His Kids Aren't Allowed To Wear Provocative Clothing. But Not In The Way You're Probably Thinking.

No kid wants their dad to act like the fashion police. But this guy treats it like a mission.

Here's a guy who's living the dream.


But he went to Princeton undergrad.

His name is Lawrence Otis Graham. He and his wife are Ivy-League-educated professionals with strong careers. They're raising three kids with privileges most of the country will never know.


But here's the thing...

They're really worried.

In the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Graham wrote:

"We convinced ourselves that the economic privilege we bestowed on them could buffer these adolescents against what so many black and Latino children face while living in mostly white settings."

When 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was profiled and killed in February 2012, the reality of what it means to be a black boy in the United States began to sink in. Then, after a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014, fear and caution became their game plan.

Both cases were complete failures of justice, with the teens' killers walking free. And given just a recent account of police killings of unarmed black men and boys, their concern is understandable.

So they developed a code.

It's a set of rules that dictate how their kids dress and behave in public to avoid being unfairly targeted and potentially harmed (or worse) by cops or anyone else.

Their plan isn't unlike telling a woman not to wear revealing clothing to avoid being raped. It should go without saying that that's absurd. Because it shouldn't matter what a woman is wearing; she just shouldn't be raped, right?

Graham explained their rationale:

"No overzealous police officer or store owner was going to profile our child as a neighborhood shoplifter. With our son's flawless diction and deferential demeanor, no neighbor or playdate parent would ever worry that he was casing their home or yard."

If it sounds extreme, it's probably because it is.

To be clear, they forbid their kids from wearing clothes that other kids wear every single day because they're worried that they'll be shot dead without ever having done anything wrong. Keep that in mind as you scroll down.

Preppy clothes should not be seen as a cure.

Graham's kids are more likely to be seen in a criminal light than white kids. But just as wealth and elite memberships won't shield black kids from racism, making them dress and act a certain way won't magically disarm the unconscious biases that ultimately killed Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and so many others.

Racism isn't just a matter of perception.

It's an infection that shapes not just how people act, but how systems work. It touches everything from legislation to law enforcement, from education to the job market, and everything in between. Racism is inescapable.

Our only hope is to get as many people as possible to care enough to act.

Mass resistance to injustice is the only way to change the system. Hopefully, Graham will come around to that and use his privilege to support those efforts. Because khakis, polos, and a life of deference just won't cut it.

Watch the interview below:

More
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared