Morehouse College dress code. Let’s talk about it.

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Over the weekend, I was watching Don Lemmon on CNN talk on several occasions about the new dress code at Morehouse College.  If you aren’t aware, Morehouse is an all male Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and considered to be an elite institution for black men.  While there are 11 points addressed on the policy, the one about not wearing women’s attire is gaining the most attention.

Here’s the dress code…

It is our expectation that students who select Morehouse do so because of the College’s outstanding legacy of producing leaders. On the campus and at College-sponsored events and activities, students at Morehouse College will be expected to dress neatly and appropriately at all times.

Students who choose not to abide by this policy will be denied admission into class and various functions and services of the College if their manner of attire is inappropriate. Examples of inappropriate attire and/or appearance include but are not limited to:

1. No caps, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues. This policy item does not apply to headgear considered as a part of religious or cultural dress.

2. Sun glasses or “shades” are not to be work in class or at formal programs, unless medical documentation is provided to support use.

3. Decorative orthodontic appliances (e.g. “grillz”) be they permanent or removable, shall not be worn on the campus or at College-sponsored events.

4. Jeans at major programs such as, Opening Convocation, Commencement, Founder’s Day or other programs dictating professional, business casual attire, semi-formal or formal attire.

5. Clothing with derogatory, offense and/or lewd messages either in words or pictures.

6. Top and bottom coverings should be work at all times. No bare feet in public venues.

7. No sagging–the wearing of one’s pants or shorts low enough to reveal undergarments or secondary layers of clothing.

8. Pajamas, shall not be worn while in public or in common areas of the College.

9. No wearing of clothing associated with women’s garb (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at College-sponsored events.

10. Additional dress regulations may be imposed upon students participating in certain extracurricular activities that are sponsored or organized by the College (e.g. athletic teams, the band, Glee Club, etc).

11. The college reserves the right to modify this policy as deemed appropriate. *All administrative, faculty, students and support staff members are asked to assist in enforcing this policy and may report disregard or violations to the Office of Student Conduct.

I’m ok with a dress code. It’s a private college, and I agree with the notion of grooming students to represent what the leadership like President of Student Services, William Bynum, of what a Morehouse student should wear.  I agree, it is a tricky statement to include something about wearing women’s clothing, but if you take it at face value, then I don’t think it should be offensive.  No one is saying that you cannot be gay at Morehouse.  I would be more concerned if there was some policy about public affection between men.

I think the dress code probably would have gone over better if they made a simpler statement that all students must wear business attire while on campus, with a few exceptions.  I bet students or the media or the LGBT community would not even weigh in like they are now.  Also, I don’t agree with Pam’s House Blend’s “what if” statement in her article about wearing a tailored woman’s suit (“Morehouse code bans cross-dressing…“).  What’s the likelihood of that happening on campus with the exception of in protest?

I’m also tired of the white community weighing in on this one.  There are some serious issues in the black community with our men, and some of it relates to appropriate attire.  I have been on Morehouse’s campus.   I attended an HBCU.  I have family that lives in the Atlanta area.  I know that a part of black culture has an emphasis on how you dress.  I also know that black culture, stereotypically speaking, is homophobic.  In this case, the school’s leadership was trying to cover all possibilities with the intention of instituting some decorum on campus.  Our black men, gay, straight, bi, cross-gendered, etc. need that, some individuals (regardless of group) moreso than others.

Unfortunately, what I think is going to happen here, is that one statement in an otherwise good policy is going to negatively influence people who otherwise would not know nor care about Morehouse.  They are going to become an example, and I don’t think that’s fair.

I’m not going to give an education behind HBCUs for white people, but before you go down the ignorant path about why are there all black schools anyway, do a little internet research or go to the library or use your common sense to remember that this nation was built upon slavery and segregation.  There is a historic significance for existence of these universities whether coed or all male or all female.  Pam’s House Blend also got on the fact that there Morehouse is only one of 2 all male colleges left in the US.  So what?  There are lots of all female colleges out there and I don’t see men trying to beat down their doors for them to become integrated.  The college you attend is a choice.

To me, this dress code is the same as primary and secondary schools banning things like wearing white tees knowing that trend was just that for some but also a way for people to identify themselves with a certain group.

If you are against the dress code, particularly the part about not wearing women’s clothing, how else would you state it?

Let’s talk about it…debate and discuss, not insult.

CNN- College implements dress code: Morehouse College is cracking down on what students wear and has implemented a dress code. We discuss with Dr. Steve Perry.

Related Links

I even hate posting some of these titles because they are imposing media bias, and that’s all the average American needs to form an opinion, unfortunately.

Atlanta Journal ConstitutionMorehouse dress code seeks to “get back to the legacy”

Atlanta Journal Constitution: BlogsDo clothes make the Morehouse man? No more pumps on campus.

AOL Black Voices: BV Black SpinDo Rags, Sagging Pants Banned in New Morehouse Dress Code

Black Legal IssuesAll male college cracks down on cross dressing

Pam’s House BlendMorehouse dress code bans cross-dressing: it’s not ‘expected in Morehouse men’

The RootMorehouse’s Crossroads Has Nothing To Do With ‘Ghetto Gear’ or Cross-Dressing

After EllenThe Morehouse Dress Code

CNNAll male college cracks down on cross dressing

New Black ManFrank Leon Roberts: On Morehoue College’s New Dress Code Policy

Jack and Jill PoliticsMorehouse to instiute dress code

Shaun in the CityNo grillz or high heels: The new Morehouse dress code

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