Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Across the street from the small language school I attend, there's a large high school. Actually, it's two schools: one meets in the morning, the other in the afternoon. The thing that struck me when I first saw the morning classes dismissed as the afternoon classes arrived, was that everyone was wearing either blue or red uniforms, something unfathomable in the culture of California where these are the colors of rival gangs. Many California schools prohibit the colors. Our school last year discussed, with big protests from me, having uniforms to prevent kids from wearing blue or red. It vividly demonstrates how arbitrary cultural symbols like color are. The meaning of uniforms, in general, however, seem more universal: unity, exclusion, conformity, uniformity, subordination.