The Zendaya Comments Weren’t Racist

Today’s meme is that the comments by (the heretofore unknown to me) Giuliana Rancic about (the heretofore unknown to me) Zendaya’s dreadlocks were racist (see here and here, for example. I call bullshit.

Rancic apparently said ““I feel like she smells like pachouli oil. Or weed.” Having spent close to a decade of my life in San Francisco, California, and Eugene, Oregon, I can say truthfully that if someone says the words “dreadlocks, patchouli, and weed,” my mental image is of a white hippie-wannabe adolescent or young adult unable to leave adolescence behind mooching off passersby.

Rancic’s comments may have been dumb–Zendaya looked anything but dirty-hippyish, but then again isn’t the point of Kelly Osbourne’s show to talk snarky about how people look?–but they weren’t racist.

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About James Hanley

James Hanley is Associate Professor of Political Science at Adrian College and a Fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of either organization.
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One Response to The Zendaya Comments Weren’t Racist

  1. Lancifer says:

    Kidist frequently expresses an interest in getting “dreads”. I think dreadlocks are gross. Her hair is typical of Ethiopian woman, extremely curly but not excessively coarse. Dreads would be a waste of her very nice hair texture.

    And I have to say that the vast majority of Caucasoids I have seen wearing dreads are either self-important, counter-culture wannabes or mentally ill, or both. And yes there is a high probability that they smell like incense, weed or both.

    Oh, and who the hell is Zendaya?

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