Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

WHY YOU SO MAD? October 14, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — peyso @ 11:24 pm

In recent news, we’ve seen some of our most prestigious institutions come under attack for some of their recent decisions. First there was Hampton Institute University, who thought that it was a great idea to choose a white chick as Miss Hampton. Many people had a problem with her entering the competition. I did not have a problem with that because she is a student and should be able to take part in all facets of the university. For the record, I would have had a problem with the winner had she been black. Did you see the letter that she wrote to Obama? Then the second one? She was a complete idiot. Then throw in the fact that she was the first white woman to win this award at a HBCU, it makes it seem that they the staff selected this woman because she was white. I don’t know.

Then you have the Morehouse dress code situation. Morehouse issued a dress code that banned, among other things, women’s clothes. Many people took this as an attack on homosexuality. I did not. I saw it as a move to make sure that their students dressed professionally. No one can argue that a man in women’s clothing is not professional. Now, I agree we may need to redefine what it means to dress professionally; however, according to the standards that are in place now, Morehouse’s dress code is spot on.  Furthermore, Morehouse has no obligation to fight the standard (Sure it would be great).

However, this is not what I want to focus on. Due to these actions, the schools have come under fire.  Many of the criticisms that the schools have faced are not mean spirited or malicious in intent. They are concerned and poignant criticisms that people are making because the schools are looked to as some of the premiere institutions in the black diaspora. Why cant the alumni see this? Why do the alumni feel that everyone is attacking their schools because we don’t agree? Do alumni feel that their institutions are above critique? You can talk and critique my school til the cows come home. As long as you have actual educated criticisms, I will listen and respond accordingly. Hell, I may even agree with you.

I’ve seen this happen often, that people at HBCU’s defend their schools more vigorously. Is this because they feel they are always attacked? Why cant you allow your schools’ success to speak for itself? Can anyone answer this? I’m not putting any school down, but i just want to know.

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43 Responses to “WHY YOU SO MAD?”

  1. How are the schools doing academically? That is my only concern.

    I really don’t care if a 2520 was crowned Miss Hampton

    I think a dress code was needed for Morehouse – Be PROFESSIONAL, I’m sure a man wouldn’t go into a job interview dressed as a woman.

    Perhaps, the administrators of the school feel like they have to CONSTANTLY defend- if that’s the situation, I’d be getting a little tired of hearing opinions also.

  2. Peyso Says:

    I think there are plenty of schools who do not have a dress code and their students understand what is professional dress. I think its another case of the over-prescriptive HBCU BS.

  3. Eightys Baby Says:

    I think its another case of the over-prescriptive HBCU BS.
    ^^^^^^^^^^

    @Peyso… This is the exact reason why people have to defend it… I’m pretty sure that Morehouse is not the only school with a dress code. But when a HBCU gets a dress code then its immediately related to it being a HBCU.

    I went to a HBCU and there has been several instances where I had to defend my school. One instance a guy from high school who was attending an ivy league school said that if he was at my school then he would automatically have a 4.0. As to say that the education I was receiving was super duper easy and in no way comparable to non HBCU’s… And I was REALLY offended. There was an argument and it was not pretty. Fast forward to now and he’s not talking that talk because me and my circle of friends all developed successful careers after graduation. Some of his fellow graduates from this Ivy League school can’t neccesarily say the same.

    It sucks big time to have to defend the education & experience from a HBCU. But it’s something that a lot of us have to do on a continuous basis…

    Why do people question the value of education/experience received at a HBCU more than a non HBCU???? This is the real question.

  4. The 2520 Miss Hampton is provocative. But is she the first? I thought I read somewhere in Ebony (the negro wall street journal) that there were others.

    Anyhoot..Im with Sunny I really don’t care. Maybe if I was enrolled there I would. But I can’t muster up an opinion one way or another.

    As for morehouse hasn’t a sig. amount of their gay student body risen? The dress code could be some strange way of keeping the legacy of the institution sacred and not turn it into one big ole village people fun fest. And in all fairness it MAY be masking some homophobia for sure.

  5. Eightys Baby Says:

    @Comeback… My school elected their first white one this year and it was a mess…… I personally didn’t have a problem with it… I’m like that’s who the students voted for and obviously wanted…

    But I can easily see why the no women’s clothes would be put into their dress code… Heck, have y’all been to Lenox Mall on the weekend.. That speaks for itself. And I personally know a guy who actually wears women’s blouses when he considers himself dressed up and so forth… There was obviously a need for it to be put in there… I can’t see them just pulling it out of the blue like yeah let’s just throw that in there on a whim.

