How the Dress Code Targets Young Black Girls

How the Dress Code Targets Young Black Girls

Stop over-sexualizing young Black bodies.

Black girls can’t wear shorts, or at least that was the gist of the rules at the middle school I attended.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and at the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I went to a middle school in a Chicago suburb. Incidentally, the school also banned hugging at one point, but that’s a story on it’s own. The dress code consisted of two main rules: straps had to have an equal or greater width of three adult fingers, and shorts had to at least reach the tips of your fingers. Like any school with a similar dress code, the rules were set with girls in mind. No one cared about the boys who sagged their pants and let their underwear show, or the boys in tanks that were two adult fingers at best.

However, this isn’t the problem. These rules are at many schools across the nation and they’ve always had a sexist background. But I’m not going to discuss the over-sexualization of young girls and the men who leer at them before putting these rules in place. It’s the focus on Black girls that’s key, and the fetishization that corrupts their young age, even in their tween years.

At my middle school, there were three assistant principals — one for each grade. The assistant principal for my grade, who is still the assistant principal today, approached me and a couple of my friends. He directed one of them to go inside and change because her shorts came to her thumbs and not her longest finger. The protocol was that girls who broke the rules of the dress code had to change into their gym uniform. My friend came back out in her gym shorts, and we all sat around fuming about the situation as young girls do. But then we noticed one of the white students, a girl who was sitting a couple feet away from us, was wearing jogging short.

Yes. The jogging shorts that come mid-thigh at best. She had very long legs, and it was clear to anyone who can see that she had beyond surpassed breaking the dress code. So we got the assistant principal. Justice, it seemed to us, needed to be served. It was a youthful mentality — that if one suffered, we all had to. And in the eyes of the administration, it should have been a mentality that was upheld.

But it wasn’t.

“Well she’s talking to someone right now,” he told us.

But we had all been talking to each other when he approached our group, and he made our friend change regardless.

And then he said it. He told us that he didn’t really worry about girls like her — he emphasized “like her” so we’d know he meant white girls. He said that we, a group of young black girls who were still growing — developed differently than the white girls. He said that we grew up with a little “more,” and that made the rules necessary.

The more he was referring to was the curviness of the Black woman’s figure.

We all laughed at the time. We had already noticed that we had been developing a little faster than our white counterparts, and that our hips and curves were desirable. It had actually seemed like a compliment.

But hindsight is 20/20.

He had clearly and unapologetically told us that he only targeted Black girls when it came to the dress code because of the way they develop. That our bodies, in our tweens, had already been labeled as sexual and lust-worthy, and we needed more clothes than others, even other girls, to keep from becoming a distraction.

And to put it simply, that’s disgusting.

I purposely did not include the name of the assistant principal because this really isn’t about him. It’s about the ease that comes with sexualizing the young Black body, and how a person can feel so comfortable doing it that they’ll admit to it.

I sincerely hope that my middle school aims to uphold the dress code in all cases. If it is a rule, everyone should be held to it.

Cover Image Credit: Patch

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4 Reasons Blacks Should Love Our President Trump

Why the president is actually good for the black community despite what critics say.

As a conservative African American, it saddens me to see so many people in the black community have a strong hatred for Donald Trump without knowing much about his policies. Only 15% of African Americans approve of President Trump, but I believe many of his black haters have very little idea of the good things that have happened during his presidency and have been brainwashed into thinking that President Trump is racist. Here are some reasons why blacks should love having Donald Trump as president.

1. He's not racist.

We've all heard the rumors that President Trump is racist. These rumors are nothing more than ad hominem political attacks against the president to try and discredit him and take away the minority vote from him. While it is true that he was one of the people who claimed that Obama was not from America, it's likely that he was doing this just to get media attention. There has been no definitive proof that the president is racist.

2. The economy is doing well.

The stock market is reaching new highs, GDP growth for the last year has been 2.3 percent, and manufacturing jobs are on the rise again. A better economy creates more opportunity for African Americans to live better lives.

3. The African American unemployment rate is at the lowest rate ever recorded.

Due to Trump's business-friendly policies and rhetoric, companies are no longer living in fear, worrying that in the near future the government will try and screw them over and raise their taxes or raise the minimum wage. The new certainty that Trump creates allows them to invest more, which creates new jobs for all Americans which in turn helps African Americans find jobs. The African American unemployment rate fell to just 6.8 percent in December 2017.

4. Trump's immigration policies would benefit the black community the most.

Illegal immigrants come into the country and take jobs away from Americans. This is mostly true for African Americans. Illegal immigrants take away jobs that blacks have done in the past: being maids, landscaping, many factory jobs, window cleaning, etc. Not only do they take away potential jobs from Americans, they also drive the cost of labor down because many of them are willing to work for cheaper. This willingness to work for less money makes it so that Americans who work alongside immigrants (illegal or not) are forced to take pay cuts. Trump's deportation policies alongside something like the RAISE Act, which would create a merit-based immigration system in which high-skilled workers are brought in to fill the "skills gap," which is a bunch of job positions which go unfilled, would stop the process of immigrants coming in and taking jobs from African Americans.

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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To The Car That Catcalled A Same-Sex Couple While They Walked Down The Street, Listen Up

You treat them like you would any other human being, because no matter what label they identify themselves as, they still have a name.

When I was walking down the street the other day, I noticed a couple walking ahead on the sidewalk in front of me, standing close together and holding hands. I did not think anything of it and went about my business, talking to my friends who were walking with me and continuously checking my phone.

Not seconds after I had looked away, a car comes driving past us, stopped briefly next to the couple and shouting from their car, "Is that your boyfriend?!" Laughing loudly, the car sped off.

The couple stopped walking, one pulling the other in close.

It wasn't until we had walked closer, that I noticed the couple in question were two males.

As an ally of the LGBTQ+ society, I have witnessed many acts of both discrimination and equality directed towards my close friends or fellow classmates. While some may think that the car full of girls practically catcalling this couple was just being funny, or even applauding the two students for holding hands while walking down the streets, it wasn't an act of kindness.

These two students were clearly embarrassed by what had happened and immediately stopped holding hands on the rest of their walk to wherever they were going.

You never know how someone is doing with the process of coming out. This could have been the first time they were comfortable walking this way in the public eye, and now the embarrassment they just endured may make this process even harder.

Let me ask you a question. If you were one of the passengers in that car, driving down the road either to get food or visit another friend, and you saw a heterosexual (straight) couple walking down the street beside you, would you have stopped and practically catcalled them for being 'super cute'? No, you wouldn't have.

Because in today's world, it is considered perfectly 'normal' to see a heterosexual couple, but as soon as a homosexual couple, or a transsexual, or anything other than a person outside of the typical "straight cisgender" norm come into view, the world turns all of their attention onto them.

Do you want to show a same-sex couple you accept them? Do you want to meet a trans person and make them feel accepted in your group? Here's the trick. Do absolutely nothing. You treat them like you would any other human being because, no matter what title or label they identify themselves as, they still have a name. They are still a person. They are human, no different than you and I.

So, to the car full of girls that thought they were doing the right thing by calling attention to the same-sex couple who bravely held hands together while walking through their college campus, how dare you.

Treat everyone the way you accept everyone to treat you, and the world will continue to go on smoothly.

Cover Image Credit: Charlotte Butcher

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