Saturday, May 17

About my dreads and Japan

I needed this, like 2 years ago, but I needed it in Japanese.

Just the other day at a bus stop outside my school and right by a hair dressers I was attacked by an excitable young hair dresser who thought that my leaning away from her and saying "No" was a playful game of 'tag' or 'piggy in the middle'. I actually shrunk away from her because I don't like strange people simply inviting themselves into my hair.

I don't know if this T-shirt is actually needed in English, I've never had an English speaking person just reach up and grab my locks without invitation, in fact most people don't even ask for it. However Japanese people will grab at it before even asking my name, sometimes they simply grab it and then don't even speak to me afterwards.

And that's not even starting on the stupid questions I get asked about them, most of which are plain offensive. Actually Japanese people aren't the only culprit here:

I feel like naming names, so I will; Shiv, a former JET and an otherwise OK guy, likes to make "it's because you're black..." jokes, and "is this a black thing..." jokes, in a very 'I can joke about it because I'm liberal and we're both of colour so we're brothers' sort of way. This is tolerable, it's not as amusing as Shiv thinks it is and betrays how very un-liberal he is more than anything. Well, the other day he casually joked about me not washing my hair for 3 years in front of Alex and Patrick, to which my response was "who wouldn't was their hair for three years? That would be gross"... the question was met with awkward, knowing silence and the subject was changed.

Now let me ask a question, it's a simple one and I think you may be able to answer it: When my hair gets dirty what else would I do but wash it?

I've told people that I wash my hair with sand before now and they've wholeheartedly believed me... honestly, how ignorant/stupid can you be to believe that hair can be washed with sand!? And where would one get sand in the Midlands, so named because it's no where near the coast.

People see dreadlocks and they lose their heads, Japanese people suddenly think it's OK to treat people without consideration and the rest of the world suddenly believe that sand is a solvent and a detergent.

If we're still not on the same page then let me break it down for you.

YES- I was my hair.
WITH water and shampoo.
NO- My dreads don't suddenly become an afro if I wash them
BECAUSE- They're not held together by dirt

I would like to give people the benefit of doubt, and think that they could come to these conclusions by themselves, it's not cool to just grab at strangers and the only way to keep something clean is to clean it, but apparently it's that much easier to look down your nose at someone, make assumptions (probably based upon prejudices from less enlightened times), snigger, laugh and mock.

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