  6. “nd I personally know a guy who actually wears women’s blouses when he considers himself dressed up and so forth…”

    @ 80s..is it women’s clothes from women stores OR is it women like..ive seen a lot of dudes wearing “blouses” that look like they have some type of boob dart and tapered in on the side..which is totally “how you doin”..but some male clothes are being made like that. And Im sorry skinny jeans and straight leg jeans are MADE FOR WOMEN, however men can get them in the lucky brand made for men. see what im sayiing. i dunno. i have a hard time believing dudes at morehouse are walking up in english 400 with a dress on ..

  7. there should be NO problem with a white girl running for hc queen at a HBCU. Why? because when white folks object to black folks doing stuff in their predominantly white environments, black folks cry racism. This is like reverse segregation.

    as for morehouse, i HATE dress codes. All of them. From kids in 3rd grade, to NBA players sitting on the sideline with injuries. Easy solution though, don’t like the dress code, don’t go there. There are hundreds of other colleges you can attend.

  8. Eightys Baby Says:

    is it women’s clothes from women stores OR is it women like

    @Comeback… It’s womens clothes… Heck he even got a pair of high waisted jeans… I dont think they make high waisted jeans for men… He’s comfortable in his own skin. But I will say he does know when to turn it on and when to turn it off… I hear when he goes back to where he originally from since it’s a bigger city then he really let’s loose on his apparel.

    I can’t see them walking in class with a dress on either… But down there they are definitely more open and daring with how far they’ll go… So it’s really no telling what they’ve walked in class with.

  9. “dont think they make high waisted jeans for men”

    I quit you for this 80s..lol

  10. “Easy solution though, don’t like the dress code, don’t go there. There are hundreds of other colleges you can attend.”

    That’s the truth, undressingher.. I said the same thing on VSB today. lol

  11. black schools should be ridiculed no less and no more than any other institution. i do think however, that despite maintaining the HBCU accreditation, they should do more in this day in age to recruit a wider spectrum of individual to their schools. i very well understandt the necessity for the HBCU when there existed very few other options, however if you expect change you must be a driving force in making said change happen. open your doors, let your institution stand for itself and not solely because it’s an HBCU.

    i don’t like when people inappropriately assert racism. i do think people from the institutions sometimes jump the gun a little early to do so (but then again, if you take the time to drill down on some of the naysayers arguments, you do realize that prejudice and racism is often associated with their stance).

    as for the dress code. hells yeah. my job has a dress code, the restaurants and clubs i attend have dress codes, why shouldn’t our education institutions have them. especially if you’re running around looking like prince on campus!

    . . . and doesn’t being gay mean you either like men or women, when did being gay turn into you want to be a woman or man?

  12. “. . and doesn’t being gay mean you either like men or women, when did being gay turn into you want to be a woman or man?”

    @ RW…imma go out there on a tiny limb and say ..men who are compelled to wear high waisted jeans…are 99.99% gay.

  13. and NOT highwaisted as in grand daddy on the tractor lawn mower or temptations back in the day..but highwaisted in a city slicker..i wanna look like kim kardashian kind of way.

  14. “especially if you’re running around looking like prince on campus! ”

    LMAO

    and then this:

    “but highwaisted in a city slicker..i wanna look like kim kardashian kind of way.”

    Yaw are on a roll. lol

  15. V Renee Says:

    “Heck he even got a pair of high waisted jeans… ”

    iCant!!!!!

    “And in all fairness it MAY be masking some homophobia for sure”

    I agree. I honestly think the dress code was enforced because too many guys are running around in pumps, hand bags and skinny jeans. Let’s face it, do rags and sagging pants are NOT anything new. But these men running around in low cut blouses showing clevage on the regular (think Derek from RHOA) are becoming more popular. I’m all about gay people being gay, but I don’t want to see that shat!!! Take that to Morehouse. Like I said on VSB, these he/shes then phucked the game up for everybody!!

  16. Peyso Says:

    @80’s – “@Peyso… This is the exact reason why people have to defend it… I’m pretty sure that Morehouse is not the only school with a dress code. But when a HBCU gets a dress code then its immediately related to it being a HBCU.”

