August 8, 2012

NYT's Stylish Profs Spread Ignores People of Color (The Most Fashionable of Them All)

Tanisha C. Ford takes to task the NY Times' recent "Class Acts" spread on stylish academics (which featured only white profs). In her article Haute Couture In The ‘Ivory Tower’ Ford states:

"The spread presumes that when a professor walks into a classroom she is a blank slate, a model to be adorned in fine clothing and given an identity. The reality is that scholars of color, women, and other groups whose bodies are read as non-normative have never been able to check their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation at the door.

As soon as we walk onto campus, our bodies are read in a certain (often troubling) manner by our students, our colleagues, and school administrators. Our professionalism and our intellectual competence are largely judged by how we style ourselves. Therefore, we are highly aware of how we adorn our bodies. And, like our foremothers and forefathers who innovated with American “street fashions,” we too use our fashion sense to define ourselves, our professionalism, and our research and teaching agendas on our own terms. As a result, we are actively dismantling the so-called ivory tower."

"People of color have used fashion as a form of cultural-political resistance and creative self-expression."

Click here to read the entire article.