Recently, actor and former crush Anthony Mackie sat down with The Grio to talk race issues in America. I was right there with him when he talked about how hard it was for Black actors to break into Hollywood. I was sympathetic. Then suddenly, things went real wrong, real fast when the Captain America star started talking about dreadlocks. He went from “Bae” to “Un-bae” in a matter of 3 seconds. Mackie had this to say about the hairstyle:
“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch ‘The First 48′ with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual? “Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street. The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself.”
…now…now, say what now?
Another Black man telling us to employ respectability politics so we won’t be harassed on the streets or even worse…murdered? Nah. I can do without that, this afternoon. Here are the 5 reasons why this statement is…stupid.
1. It encourages racial profiling. It even reinforces the idea that Black men with dreadlocks SHOULD be stopped by the police.
2. When I Google images of dreadlocks, just as many white people come up as Black people. Do they TOO “fit the description?”
3. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Eirc Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, Sean Bell, Victor White, Akai Gurley, McKenzie Cochran, Kimani Gray…etc etc etc…DIDN’T HAVE DREADLOCKS.
4. Dreadlocks are not a part of the problem. People who believe wearing dreadlocks are a part of the problem are a part of the problem. Oh, and racism.
5. THIS IS AMUUURICA! People can wear their hair how they damn well please.
So Anthony Mackie, thanks but no thanks. You’re taking your Captain America role a little too seriously.