    It is automatically related to it being a HBCU b/c they are the only schools that regularly enforce rule of this nature. No visitation, curfews, and other foolishness.

    “Why do people question the value of education/experience received at a HBCU more than a non HBCU???? This is the real question.” – B/c half of them are on the verge of losing accredidation.

    @ all – I have a problem w/ any college setting a dress code b/c I view college as a time for ppl to find themselves. I think the dress code is limiting. Furthermore, I understand that Morehouse has the power to do whatever they please; however, can I not agree? Is the answer always simply go somewhere else? Could they be wrong for this? I feel like I get attacked by many Morehouse alumni when I even bring up the idea that this could be a bad idea. That is what I have a problem with.

  17. V Renee Says:

    “@ RW…imma go out there on a tiny limb and say ..men who are compelled to wear high waisted jeans…are 99.99% gay. ”

    Yeah me too.

    I’m sorry if I was a professor at Morehouse, an all male school, I don’t want to look around the classroom and see female impersonators. Come up after class to discuss a homework assignment, with lip gloss poppin, eyelashes falling on the desk, perfume on and a fake falsetto voice…..in the words of the prettiest man (and who is an influencer of this trend) I’ve ever seen,”No Ma’am”.

  18. @peyso: assimilation is necessary. assimilation doesn’t mean the absence of difference, but when your difference impacts the over arching goal and culture of the group, then you need to fall back. assimilation is part of everything we do. expression isn’t stifled buy assimilation. it may require you to be more creative, but it doesn’t stifle your ability to express yourself. the reality is wearing clothes of a certain type not only sets a certain decorum amongst a group but at the same time encourages the person adhering to the dress code to act accordingly. the behavior is what they’re attempting to monitor, the dress code is just the tool for doing so. club dress codes for example. If I asked you to bet your check on which club would have the most number of incidents and fights over the course of a year, the one with the dress code or the one without, you’d put your money on the one that permitted white tees, baggy jeans and jerseys. that’s fighting gear. you’re not likely to see to suited and booted cats throwing dem thangs. maybe every once in a while, but not enough to bet your check on it. clubs do this to encourage a certain behavior as well as have assimilation within the club in order to foster an environment everyone can vibe in.

    and yes you can disagree. you can disagree while standing on the chancellor’s office doorstep. you just can do so wearing pink pumps and a halter top like these dudes in the ATL are.

  19. Peyso Says:

    @ Robert Weaver – Why r they admitting ppl who wouldnt behave appropriately? Why do they need to monitor the behavior of young ADULT men?

    Yes clubs with no dress code have more fights but that is correlation and not causation. The dress code, or lack thereof, does not cause the fight. I would argue that ppl who attend places w/ dress codes dont attend the places w/o; not that when you are forced to wear a nice shirt and shoes you instantly become peaceful.

    I just dont see what the dress code does for Morehouse. I look at the top 25 schools in the country and none of them have dress codes. Their graduates, (black & white, rich & poor, classy & classless) understand how to dress, not only does it bother me that this school feels the need to do this but it also bothers me that because they chose to do it that they MUST be right.

  20. @peyso to your first point, all schools admit students based on paper applications, test scores and essays. if they had a way to admit based on the exhibition of adult behavior (and remember they’re admitting non-adults), enrollment would drop drastically.

    to your second point, assimilation is still key. the dress code being in place attracts people of like minds, beliefs, attitudes, demeanor together. their willingness to assimilate to what’s customary in that setting (the dress code, the established acceptable behavior, whatever) contributes to the end result . . .less incidents. causation or correlation, the end result is the what’s important. . . . less incidents.

    third, the top 25 may not be dealing with this because those persons applying/entering the top 25 have already bought in. Or it could be that Morehouse’s problem may be unique in that it is surrounded by a community that has embraced (either willingly or unwillingly) gay culture amongst black men. different circumstances require different rules. Harvard I’m sure has gay men to, but those men have assimilated to the customary Harvard expectation and thus no prancing takes place. lol.

  21. @Peyso; I don’t think you are wrong in voicing your opinion at all.

    I just think the school should not have to conform to what the students want.. there’s plenty of other schools that one can go to.

