I have a question for my fellow dreadlocked folk: do you consider it being racist when someone calls dreads smelly? A flist member of mine posted a mini-rant
about a TV show character with dreads (Ronon of Stargate Atlantis) that said the character probably had smelly hair, and equated this comment to racism. (ETA: the flister was not the one who made the "smelly" comment but the one who made the racism comparison) I naively piped in that dreads often get stereotyped as such, listed my pet peeves about people assuming things based on hair, and mentioned that I was a redhead with dreadlocks. People then piped up that I didn't really understand then: "They are, however, a hairstyle that is most commonly associated with people of African descent--so yes, I'd say that the "dreds are dirty" assumption is very much tied to racism."(one commenter) "Racism produces collateral damage. In this case, it's hitting you. In a very small way." (another)
What do you all think? Most famous dreaded people are black (Bob Marley always springs to mind first for me) and I know culturally it's seen as an Afro-centric hairstyle (twice in the past year, people have insinuated that I'm wearing a "black" hairstyle), but to me saying that "dreads are smelly" smacks of misinformation/ignorance, not racism.
I dunno, that discussion may have just hit me on a bad day, but I was curious how you guys dealt with things like this.