Emma (burningemma) wrote in get_up_dread_up,
Emma
burningemma
get_up_dread_up

Are you Kosher?

So the other day I had one of maybe two instances in my three plus years of dread-dom of being very offended by someone as a result of my dreads. I am still trying to figure out if I should have been offended, or if maybe I'm being a little bit defensive. Hmm. I'll let you guys sort it out.

I know I've seen the "black people not liking white people to have dreads because they're stealing some kind of cultural archetype" sentiment discussed on Gudu before. This is similar but different. My friend Lele and I were in a store shopping, keeping to ourselves. As a background, I'm white, she's black, and we both have dreads.

I had seen a guy who worked there kind of looking at us, but I thought he was trying to see if we needed help or just being creepy or something. After a while he asks "Can I ask you ladies a question?" ((I hate that question anyway. What, am I going to say No, get the fuck away from me?!)) He then asks if we're kosher. I kind of stared at him for a second and then went "Well, I'm not Jewish, if that's what you mean."

"You don't have to be Jewish to be kosher. Do you eat scavengers; shrimp, pigs?"
"I eat pretty much anything."

He then proceeded to interrogate me about whether or not I knew the roots (pun intended) of dreads.

"Do you know where they came from?"
"I know they're traditionally Rastafarian."
"Do you know what part of the world?"
"If I had to guess, Africa."
"Ethiopia, actually."
"Do you know who brought them over?"
"No."

I'm looking kind of irritated at this point.  And he gives me a look as if to say "I was totally right about these ignorant people"

He proceeds to show me his driver's license from when he had dreads and his Rastafarian tattoo, as if to show me that he is some kind of authority on this subject. Somewhere in there he also made a point to stress that they are not DREADS, they are LOCKS.

I tell him that, though I don't share his religious sentiment, dreads have been a kind of spiritual process for me. Kind of trying to politely excuse myself with a middle ground.


"There's no kind of about it. They are ALL spiritual. Blahblahblah."

It just really offended me that he felt that, just because I don't know the encyclopedia definition of dreads, he gets to lecture me. I don't share his spirituality and I certainly don't share his religion. I hate having it shoved down my throat, especially when the guy was supposed to be working there. It just seemed very presumptuous. I am always glad to learn something new. I would have been totally okay with a little history lesson, if he felt that it was important enough to him to share it with me. Instead he just interrogated me and didn't tell me ANYTHING new...except the Ethiopia bit, I guess. He was very condescending about it, not informative. If he thinks that it is so important for me to know the history behind what I wear, why doesn't he do his part and teach me instead of  making me feel stupid?

Like I said though, I am trying to be objective here, and I am willing to entertain the idea that maybe I'm just a bit defensive BECAUSE he made me feel stupid.

I'm just wondering if there are people here who have been in similar situations? I kind of want to go canvassing the Rastafarian community to see if this is a typical sentiment; and if so how they feel about preaching to unassuming dreadlocked girls in costume shops.
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