Amanda Lind, 38, has been Minister of Culture and Democracy in Sweden since January 21st. She is also white . And recently, the proud owner of dreadlocks. A member of the Environment Party-Les Verts since 2016, this former psychologist is now under fire from the critics because of her new haircut.
For some, it is not a look suitable for a minister; for others, it is a matter of cultural appropriation. Swedish right-wing polemicist Rebecca Weidmo Uvell, took her frustration to Twitter : « As a minister, you don’t represent yourself. But Sweden. And I don’t think you can have such a hairstyle » . As for the artist Nisrit Ghebil, she denounced in an article in the Aftonbladet newspaper that a white woman in a position of power should not « wear an African-American hairdo ».
Cultural appropriation, a practice particularly denounced by Afro-descendant activists, refers to the recovery of codes – clothing, physical, linguistic – of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority (mostly white). This act is strongly criticized because it exposes a double standard. Some hairstyles or clothes from one or more African cultures are for example seen as « dirty » or « inappropriate » when worn by minorities, and « exotic » or « innovative » when worn by white people.
A practice that has always existed but whose denunciation is only very recent. Like Zac Efron or Justin Bieber before her who also tried dreadlocks. The Swedish minister is now part of the « white to dread » community. A source of jokes for years. Amanda Lind can congratulate herself for creating a controversy just with her hair.