarianism),
but why couldn't I wear them if I like them? It's not a lifestyle, it's a
hairstyle to me.
Nez, Philadelphia, PA, United States, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 20,
Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, student, 2 Years of College,
Lower middle class, Mesg ID 424200191616
You can wear whatever hairstyle you want. I have never heard of a black person
or 'rasta' being offended over the way you wear your hair. I have worn cornrows
before, and I got tons of compliments from black and white people.
April, Kansas City, MO, United States, 24, Female, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 521200212622
Why would your choice of that type of hairstyle be offensive to blacks? Don't
most people who post in this category desire diversity? Are you offended
when black women weave tracks of European hair into their scalps, even though
they probably don't understand your culture any more than you understand
theirs? It's your hair, you grew it. It's no one's business to even have
an opinion on what you do with it.
William, Columbia, SC, United States, 39, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian,
Straight, sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 521200234836
I can't speak for all people who happen to be black, but I will give my views.
While there is nothing wrong for anybody to have any hairstyle they wish,
one thing deeply puzzles me: As a whole, we black people are hated. Deny
it if you will, but the sheer number and even existence of the types of unfunny
and usually viscious jokes told about us, hate-motivated attacks we receive,
hate radio stations dedicted to mindlessly hating us, etc. should be more
than enough proof for any intelligent and/or honest person. For this reason,
I have always wondered why many whites who like to imitate certain facets
of our culture have absolutely no problem attaching negative stereotypes
to us, telling those mean 'jokes' at our expense, and segregating us. I merely
wish for the day that people become consistent with their attitudes and actions.
Blackwoman, n/a, NA, n/a, 25, Female, Black/African American, Mesg ID 521200243803
My husband has dreadlocks, and I don't find it offensive to see people of
different nationalities wearing them. I do, however, think it should be given
a different name. The white people I have seen with dreadlocks have really
nasty hair, and it seems (and smells) like they never wash it. That is not
what it is about. Most black people have the type of hair that is very curly
(nappy) by nature. That is why they call it 'locking up,' because if you
stop combing your hair and twist it, eventually it will get so nappy that
it 'locks' together. Most white people's hair will not do that. If you can
take them out later, they are not real dreadlocks, because the hair was not
locked in the first place. If my husband wants his hair in a different style,
he will have to cut all of it off and start again. Perhaps that is why some
people are offended by the idea. P.S.: As far as the whole Rasta thing, I
have no idea about that.
Christine, Houston, TX, United States, 19, Female, Baptist, Black/African
American, Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5272002125714
I have never run across this problem. My son, who is white, has dreads and
has never had a problem with anyone except middle class, white, middle-aged
G.A. Cisneros, Spokane, WA, United States, Mesg ID 529200220916
I don't get why some plack people get so offended by white people doing their
hair in dread, braids, etc. A friend of mine who is half white, half Puerto
Rican put those tiny corkscrew braids in her hair and it looked good! I too,
being about as white as they come, put these ramen noodle-looking extentions
in my hair because I wanted a platinum blonde look with colorful highlights,
and the beauty store was out of the blonde braids. All you need to do is
imagine a big pot of ramen noodles being plopped on someone's head, and that's
what I looked like. So I took them out. If they had had the little braids,
I'd probably still have them in. But anyway, my friend got mixed responses:
many people complimented her on her hair, but she also got lots of sneers
from black girls. I can just imagine the reaction I would have gotten. With
black people always complaining about being hated, why aren't they happy
that people of other races are embracing their looks and culture?
Stephanie, Phoenix, AZ, United States, 21, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight,
Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 523200213416
I'm a black woman and have had locks for about a year. I did it because I
like my hair natural and think locks are beautiful. I realize the look originated
with the Rastafaris, but I think it's become more of a fashion statement
and less a political or spiritual one. I say go for it, and if folks are
offended, they need to get over it.
Victoria, San Francisco, CA, United States, 45, Female, Christian, Black/African
American, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 5302002101214
Many, but not all black people, find the idea of white people wearing locks
offensive. Although times are changing, it is still considered unprofessional
or militant in certain circles (both black and nonblack) for a person with
nappy hair to let it do what it does naturally. No other ethnic group is
viewed as militant when they choose to not alter the texture of their hair.
Dreadlocks on white people are another example of white privilege: You can
cut them off if you choose to one day and join corporate America, but my
hair in its natural state may hinder me in a job search. For black people,
hairstyles cannot be completely separate from lifestyle. Even if a black
person tries to separate the two, others will continue to judge the person
based on their hairstyle.
I., Los Angeles, CA, United States, Black/African American, Mesg ID 62200271528
I haven't heard of anyone being offended by a white person having dreads,
but I have heard people laughing at whites, or anybody with straight hair
who tries it. The previous descriptions of why and how people get dreads
are correct. But if you have hair that doesn't naturally tend to 'lock up,'
forcing your hair to tangle up into 'white people dreads' makes you seem
like you're trying a little too hard. But to each his own.
