Morehouse College

“Cut your chains and you are free, cut your roots and you die.”

Is it safe to assume that in Atlanta, the idea of a black man has outstretched itself far past the boundaries of “normalcy” that a dress code is needed at one of the city’s most prominent colleges in its triangle of major historically black colleges & universities? The answer is yes and for once after years of fighting back the idea of a “dress code” for my school (lucky enough to escape it once I graduated high school) – I agree with the ruling.

Yes, agree with a dress code at Morehouse College.

Basically, the good heads at Morehouse don’t believe that transgendered like dressing (for you somewhat slow folks that would be a man throwing on a dress and some heels) is a good thing, especially if we’re talking about a college that mostly promotes a business like mindset for the gentlemen who attend and mostly graduate from there. If a student who attends Morehouse currently and finds themselves upset at the dress code, you might want to enjoy all the pizazz and flaunting of today’s fashion at Clark Atlanta or Atlanta University.

Straight from the mouth of The Maroon Tiger, here’s what is stated: “The policy outlines 11 expectations pertaining to what students should not wear while on campus. Instead of requiring certain articles of clothing, as a typical dress code would, the policy details those articles of clothing deemed unacceptable for students. Some of the expectations discussed in the policy include to prohibit wearing “sagging” pants, women’s clothing, and headwear. The policy will be distributed to students electronically through Tigernet and the school website. The policy will also be outlined in the student handbook and discussed in Crown Forums for students.”

And folks at Morehouse see a problem with this. Possibly because they feel like their bretheren at their sister schools Spelman & CAU don’t have to deal with a pesky dress code. When the NBA instituted a dress code policy in order to “clean up” the league’s image – it worked. After a few grumbles, everybody followed suit and since then the only people who believe the NBA happens to be full of thugs in color coordinated shirts, shorts, shoes & accessories are those who have always held that stereotype that the NBA, the most predominantly black sport in America – can have a dress code and still be filled with hooligans.

The aesthetic of a “Morehosue Man” is a little different than that.

I mean, we’re talking about the same college that has produced plenty of our best and brightest (including our most endearing in Martin Luther King Jr.) and I doubt if you want to be looked at in the business world with a little bit of grit and common sense, you wouldn’t be rocking a dress exposing your feelings on sexuality one day and then turn around, throw on a suit in front of a bunch of people looking for a job. I understand Morehouse trying to curtail all of the “jiggabooisms” that Atlanta somewhat has to deal with and is slowly recovering from the incident a while ago when a student shot another student 3 times. The shooter happened to graduate while the victim never returned to the school.

Outrage can also come from the fact that its explicitly written in the doctrine that cross-dressing is not allowed, point blank period. Forcing those who have come out and fully flaunted their choices in sexuality to conform to the “rules” might be a little bit discriminatory but then again – this is coming from Atlanta, one of America’s preeminent homes for African-American gays and lesbians. I know Texas did Slpash after most of us “straight folks” did the Kappa but Atlanta holds an entire week dedicated to being open about sexuality and I know a lot of my gay friends who would have went, regardless if they went to Morehouse or not. I understand Morehouse trying to simply cover up their homosexual identity but just by changing and forcing some clothing regulations is doing both good and bad – one because it isn’t forcing a potential job recruiter to eye your sexuality when you interview but it hinders you because at the one place where they preach openess and growing into a self-identity – your identity gets held back because it isn’t “norm”.

But, maybe I’m reaching here when I try to group all black men in trying to succeed on a public and business front. I’ll admit that my current wardrobe would probably fail the current dress attire policy due to my Outkast “Elevators” t-shirt, my N.E.R.D shirt that is a double-entendre and my newest acquisition of a shirt in tribute to Bell Biv Devoe.

Would I discard wearing some of these things around campus and keep them selective to my nightlife? Yes of course. Because as a man with an opinion, I’d rather be heard with my voice than what is on my shirt.

What do you think?