Because of all the clichés it carries around, durag clearly doesn't have a good reputation...
But there's nothing wrong with the term durag: it literally means a hairdressing rag, which is not offensive at all. If this piece of cloth is so divisive and attracts criticism, it is because of the symbol it represents. It is primarily a form of black cultural expression that society has sought to demonize... 😠
Want to know more about it? We'll give you some more explanations here to fully understand why durag is so misperceived.
What is the meaning of the word durag?
It has so many different spellings that we can't be 100% sure of its meaning! 😕
If today, the word "durag" seems to have imposed itself, this piece of cloth to be tied around the head was sometimes called do-rag, doo-rag or even du-rag. Originating in the United States and therefore named in a language that loves contractions, it is assumed that it is the combination of "do" (which is the diminutive of "hairdo", i.e. hairstyle) and "rag" (which is a rather familiar term for rag).
So durag would be a rag for hairdressing, which is actually pretty good for its original purpose!
👍🏾 So there's nothing wrong with the term itself. If this hair accessory has such a bad reputation, it's more because of the image associated with it.
When did the bad reputation of durag start?
Although it has only been around since the days of slavery in the United States, the history of the durag is very rich: it has sometimes been stigmatized and at the same time, it has often been acclaimed.
👉🏾 Although its origins are quite unclear, it started out as a requirement for slave women to conceal their hair and thus hide their natural beauty.
👉🏾 The black population then appropriated it and transformed it into a hair accessory to tame the hair more easily.
👉🏾 It started to appear in the Black Power Movement protests in the 60s/70s.
👉🏾 Its popularity exploded in the 90s with the rise of hip hop and streetwear.
👉🏾 Associated then with ghettos and thugs, it began to be seen as a sign of delinquency and was even banned from stadiums in the early 2000s.
So its bad reputation is not that old, and that's probably why it still persists today. Even if, let's be clear, it only comes from a latent racism of the society and absolutely not from any valid reason!
Beyond the term, the representation
If this piece of fabric still provokes debate today, it is because it is primarily a form of cultural expression and advocacy. ✊🏾
There is absolutely nothing wrong with durag: the term is not pejorative, it is not insulting, and even wearing it on your head is in no way scandalous. It's just a way to take care of your hair, to style your outfit... while proudly claiming to belong to a community.
And it is precisely this point that still poses a problem to a whole part of the population. But as long as racism and clichés about "black thugs" continue to exist, it probably won't get any better. 🤦🏾
So in the meantime, since durag has done nothing wrong, put it on, be proud to wear it, and it's also by appearing more often that it will lose this unfairly negative image it's been dragging around for too long! 🔥