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Clothes Make the Man

Leslie Brown

I have never been a fan of “casual Friday”. Somehow, to me it implies rules in general are relaxed. As a teacher, I have seen the accompanying “casualness” in which the kids follow the rules based on their teachers in jeans. Hey, I’ve been there.

If one were to look at snap-shot of a crowd scene from the 1950’s or early 1960’s one would see suits and ties on the gentlemen, and dresses on the ladies. Am I saying that is how everyone should dress every day? No, but we need to be aware that how we present ourselves, “telegraphs” something about the entire package.

This story is about a group of young men who were sick of being associated with the saggy pants, and thug-like garb worn by so many on the street. What they noticed was that as they dressed more respectfully, they received more respect, and they themselves acted more worthy of respect.

Like my gramma said, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”

Black male students at Illinois’ Central and Centennial High School put together “Suit & Tie in the 217″ to offer a counter-narrative for young black men. For Black History Month, they released a video of students dressed to the nines with the messages “we are not gangsters and thugs,” “we are employees and volunteers,” “we are scholars” and “we are athletes.”

“The negative stories told daily in the media and in our culture about our young African-American men tend to ignore their successes and don’t tell the full story about how young Black men are becoming leaders within our community schools,” said Central High counselor Tiffany Gholson, who worked with the students on the effort. “In this video, our students reclaim the narrative of who they are and inspire other students to follow in their footsteps.” – Via NewsOne

Props to these teens for taking the initiative to combat all the negative images of young, black males that we are flooded with daily by replacing it with some more positive images! Keep up the good work fellas!

Shared from Word on da Street

Crowd on 42nd St. and 5th Avenue, NYC circa 1940s

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