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Letters From Luvvie: Dear Morehouse (Guest Blogger)

You've probably heard the new dress code that Morehouse College, an all-male HBCU (Historically Black College/University), has given its students. They've released 11 stipulations that students must follow, or risk being suspended from school. They are more than deserving of this week's sternly-worded letter.

Dear Morehouse,

You know you're kind of full of sh*t, right? When I first saw the new dress code you released for your students, I surely thought it was some kind of random joke or satirical piece. Surely, a place of higher learning did not just make an extensive list of things that are unacceptable to rock on a campus. Is the school so on point that the most pressing matter is its students' way of dress? Yeah, NAW I don't think so. Word on the street is that your enrollment rate is down, as well as your retention and graduation rates. I doubt that this will be helping either. I guess that in whatever struggles you may be having, the most important thing is that the men on your campus maintain their segzy and moisturize their situations in the most conservative way possible.

More after the jump.

So here's the thing though. You might as well have kept that long extensive list to yourself and did this instead:

*Clears throat* *taps mic*
"No gays or thugs allowed. Thank you. Management."
*drops mic*

The list you made is very specific in what it is not going to tolerate, and it is clear that one of those is the way a lot of gay men will choose to dress.

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

Even if I didn't heart the gays as much as I do, I'd find something wrong with this. The man who came to Morehouse looking fierce in his tunics now has to go get a new wardrobe, otherwise he won't be allowed in class. THEM is some bald-headed games right there. Imagine someone forcing B. Scott into some sensible tasseled loafers and double-breasted blazer. That would be the day fierceness ended. Morehouse, why won't you let the gays be great??? *WALL SLIDE*

Shoot, some metrosexuals who like to carry murses (man purses) will be outta luck too. Bet a bunch of folks had to go out to buy a sensible Samsonite case for their books now. See, Morehouse? RUDE.

Also on the list is the banning of sagging pants and grills. Given, I give the urban youths disapproving glances and side-eyes because the do dress foolishly. That isn't the point though. It's the principalities (yes, principalities) that matter. I hate sagging pants with the intensity of 1,000 Dereon jumpsuits but sheesh! To be mandated to rock your pants high is a bit extreme in my book. And grills are obnoxious as all to be, but they are some folks' way of self-expression. I also usually O__o when I see them. But still...

But most importantly, the rule of no pajamas is what I oppose the most. Y'all are just straight tweaking with that. Half the fun of college is being able to rock pajamas to class because you woke up 15 minutes into your exam and all you had time to do was brush your teeth (or so I've heard O__O). College wouldn't be college if you couldn't be on the Quad in some plaid pants with a hoodie and houseshoes AT LEAST once. Come on, Morehouse!!! *kicks trash can* The Big Ten University that I went to even had school-branded PJs. They enabled our comfort. You some haters, Morehouse.

I'm also against the "no caps" rule. For someone like me, who rocks a hat 70% of the time, I'd be picketing, talmbout "No justice, no peace."

Morehouse, I understand that you’re a private school and can, by right, govern your students with an iron fist. However, that doesn’t mean that you exercising this right in such a manner is best. I wish I WOULD pay over $30,000 a year to be at a place that forces me into some ridiculous constrains. I was raised for 18 years by my mama. What do I look like PAYING someone to do it for 4 more years? Methinks NOT.

Yes, I get it. You want the image of your students to be upstanding and professional, but in the grand scheme of things, what's the point? Aren't you supposed to prepare these folks for the real world? Forcing them into these strict dresscodes that they won't do naturally is hardly the way to do it. Clothes don't make the man, especially not when he is being forced into them.

If you REALLY want to get your image up, get a Top 10 nationally-ranked program, instead of being stuck on upholding some Morehouse legacy that few but yourself gibbadamb about. Get to the point where people see a "Morehouse resume" and pull it out the bunch as an elite. You're worrying about the wrong things.

Take a bite from that apple that came in the "Fool Saddown" gift basket I sent you. And air yourself out with the "Anti-pompous" Deodorant I included too. It's mighty stuffy around you.

Yours in side-eyedom o__O,


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Reader Comments (43)


Yeah I don't know if I can add anything to this conversation that hasn't already been said.

- It's a stupid policy
- College is a time of self expression
- You're not going to de-thug or de-gay a student by forcing him into a sweater vest

But the big thing is the dress code was limited to class and major school functions (convocation, graduation, etc.) then okay...but these policies govern EVERYWHERE - dorm and cafeteria's - that's insane and intrusive.

For a school focused on creating leader the rules seem pretty conformist ot me.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA Big Butt and a Smile

I can understand where the Morehouse administration is coming from....I don't think their campus is the place to be dressing like a thug or a woman. If you are transgendered that's different but to just be around campus in women's clothes for attention is something else.