Ed, New York, NY, United States, 29, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight,
Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 65200284724
Why do some people object to there being no main black characters in
Friends or Seinfeld? I watch Martin, Living Single, etc. and don't care that
there are no white people.
Jay, New York, NY, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 65200263118
Should I tell my friends I'm a bisexual?
Ashleigh, Lincoln, NA, United Kingdom, 15, Female, no religion, White/Caucasian,
Bisexual, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 518200261844
If you are comfortable with your orientation, tell them. But be prepared
to lose some friends. You may think they are liberal and open-minded, but
sexual orientation can make people really uncomfortable. I see you are only
15; are you sure you are really bisexual? If so, the choice depends on how
you feel about yourself.
Deb, Chicago, IL, United States, 48, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian,
High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 5212002110220
At 15, it might be a little early to label yourself. I'd keep it to myself
for now. Not because it's anything bad, but because others in your peer group
might not have formed an opinion on the issue. You might risk losing friends
or causing yourself problems - and you might not consider yourself bi in
a few years.
Mark, Mt. Clemens, MI, United States, <email@example.com>, 34,
Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Paramedic, Technical School, Middle
class, Mesg ID 530200284603
If you're sure you are bisexual (i.e. experiencing physical and emotional
attraction to males and females), and your friends ask you if you are bisexual,
why lie to them? Suppose you start dating another young woman, and the two
of you are frequently seen together at dances or other social events, and
you are obviously a couple. What would there be for anyone to ask? I don't
mean to sound facetious about this: 'Coming Out' is not meant to be taken
lightly. But generally women are perceived to have a much more fluid sexuality
than men, so bisexuality in women is really not that big of a deal anymore.
If anything, your friends might find it rather hip.
Chuck A., Spring Hill, WV, United States, <PolishBear@aol.com>, 42,
Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Gay, AIDS educator/radio announcer, Mesg
Why does it seem that black people, particularly women, are afraid of dogs - even friendly ones?
Kit, Dongola, IL, United States, Mesg ID 5202002120043
I don't think one can generalize about black people and dogs. In Africa there
are many communities where dogs are a close part of their families. When
you speak of fear, I have noticed that it does happen in places where a history
of oppression has been part of the life of a black person. It is common to
see in South Africa, where black people having an aversion to dogs because
dogs were trained to attack blacks, especially the men. So it is possible
that they see the dog as a 'tool of torture.' I hope this begins to clarify
this for you.
June, KAren, NA, Kenya, 32, Female, Evangelical, Black/African American,
Straight, Pastor, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 527200213836
I know from living where I live that you are right: many black people are
afraid of dogs. The reason is that most of the dogs they keep are often Rottweilers,
Pitt Bulls or stray dogs. They have been taught from day one that dogs can
be dangerous, because the ones they are around often are. In black neighborhoods,
there are more stray dogs walking around, and most of the time they are mean
because they are strays. It is something taught.
April, Kansas City, MO, United States, 24, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 520200223000
My grandma alway kept all the pets outside. We had dogs, but they were for
guarding the house, not to be play with. I know a lot of people have them
as pets, but I still think of dogs as wild things that will tear your face
Sallie, New York, NY, United States, 31, Female, Southern Baptist, Black/African
American, Straight, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 520200240219
I am terrified of dogs, no matter how friendly or small. Every time I see
one my heart seizes up and I try to resist the urge to run. My fear stems
from being chased by a dog when I was younger. To escape that dog, I had
to jump a six-foot fence. Since then I have stayed awy from dogs all together.
Jas, Long Island, NY, United States, 24, Female, Baptist, Black/African American,
Straight, Reseach, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 521200250140
Some black people are afraid of dogs and some are not. Just like any other
group, we are diverse and represent different tastes and viewpoints. There
are affluent African-American dog owners who own huskies, labs, weims, etc.,
and lower-income brothers and sisters with pit-bulls and rottwheillers. My
sister bought a beagle recently that had been abused, and she loves her dearly.
That being said, there may be some older black people who associate German
shepherds with police and the abuse we suffered during the civil rights movement.
Overall, though, I haven't noticed any disproportionate fear of dogs among
Tubbs, Silver Sring, MD, United States, 28, Male, Agnostic, Black/African
American, Straight, policy analyst, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle
class, Mesg ID 523200274136
I am a black woman who grew up with dogs and currently own two dogs (Huskie/Shepherd
mix and terrier mix). Being afraid of dogs is not a fear that I have, but
it is a very common phobia. I don't speak for all blacks or women, but if
you have ever examined footage from the Civil Rights Movement, you will see
how dogs were used against black people, which justifies fears many may have
concerning dogs. Although the Civil Rights Movement was 40 years ago, many
people who experienced being savagely attacked and malled by dogs may have
passed those fears on to their offspring. As I stated previously, I am not
afraid of dogs. I believe they add to the human experience and can teach
humans a thing or two.
Elle, Chicago, IL, United States, 30, Female, Christian, Black/African American,
Straight, Stay-at-home mom/student, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle
class, Mesg ID 642002110257