From Black Voices — Last week, the earth tilted on its axis when Vibe magazine published a piece called‘The Mean Girls of Morehouse.’ The article highlighted a tiny group of Morehouse students who prefer to dress in women’s clothing. Prior to the release of the piece, the president of Morehouse College sent out an outraged letter to his alumni decrying an article that he admitted he had not read.
The Vibe article was precipitated by last year’s controversy over Morehouse’s dress code. Excuse me, the “Appropriate Attire Policy.” The policy was targeted at a tiny minority of students on campus. By tiny, I mean FIVE:
“The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college’s 2,700-member student body,” said Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services.
“We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men,” he said. (CNN)
Though the policy had 11 “expectations” for students, the one which received the most attention and the one for which all the other expectations were written to disguise, is a ban on wearing clothing usually worn by women such as dresses, tops tunics, purses and pumps. In short, there is no room for androgyny at Morehouse.
Dr. Franklin and his staff remain steadfast in couching the dress code as some type of attempt in molding and shaping students for “leadership ” Leading what? Leading where?
College is a place where you will be confronted by people who look, act and sound different than you do. I remember wearing my collection of scripture-embossed church t-shirts to English 101 only to be confronted by a rabid atheist professor who insisted we call him by his first name, Jim. I’d been raised in a devout Baptist family and had never had anyone contest the existence of God to my face with relish and glee. Every class was a new test in how blasphemous Jim could be. We fought the entire semester and I got an “A.” and Jim ended up being one of my favorite instructors.
If you do it right, the people you meet in college transform your life and add a layer of richness you otherwise would have been denied. In managing these relationships with people who are different than you, you begin to deal with people on an individual basis and form conclusions based on character and not geography, gender, race, national origin, or yes, sexuality. And of course, this tolerance for differences prepared you for the work world in which you will encounter these differences and be forced to harness them for creative production.