Re: Eddie Dean’s article “Seoul Brother #1” (12/18/98).
I have written this letter to correct a mistaken statement. Dean’s mistake was to call what is part of someone’s heritage and a part of nature “his scraggly, stunted dreads.” These are adjectives that Webster’s defines as “sparse, scrubby, uneven, ragged.” In everyday use, “scraggly” is definitely a negative word.
For ages, people of color have been consciously trying to defend themselves and their culture. The gentleman’s dreads differ none from any other person’s; only his clothes may be a little dirtier and his employment situation different. When I read the article, it made me feel dirty, unclean, and unkempt. (I too am dreading.)
Dreading is a natural growing process, and dreads result from nature without all the man-made chemicals and interference. Dean may not have intended any offense, but he did give offense to an entire race! Black people especially can’t help it: When we allow nature to take its course, the process results in dreads because of our textured hair.
I hope this letter will give Dean a better understanding of people with dreadlocks so he selects a better choice of words in the future.
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