Do-Rags and Bling

Sarah Lang slang at UCHICAGO.EDU
Thu May 17 17:14:00 UTC 2007

Just 3 things:

- This list has talked about his since at least 2002

- I have to say, as, well, probably the only person on this list who
actually lives in "the ghetto" (no, wait, I don't need to use quotes--
I think being next door to the projects and having hype neighbours
covers me) . . . "do-rag," outside of an "athletic" sense (I'll
excuse myself from jargon I'm not familiar with), is a very
particular item. The current use of nylon was simply the cheapest
solution to keeping hair and/or braids out of the way/tired back,

-As for nappy/nappy-headed, my (clearest) personal experience with
this is trying to buy fake hair (I make wigs: http:// at the store down the street.
After the glares and stunned silence, a few women came over to help
me. When helping me, they asked if I wanted something "nappy/nappy
headed [various uses through our conversations when describing
various types of hair "ie that is too nappy"]." This meant "do you
want curly/frizzy etc. or straight hair?" Quite remarkably (although
this was after it was clear I was not on some sort of social
anthropology project), this term was neutral in terms of tone.
Although the women themselves were clearly not fans of nappy hair.

-Bling is actually something I never hear, so I am curious if it is
no longer used in AAVE/BE; although I've been meaning to ask someone
about their rims (youtube Chris Rock rims ;) ).

PS "other species"!? Seriously, how did you think that would be taken?

On May 17, 2007, at 4:19 AM, Ron 'Hollywood' Parro wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ron 'Hollywood' Parro <ronparro at EARTHLINK.NET>
> Subject:      Do-Rags and Bling
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
>> I wear a 'do-rag' and I learned to love them during a trip to Sturgis
>> during bike week. The purpose of the do-rag' is the same as a the
>> common practice of wearing of baseball hats. When you are having a
>> bad
>> hair day you need to cover it up! It also makes a fashion statement
>> and might be ghetto related but I don't think that has anything to do
>> with why the bikers wear them.
>> I think you're too sensitive about that ghetto thing. Gold teeth
>> are a
>> part of the whole 'bling' culture that people who live in the ghetto
>> can't really participate in as much as they might want to so it
>> actually is symbol of getting out of the ghetto. The case could be
>> made that the ghetto use of bling comes from the hip-hop culture and
>> do-rags come from functionality and possibly the older habit of women
>> to wear a scarf to cover their hair.
>> On May 16, 2007, at 10:00 PM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
>>> From: Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
>>> Date: May 16, 2007 12:40:34 AM MDT
>>> Subject: Re: "Nappy-headed who'es" redux
>>> 'Sorry, Wilson. Didn't mean to over generalize. Or appear to.
>>> I'd say the meaning of 'male of the species' in this context is both
>>> specific (humans: as exemplified in the book of the same term by
>>> Alex
>>> Mindt,
>>> Delphinium Books, Apr. 2007, ISBN 9781883285289, and the 1969 TV
>>> movie,
>>> written by Alun Owen and directed by Charles Jarrott, using the
>>> phrase as
>>> its title) and unspecific. And unfortunately so: Though it's true
>>> that men
>>> of assorted racial and ethnic backgrounds wear do rags, I was
>>> referring more
>>> specifically to the African American, and most specifically to those
>>> whose
>>> do rags less often serve the original, intended (do-keeping) purpose
>>> than
>>> they serve as a fashion statement, of sorts.
>>> In that a fashion statement is 'something,' I was both inaccurate
>>> and
>>> unfair
>>> in stating the rags do 'nothing.'  (I wonder, though, is it most
>>> accurate to
>>> say the rag is making the fashion statement or that the wearer
>>> is, by
>>> donning the rag?)
>>> While you're absolutely right in suggesting it probably is of no
>>> importance,
>>> in the grand scheme of things, whether a hair cover does or does not
>>> perform
>>> a function, I respectfully suggest that it is in fact true that a
>>> hair cover
>>> always performs _some_ function, whether it's so simple a
>>> function as
>>> protecting the wearer from the affects of sun, rain or whatever,
>>> or a
>>> more
>>> complex function as participating in the making of a fashion
>>> statement, or
>>> the representation of the wearer as a member, follower or even a
>>> pretend-follower of a group, club or whatever.
>>> Oh, and for the record, I understand that women made famous the do
>>> rag look
>>> during World War II (Safire, 'The to-do over 'do' and the do-rag,'
>>> NYT,
>>> 3/7/05) and that both men and women wear them now. But my original
>>> comment
>>> reflected my perspective, as coincidentally expressed in a Columbia
>>> News
>>> Service Report on 5/23/03
>>> (
>>> that
>>> the do
>>> rag look is "in-your-face ghetto," and I happen to intensely dislike
>>> the
>>> practice of people of whatever race or whatever background making a
>>> point to
>>> look, in their perception, as if they came from or were of a like
>>> mind with
>>> people unfortunate enough to live in a true ghetto.
>>> That I am not alone in finding fault with the ghetto look was
>>> exemplified
>>> earlier this year in the reaction to some U. of Connecticut Law
>>> School
>>> (white) students' behavior at an off-campus party. According to The
>>> Smoking
>>> Gun
>>> (
>>> 2007/0125072uconn1.html),
>>> "do rags, gang signs and gold teeth" were both worn _and_ shown off
>>> to the
>>> world via postings on the web. Other UConn students and
>>> administrators at
>>> the law school criticized at the 'Bullets and Bubbly' party as
>>> "racially
>>> insensitive," according to that article.
>>> (the other) doug
>>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: "Nappy-headed who'es" redux
>>> Geez, the other doug, that's harsh! "The male of the species"? To
>>> what
>>> species do you refer? What is the source of your implied claim that
>>> the 'do rag' is peculiar to the male of the 'do rag-wearing species?
>>> What is the basis of your stated claim "the male of the [un-named]
>>> species is better known for the do-nothing 'do rag'' hair cover"?Why
>>> do you think that the 'do rag is a do-nothing hair cover? What
>>> does it
>>> matter whether a hair-cover perform a function?
>>> IAC, the purpose of a (hair-)do rag, whether worn by a man or by a
>>> woman, is to hold a hair-do in place until that hair-do has set.
>> Ron 'Hollywood' Parro ;>{)
>> "Footprints on the sand of time are not made by sitting down."
>>       Native American Proverb
> Ron 'Hollywood' Parro ;>{)
>   I'll bet the reason more people don't graduate from rodeo clown
> school
> is because they don't pass Being Funny While Getting Gored in the Ass
> 101.
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