first off, note-a-bear has a great post on how those dreadlocks that the Celts were supposedly wearing actually weren’t dreadlocks as we define them today. that’s when shit like historical context and knowing of what the fuck you speak come into play.
but here’s the thing. the Celts were a really long fucking time ago. and it was one ethnic group amongst MANY of ancient Europe. now, i don’t do Ancient European Shit so i’ll leave it to someone who does to be a bit more detailed but at the end of the day, if you as a descendent of Europeans (i.e. if you as a WHITE PERSON) can only name ONE. ethnic group. that you are more than likely not directly descended from? that invalidates your argument that dreads/tats/body mod was a European “thing.” Just because ONE group of Europeans at one point did it, *does not make it a part of the culture*.
conversely, how many ethnic groups in Africa practice scarring, or piercing, or tattooing, or wear dreadlocks? How many indigenous groups in the Americas? In the Pacific Islands? hint: WAY more than just ONE. a SHIT ton. *more than* europeans ever did.
thusly, dreads/tats/mods is NOT a european cultural tradition. it’s just not. repeatedly referencing the exception to the rule does not make the exception the rule. it just makes you an supremacist, appropriating jackass. who’s also a piss poor historian.
like, if dreads/tats/body mods really was a European thing, wouldn’t we have seen MORE of that shit? like, wouldn’t maybe early modern Europeans *at the least* still be into it? but no. you don’t see dreads/tats in Renaissance artwork, you don’t see it being worn by King Henry or some shit, you don’t see any baroque-era symphonies with “tattoo” in the title or some shit………like, throughout the cultural products that modern europe has put forth since rome fell, dreads/tats/mods are nowhere to be found, and that would be the place that they would be found.
but you know when europeans did start writing about tats? when they starting going to places where brown and black people lived. and there’s a long history behind tattoos and colonization specifically that i’m not going to rehash here, but what do you think made tattoos taboo in western society to *begin* with? it was the fact that the only people who got tattoos were those savage, bestial, filthy natives and the heathen sailors who steered the ships to and fro. racism + classism. plus empire, because colonization was the reason why there were white folks in them brown folks house to begin with!
i mean, what cultural European tradition has been taboo in the west? the ballet? the english language? straight hair? like, think about it. if this really was a european heritage, do you really think it would have been as marginalized in western society as it has been?
i always think about Woodstock. like, if white folks were ever going to support dreadlocks en masse, *that* would be the time you’d see it. but you don’t. at. all.
you know when you do see white ppl starting to rock dreads, tho? after Bob Marley became an international mega superstar. but it’s not appropriation. right.
seriously, if you can find me a picture of a group of white people (from either the U.S. or Europe) wearing dreadlocks *before 1965ish*, and they *weren’t* consciously setting themselves off from the mainstream in some way (i.e. a religious cult or something) but wearing them as a cultural expression of their own culture, you win. you win everything, actually. because i’m pretty sure you’re not going to find it.
but don’t worry. i’ll wait.
ETA: i guess maybe the vikings had “dreads” too? even still, two(ish) ethnic groups a continental/racial tradition do not make. see: the rest of my post.
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