Saturday, October 17, 2009

Concerning Dress Codes and Men's Colleges

Morehouse College has developed an official dress code for its students, and the penalty for not following the proscribed code is possible suspension. Some of the items not allowed, as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, include caps or sunglasses inside buildings and jeans at official programs. The most curious items banned were women's clothing. Actually, I was a little taken aback that women's clothing had to be included in a dress code at a men's college. For a school that had a notorious gay bashing seven years ago, I was surprised to find that some Morehouse men clearly do drag openly enough to be caught in the web of the new dress code. This can only mean that the climate on that campus has really changed for the better, in terms of tolerance for the gays. That is brilliant progress, particularly within a community of black men and future leaders.

Personally, I like the spirit of the dress code. I like that the leadership of Morehouse wants to honor the legacy of the great men who call the school their alma mater (including one cousin of mine). Yet, there is something superficial about the whole thing. I don't think that greatness will come from proper and acceptable styling, but again, I understand the sentiment behind the code.

Hell, I would love to see a return to the styling of men of the early 1960s as shown on shows like "Mad Men" or movies like "Down With Love." For me that period was the height of men's fashion and styling, but I digress.

I wish the folks at Morehouse well, and though I can't speak for the men of Wabash, I can guess that the men of my alma mater, Hampden-Sydney, might have a real problem with the rule about caps inside the buildings. I mean that was like a part of an overall Hampden-Sydney uniform: khakis/jeans, Oxford button down, Hampden-Sydney sweatshirt, and a cap. Attempt to change something like that at H-SC, and a revolt would ensue.

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