A lot of colleges have dress codes....especially business colleges. Morehouse is a historic place and some of the greatest minds period have walked it's campus. The students need to show some reverence and respect for the great students that came before them.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah

I don't have a problem with the new dress code policy. I am all for self expression but there is a time and place for it. College is a time to get the very best education you possible can so you can thrive hopefully. We've been in this mindset of "anything goes" for so long that we become immune to whatever. It is time to have standards!!!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Gelera

The wearing of women's clothing is not necessarily something that "a lot of gay men" will choose, as being gay does not equal rocking a dress.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPPR_Scribe

Good for Morehouse. Now, the men can concentrate on their studies and futures rather that get into the mindset of hustling and pimping.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThree Rivers

I don't know whats wrong with having a dress code either. I mean, College isn't a fashion show and there are other outlets to dress like a woman or express yourself. I think that Morehouse just wants students to have a certain professionalism, I mean they aren't in high school anymore, that's where I thought you expressed yourself. Oh well welcome to the real world of rules. You can't just dress as you please if you work at a business that requires a casual-business/business attire dress code either. I'm also sick of the everything being about hating gays and stuff. I mean, really? Just because they banned MEN from wearing PUMPS? Puhleeze.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNagrom

Exactly @ Pp__Scribe. I have never seen a gay man dress in a woman's dress, I mean on a regular day that is. Now I have seen heterosexual men rock skinnies. LOL. Now thats what I call having some pride.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNagrom

I hope the opinion of this blogger is a joke. We've become too casual about everything. Anything goes. I applaud Morehouse for stepping up.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbusybodyk

I'm inclined to agree with the dress code being implemented. While I understand some of the arguments presented by other commenters, college is indeed a place for finding and expressing yourself. If education is the main focus then the administration is merely attempting to ensure that these various self expressions should be left outside the classroom.

Additionally, I think Morehouse is preparing these young men for promising futures and as such they need to start carrying themselves. College is also suppsed to aid in grooming these young men to become productive members of society.....our future policitians, lawyers, doctors to name a few.

Dress for Success

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaughing808

It's unfortunate if the Morehouse's stats re: student retention, graduation, etc. have declined in recent years, and while I agree improving them should be the priority of the college's administration, they also have to balance and maintain Morehouse's perception among the general public (who may unfortunately view an HBCU school as "less than") and uphold the standard of preparing gentleman for today's society in a manner worthy of its illustrious alumni. When I think of a true gentleman, someone wearing heels, a dress or sagging pants does not fit the picture.

I read through the Dress Code and I really don't see anything objectionable to it. It maintains the ability for those who have a need to abide by their religious or cultural requirements, which I think is the most important thing.

Those who want to dress provacatively and shockingly (I'm going to say honestly that I had no idea that certain men were making a habit of wearing heels on an everyday basis until I saw this season's Housewives of Atlanta), can express themselves on their own time, but at school, work, etc. they should respect the standards of society and dress in a way that shows respect for themselves and their gender. If a man has gender identity issues, they should seek counseling and change their gender if that's how they really feel inside, but given that Morehouse is a single sex institution, they're not going to be on that campus for long anyway.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShuggie

Originally I was against this. Just because a young man wears a grill to class or the café doesn’t mean he doesn’t know the proper attire for a job interview. As someone who recently left college ( and it was a HBCU )I understand it’s a time for self expression and sometimes you just don’t feel like getting dressed. However Morehouse is a private college. They have to right to be strict about what their students wear. If you don’t like it, don’t attend. There’s nothing wrong with Morehouse setting standards. I don’t have a strict dress code at my current job, but I can’t wear some of the things I wore to class while I was in school.

To the writer:
‘That would be the day fierceness ended. Morehouse, why won't you let the gays be great???’ Isn’t it offensive to assume at a gay man absolutely wants to wear women’s clothing?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterconni3

THANK YOU MOREHOUSE!!! While the opinions of the guest blogger were very colorful and entertaining, I would have to disagree with him. Sometimes I think that people have completely disconnected from reality. The reality is that once you leave college and enter THE REAL WORLD, you will NOT be able to wear an "Icy Grill" to work everyday unless you become a professional rapper (actual chance of that 1,000,000:1) Yes, college is a time to express yourself and to cut loose a bit but it is also practice for the real world. A world which is controled by white males who look at sagging pants and gold teeth and laugh. Unfortunately, to that white male who will at some point probably be your boss; even if you are clean cut and wearing a Brooks Brothers suit you are still not on a level playing field (but at least you have a chance). If you look like a thug: DENIED, no chance in hell. I know some people will say well the white boys do it (they dress goth, slacker surfer dude emo even hip hop or whatever). Yes they do, however their daddy's own the corporations that run this country. When the day comes that black males run corporate America (and America in general) then you can wear gold plated do-rags on your heads or whatever you little heart desires. Until then STFU pull your pants up, take off the do-rag and leave the womens shoes at home.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAKIL

I think part of college is self expression. I don't think there should be a STRICT dress code. I went to an art school and people wore pretty much whatever they wanted to. So maybe I'm biased towards free expression.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDee

LMAO @ having to tell a young man to not show up in women's clothing

just the fact that this is actually an issue shows the problems that are there.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

you know, you can't have it both ways. you can expect young boys act and become the men you want them to be and allow them to prance around in skirts, skinny jeans, and ice grills. it's one or the other. bleeding hearts kill me with that crap.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

When I first read about the Morehouse dress code, I thought good for them. I understand what the author is saying and to a certain extent, college is a time to be experimental. However, can you imagine just how bad the attire had to be in order for them to execute such a dress code?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

I think a Monday thru Friday dress code is okay. I also think that they could suspend the dress code on weekends to let the students have a little freedom.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonie

Aside from being obnoxiously hetero-normative, the policy is much ado about nothing. The kids who wear saggy pants now will not be doing it 5 or 10 years from now. Thank goodness I went to a school where if I was running late for class, no one cared if I was in a sweatshirt and pajama bottoms. But since Morehouse is more concerned with grooming corporate drones, the new dress code isn't much of a shock.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthewayoftheid

@ Akil: Amen!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermisspriss

This is just another reason why HBCUs are falling by the wayside
First Hampton banned 'locs
I was a tad bit surprised that they didn't ban those hip hugging tight pants
but you can't change too much in one day

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCassavaLeaf

@ Akil
I completely disagree with the notion that people of African descent do NOT own any companies of note.
You may not know of them but there is a host of corporations/companies that are either ran or managed
by people of African descent.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCassavaLeaf

This is an example of one of the things I really hated about my HBCU experience: the ultraconservative, paternalism of the black bourgeois. Forget about training leaders and fostering independent thinking, administrators have decided to cultivate mindless drones.

The other sticking point about this dress code and the “Morehouse Man” is that this really speaks to the school’s apparent misguided notions of its mystique . You can’t cross-dress on campus and epitomize the spirit of the college, but you and your friends can run a train on a intoxicated young woman, allow her 15-year old friend to blow all of you, tape the entire sordid affair, and be welcomed to matriculate as a Morehouse man (Genarlow Wilson). A student can’t wear pumps but Joshua Brandon Norris can shoot another Morehouse man and be allowed to continue classes and stroll across the stage at graduation like nothing happened.

Are they serious?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

just because there are some black owned companies, doesn't mean corporate america is run by black people. unless akil said there weren't ANY black owned companies of note. which, i don't think he said.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Morehouse is not for everyone. And for the record, these are not entirely new rules. It is more a re-issurance/reaffirmation of the Morehouse character that has been in place for decades and had been slipping a little bowing to cultural forces not aligned with the Morehouse vision of black manhood.

When I attended Spelman in the 80s that *was* the dress code and it didn't need to be spelled out. Times change and some things needed to be examined anew and then articulated again with context. You are missing the context for all the "rules" you've denigrated.

The dress code is not arbitrary nor is any of the other school traditions and ethos. They are aligned with a specific vision of achievement, leadership, cultural pride and African American manhood. This is not the school to wear pajamas to class or a dress to Chem lab. I support anyone's right to express themselves however they wish. But, I also support a private institution's right to assert their own character and values.

I love my Morehouse brothers -- Corporate drones, artists, activists, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, greenies, playas and preachers alike. They aren't perfect, may not even be the model for everyone, but they are in service to a vision of service, intelligence, dignity and responsibility and I respect that.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterspelmansnob

...and if this were about instilling character or value, perhaps I'd feel differently. But it's not. It's about image.

A turd in a suit and tie is still gonna be a turd, just a nicely dressed one. The obsession with appearances--particularly in the black community--is nauseating. I sincerely doubt that these saggy pants wearers will be rocking said pants to job interviews, and to assume is an insult to their intelligence. No, no...this is all about becoming more palatable to the mainstream--the same mainstream that rocked Coed Naked t-shirts and flip flops to class with me 10 years ago.

Besides, these rules do nothing to address declining enrollment and graduation rates. How will this curb the violence surrounding the campus? Perhaps if we spent less time on what they're wearing and more time on what they're learning they'd be much better off.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthewayoftheid
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