Hmm I just read through your post. I usually lurk through the tags, but I don’t even update my own Tumblr. However, I felt the need to reblog/respond. First, the very example you gave of “queer” being appropriated is not really pertinent to this discussion because the word was reclaimed and reappropriated by the LGBTQ community. That is different from simple appropriation, which is usually when the dominant group of oppressors take possession over the subjugated group. The word used to mean “strange” and oppressors used it to refer to homosexuals.
You have to understand that for marginalized communities, especially black people around the world who have experienced and continue to experience systemic oppression, things that may seem superficial to you like hair are not. Hair has never been some superficial subject within the black community. That’s why people take things seriously and personally. Heck, there are even films and books devoted to the discussion of black people’s hair. So the anon’s comment wasn’t about being “protective,” it was about venting a frustration (if I may put words into your mouth, dear Anon).
Black people’s bodies, including their hair, have been regulated for centuries by white oppressors. A good example of this is Sarah Baartman, or colonial cartoons. Black people have been told that something is wrong with their hair as it grows naturally, and they have internalized this over the years. So for many people, locs are a personal journey to self-love and acceptance in a world that says everything about you, including your natural hair, is ugly or undesirable.
Of course YOU can call your hair whatever you want. The question is should you just because it’s your privilege? I can’t answer that one. However, I encourage you to listen to marginalized voices, even the “angry” ones. When someone says they feel that you are appropriating something and this makes them uncomfortable, instead of getting defensive, employ empathy and aim to understand that person’s perspective. THAT is how you can do your part to stop perpetuating racism and racial stereotypes.
I remain perplexed and disturbed by the onslaught of Anons asking me to stop “appropriating” the “black term” of Locs. As a white person, I have never looked down on ANYONE because of the way they choose to wear their hair, and I find it shocking that other communities are so protective over…