Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Fashion Statement


I saw this list of words on the back of a denim jacket the other day as I rode up an escalator on my commute home from work. When the wearer turned his head to say something to his friend, I took notice that he was African American. This took me by surprise because "white trash" had led me to assume otherwise. I looked at the wording on his jacket again and realized that if the words "ghetto thug" had stood on it alone, I would have assumed he was black. If punk had been the only descriptive claim, I probably would have assumed he was white. But by having all of these identifiers grouped together, it was as if he was claiming to be above and beyond racial stereotype. Taking this a little further, I understood that the labels he claimed for himself could each be seen as unattached to any particular race as well. I interpreted the statement of his jacket to mean he was proud of his background, one that he was not defining based on race or nationality or religion, but on his mindset, his attitude, his dispostion, his code of conduct. He was not a preppy, or a jock, or a computer geek, or a (insert cliche personality type here). He was a WHITE TRASH GHETTO THUG PUNK. I consider myself to be an ARTISTIC INTELLECTUAL FASHIONABLE ATHLETIC HUSBAND FATHER BOOKWORM. What does that make you assume about me? Am I white? Black? Asian? Hispanic? Try assuming nothing. Try taking me for what my mindset, attitude, disposition, and code of conduct proclaims me to be. For this is what will tell you who I truly am. This is what should determine if I'm someone you'd want to hang out with or not. This is what my jacket would say if we lived in a world that was capable of seeing beyond color to the person beneath the melanin count.

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