    V; I cannot take that description of the lip gloss poppin. LMAO

  22. Peyso Says:

    @ Robert –
    1st point – touche
    2nd point – wrong, even before dress code there was a clear division between hood spots where backroom brawls would take place and the nicer places. I know as a former bouncer, that thugs own polos and will rock them and then cause you to shut to club down
    3rd point – Your response doesnt speak to my point. Who cares if they “buy in” while they’re there. Allow what you teach students to make them buy in. Dont force it. I am a staunch believer that we should inspire people to do what we want, not force them

  23. Peyso Says:

    @ Nicki – I think a school should take into consideration the wishes of the students, long term it will effect enrollment

  24. I thought going to college was to prepare you for adult life as a working individual.

    In most occupations, we can’t walk around looking the way we want to… so it’s just preparing us for the long run, IMHO>

  25. Peyso Says:

    “I thought going to college was to prepare you for adult life as a working individual.”

    Who has dictated that it is going to be corporate that every student works in? Banning certain garbs in class is one thing but to ban certain articles of clothing from the campus? That does not prepare anyone for a professional world, corporate or otherwise

  26. “Nicki – I think a school should take into consideration the wishes of the students, long term it will effect enrollment”

    @Peyso: as sucky as the thought of a dress code may be, if you really want to go to the school would it really stop you from going???

    I don’t think, say if I got excepted to Yale, and learned they had a dress code, I’d stop.

  27. “Who has dictated that it is going to be corporate that every student works in?”

    I don’t think you have to be in corporate to dress well.. even construction workers have a uniform (at least around here they do)… in car repair, beauty shops…

  28. Peyso Says:

    @ Nicki – Its not just a dress code. Its the trend of ignoring the wishes of students. But we’re all assuming anyway. I havent heard much about students complaining.

    Also, none of those jobs dictate what you can and cannot do while you’re not at work. I have a dress code while I’m at work but my job doesnt say i have to dress business casual while I’m home and thats what Morehouse is doing with some of the rules. In the classroom is one thing but to say I cant run to the caf in some pajama pants? If i like to wear high heels on the weekend, i cant?

  29. Eightys Baby Says:

    It is automatically related to it being a HBCU b/c they are the only schools that regularly enforce rule of this nature. No visitation, curfews, and other foolishness.

    @Peyso… At my school the freshman could not have visitation period….People still snuck and did it anyway and if you got caught you had to pay for a fine….. Upperclassmen could have visitation but they had to be out by a certain time. But there’s still no kind of 24 hour visitation allowed at all.

    I personally didn’t think this was necesarily foolishness… It was simply the rules… And the people who had the problem with it moved off campus….

  30. @peyso:

    2nd point: i’m a club promoter. we don’t have a dress code that can be written out on paper (ex: no tennis shoes, hats, white tees, etc.) despite the fact that we enforce one. we do this for the same reason you just expressed. anybody can put on a polo and set it off like they were sug. but i guarantee, if two cats walk to the door with the exact same polo and jeans on . . . one sporting them as Carlton from Fresh Prince and one wearing them like he just auditioned for Jeezy’s USDA camp . . . one of them ain’t getting in. you have to acknowledge there exists a difference.

    3rd point, your asserted in your point that being they (top 25 schools) are in the “top 25” and don’t have dress codes that schools under them (26-?) shouldn’t have a necessity for a dress code either. i assert that the “top 25” through their student selection process and maintenance of their position in the “top 25” has already established a decorum that applicants adhere to. similiar to the way the bouncer(chancellor/admissions) at [INSERT UPSCALE CLUB HERE] (. . . Yale) has already let the club goers (students) know that if you don’t come correct (tuck that polo in and make sure you wear shoes that make sound when you walk) you already know you aint getting into this club (. . . Yale).

    . . . I also stated that the solution Morehouse has put in place may be unique because of the unique circumstances that they deal with. Gay life ain’t poppin off in Provo, UT (BYU) like it is in the ATL.

  31. Peyso Says:

    80’s – I’m glad you liked the rule. I think the rule is stupid

  32. @peyso: Morehouse has an off campus, non-school related dress code?

    and let’s be real, rules are made for the minority. you might get out of a rule because of something minority. but rules are made for the majority. and the majority of the world doesn’t go to work rockin white tees . . yep .. in my white tee!

