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‘Racist’ School Dress Code for Parents Outrages Feminists

‘Racist’ School Dress Code for Parents Outrages Feminists

“All dress codes are sexist anti woman nonsense, but this is the first one I’ve seen so totally fixated on Black women.”

Feminists are accusing a Houston high school principal of instituting a racist and sexist dress code for parents.

In a letter sent at the beginning of the month, Principal Carlotta Outley Brown outlined a dress code for parents entering James Madison High School.

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The guidelines set out a ban on satin caps, shower caps, bonnets, hair rollers, pajamas, and house shoes. Torn jeans, leggings, daisy duke shorts, low cut tops and short dresses were also on the list of banned attire.

In the letter, Brown explained that the dress code was intended “to prepare our children and let them know daily, the appropriate attire they are supposed to wear when entering a building, going somewhere, applying for a job, or visiting someone outside of the home setting,”

One mother spoke out in early April, claiming she had been denied entrance to the school when she went to register her daughter for classes. She was wearing a head scarf and a Marilyn Monroe T-shirt dress at the time.

“I’m not saying that it’s a part of my religion, but it could have been, but I just wanted to have it up. Who are you to say that I can’t wear my hair up? In a scarf? Who are you to tell me how to dress?” the woman told a local Houston news outlet.

The president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, Zeph Capo, told CNN that some of the guidelines seem “a little classist.”

Parents and local Houston educators weren’t the only ones critical of the high school’s dress code. Feminists on Twitter expressed their outrage, accusing Brown – a black woman – of being racist and sexist.

“Reminder you can be Black and still create, write, enact & enforce anti-Black policies. nothing going wrong in that school has any connection to bonnets,” tweeted social justice activist Leslie Mac.

“All dress codes are sexist anti woman nonsense, but this is the first one I’ve seen so totally fixated on Black women,” wrote Radiolab reporter Tracie Hunte.

Feminists have long touted the concept of intersectionality – defined as the “complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect” – to argue that certain marginalized groups are more vulnerable than others.

Critics of intersectionality argue that the doctrine is overly divisive. Writing in Tablet in 2016, James Kirchick argued that the ideology results in a culture where the “victim who shouts the loudest gets what they want in today’s hyper-politicized cultural climate.”

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Cover image: James Madison High School Principal Carlotta Outley Brown (Screen grab)

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