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Teacher Sparks Debate After Telling Students The Term ‘Dreadlocks’ Is ‘Racist’ In Viral Clip

Teacher 'Dreadlocks' racist
Credit: @ladiimomochanplays/TikTok

A video of a teacher telling students that the term ‘dreadlocks’ is ‘racist’ has gone viral and sparked a debate on TikTok. 

The clip was posted by @ladiimomochanplays with the caption ‘hair history’ and is a repost of a video from 2018 on Valenciá De’La Clay-Bell’s Instagram

In the video, Clay-bell tells her students: “Please stop calling Josh’s hair dreads. They are locs.

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The clip was originally posted by Valenciá De’La Clay-Bell. Credit: valencia_valencia/Instagram

“The history of why people of African decent, like our ancestors, wore their hair in locs, is very very spiritual. 

“But when they came over here to this country, and other countries in which European standards of beauty were basically stamped on us and engraved in us, they began to call our locs ‘dreads’ meaning dreadful. 

“So when you call them dreads and don’t even know why you’re using that word, you’re perpetuating an idea that our beauty is in fact not beauty at all.” 

Some users took to the platform to praise the teacher for educating the students.

One wrote: “I wish I had a teacher so educated like this in high school. So eloquent and well communicated.”

@ladiimomochanplaysHair history##blkhair ##blkhairstyles ##fypage♬ original sound – LaDiiMomoChanPlays

“This is so necessary educating our young children about our ethnic cultural heritage and how they want to erase what’s meaningful and what’s tradition,” added another.

A third said: “Facts, dreadful. please don’t call my locs dreads. Well spoken!”

Hair historian, Lori L. Tharps, previously told Vogue: “The modern understanding of dreadlocks is that the British, who were fighting Kenyan warriors [during colonialism in the late 19th century], came across the warriors’ locs and found them ‘dreadful,’ thus coining the term ‘dreadlocks.’”

Other followers commented on the post saying some black people love calling their hair ‘dreads’.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Bob the Drag Queen weighed in, writing: “There are lots of black people who have dreadlocks who love calling them dreads.”

Another person added: “As a black woman with locs, I really don’t care what people call them. It’s just a word and it only means something when we give it power.”

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