  33. Eightys Baby Says:

    I’m glad you liked the rule. I think the rule is stupid

    @Peyso….I didn’t say I liked the rule. I said it was the rules and I didn’t see it as foolishness…. To a certain extent I can understand the reasoning behind it.

    So what are some rules on college campuses that you don’t think are stupid?????

  34. Peyso Says:

    @ Robert’s – 2nd point – there is a difference but at a school that is not really an issue.
    3rd point – And Morehouse cannot do the same because of what? IMHO, Morehouse has no issues that are unique to Morehouse. I have a friend who went to my alma mater who rocked red pumps to class. School didnt stop him nor did they want to. Morehouse (read: both the institution and the alumni) claims to belong in this circle and calls Harvard the “Morehouse of the North”, why shouldnt they act that way.

    @80’s – There are tons of rules that I think are stupid. There are tons that i think are smart.

  35. @peyso: see, it’s your fault then. you should’ve stopped dude from wearing those pumps. you should’ve said . . .look man . . . you’re gonna start a landslide of rules and regulations around here . . . . now slip on those jordan’s over there and lets get to class. lol.

    but on the real, ATL is unique and presents a unique set of situations and circumstances. the black gay population in ATL is vast, there are few places like it.

  36. LP Says:

    Like I stated on VSB, a school is also an individual with the rights to exercise their “freedom of speech”. Morehouse has that right per the First Amendment of the Constitution. I may not like it, but it’s their right. I don’t like the fact that the stupid Neo-Nazis are having shows made about them on NatGeo… but it’s their first amendment right. I have options to avoid it if I want to… so do the students.

    College is a place to provide tools for our future. Whether that tool is to learn how to fight overbearing rules (i.e fight the dress code) or how to conform to achieve a certain ideal (i.e accept the dress code)… ultimately that’s what a college is supposed to teach you.

    Criticizing is absolutely not the problem, and I think most of the arguments I have heard in favor are bogus (i.e men wearing skinny jeans should be a no-no) but in essence it’s Morehouse’s right to instill a dress code if they so choose to do.

  37. Reecie Says:

    missed this convo today and its just as well. I’m with Eighty’s. We (HBCU alum) get mad or offended because we always have to defend our schools. We are ALWAYS attacked by those that don’t understand “our stupid rules” and other ways or traditions. You don’t understand it? fine. You don’t have an opinion on it because it doesn’t directly relate to your or your experience? even better. There are plenty of things I choose to not have an opinion about. HBCUs are always looked at as inferior, and yeah its pretty tiring debate, especially amongst your peers. But it is what it is…

  38. Peyso on the BB Says:

    @ Reecie – this is exactlÝ the sentiment that I have a problem with. Its almost that I’m excluded from the convo unless I have nothing but admiration for the schools. I think some of the traditions that HBCUs have are stupid but I also think that some of the traditions that my school have are dumb.I tweeted about the rule that Tufts passed on having sex w/ ur roommate in the room and didn’t get half the response that I got on this topic. Its like I can’t have any criticisms b/c I didn’t go there but I think that HBCU alumn forget that these are the premier African-American institutions of the world as a member of that diaspora, I have a vested interest in their success.

  39. Reecie Says:

    @peyso, Choosing to have an opinion isn’t my issue. I just don’t appreciate the sense of “my ish is better than your ish” because of x, y, and z. I just think its some bs, and I don’t like people that feel the need to put our schools down because it wasn’t the choice for them as if these two incidents take away from the enriching experiences that are to be had at either school or any school. Most of us are far enough beyond college anyway, but its like the same old discussion. pardon me for being fed up with it.

  40. Peyso on the BB Says:

    I can understand you being fed up w/ that but I’d argue that these issues weren’t centered around that debate nor this post or the related comments

  41. Reecie Says:

    I edited my post–I had initially included that my thoughts pertained not in the discussion here but elsewhere–my bad.

  42. Shannon Says:

    There’s PLENTY going on in this conversation. First, I can’t understand why this white girl winning homecoming queen is causing such a ruckus. Her Obama letter, however, was a little bit wild.

    The other thing is yes, HBCUs are constantly having to defend themselves, but sometimes the things that happen at HBCUs are ridiculous. Instead of being offended, we just have to work on being better. For better or worse, we’re held to a different standard.

    I attended Howard and as great as a university it is, there are still some things that could be better. We’re only hurting ourselves when we don’t see the flaws.


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