Dreadlocks are not devoid of meaning. By a white person wearing them they are taking on or displaying a symbol that is expressive of a racial pride or a stand against oppression or other meaning that does not pertain to white people. It doesn’t matter what meaning a white person gives their own dreadlocks, dreadlocks already come with meanings that do not pertain to, nor belong on, a white person’s head.
The bottom line is that white people can cut off their dreads and recover all the privileges that might have been deferred because of their hairstyle. It doesn’t work like that for anyone else. I feel like dreadlocks to a degree is just a way of flaunting white privilege - you might as well walk around with a sign saying, “Look what I can do! I can adopt your culture and still have white privilege! I can cut them off and get even more white privilege!” While certainly it’s not intended that maliciously, I imagine for many people of color that’s the message that comes across.” —