IN HIS LATEST Instagram post, High School Musical star (yes, that is what he will forever be remembered for) Zac Efron revealed that he has gotten some dreadlocks “just for fun”.
Many of Zac’s 35.9 million Instagram followers were unimpressed with the new haircut, with one woman writing:
No dude. Don’t do this. I say this as a white woman who grew up incredibly ignorant in North Dakota and had dreads when I was 19. Don’t. Do. This.
The debate about whether it’s okay for white people to sport dreads has been going on for years now. As W Magazine point out, there’s a real double standard.
While Zac is having “fun” with his dreadlocks, Zendaya was picked apart by television host Giuliana Rancic back in 2015 when the actress wore them to the Oscars. Rancic speculated that Zendaya “smells like pathouli oil”.
Zendaya responded with an open letter, calling Rancic’s comments disrespectful and pointing out that there has long been “harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair.”
Twitter users have also had their say on Zac Efron’s new hairstyle.
Every time this debate comes up, people ask “Well then, isn’t it racist for African Americans to straighten their hair?”
The answer is very simply: no. For centuries, black people have been made to feel ashamed of their hair and have had western beauty standards forced upon them. That’s the big difference. As Amandla Stenberg explained back in 2015:
Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalisations or stereotypes where it originated but is deemed as high-fashion, cool or funny when the privileged take it for themselves.
White people were never taught to hate themselves for having straight hair. It’s that simple.
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