SAN FRANCISCO — A video surfaced on March 28 showing San Francisco State University students Cory Goldstein and Bonita Tindle having an argument over Goldstein’s dreadlocks.

The video has since gone viral and sparked debate over cultural appropriation.

It begins with Goldstein, a white male, asking Tindle, a black female, “You’re saying that I can’t have a hairstyle because of your culture? Why?”
Tindle responds, “Because it’s my culture. Do you know what dreadlocks mean?”

Goldstein defends himself saying that the hairstyle has roots in Egyptian culture. A third individual, a black male presumed to be Tindle’s friend asks Goldstein if he is Egyptian. Frustrated the 22-year-old answers, “no,” and tries to leave the stairwell area of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, where the confrontation occurred.

And he isn’t exactly wrong.

The exact history of the hairstyle is a bit hazy but there have been evidence of dreadlocks dating as far back as 2,500 BCE.

Dr. Bert Ashe, professor of English and American studies at the University of Richmond, wrote in his book “Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles,” that the first written evidence is in what is now India’s Vedic scriptures. In them, the Shiva is shown wearing the style.

“The word used in the Vedic scriptures is ‘jaTaa,’ which means ‘twisted lock of hair,'” he wrote.

And to Goldstein’s reference, anthropologists have discovered mummies with their hair still intact with dreads. Others have pointed out that in the Old Testament, Samson is mentioned as having dreadlocks and, when Delilah cuts them, loses his unsurpassed strength.

The video was posted on YouTube by user Nicholas Silvera and has been watched over 1.5 million times. When asked by Tindle why he was filming, the cameraman simply states, “For everyone’s safety.”

Goldstein, also known as DJ Soulr, has been vocal about the incident, posting on his since-deleted Facebook page that he has reported the incident but will not be filing charges. He also has done interviews, one of which was filmed. In it he states, “The fact that I have locks doesn’t mean that I am trying to appropriate anyone’s culture. It means that I love and respect their culture … I feel that these differences are not something that should separate us, but something that should bring us closer together.”

Two community Facebook pages, FIRE Bonita Tindle and Expel Bonita Tindle, have been created. Tindle has set her page to private and has deleted her LinkedIn profile.

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