Institutionalized Attire – May 2015

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For the month of May 2015, Ethan Scott Barnett wore a wool suit for the entire 31 days to protest the victims of police brutality and those that have been wrongly incarcerated. This project was specifically conceived with Tamir RiceKalief Browder, and Michael Brown.

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The suit was used to create a dialogue about race relations within the United States, specifically the criminalization of the black male body. Black people are stereotyped to be savages, scary or undereducated and in the event that one has become the exception, it is often noticed that non-black people will compliment them on their ability to “articulate themselves or dress well”. In this situation, I When people would inquire or compliment me on my attire I would steer the conversation towards the effects of Institutionalized racism on minority cultures and how thousands of police departments across the United States are in need of reform “articulate themselves or dress well”.

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In this situation, I When people would inquire or compliment me on my attire I would steer the conversation towards the effects of Institutionalized racism on minority cultures and how thousands of police departments across the United States are in need of reform.

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Throughout the month I slowly deconstructed the suit, for the first few weeks the suit was worn with the traditional shirt, shoes, and tie – succumbing to the stereotypical restrictions that come with being civilized. As the month continued I broke down the suit, wearing it with a t-shirt and sneakers. Just as one would attempt to become acclimated to a prison cell or a family would try to adjust after losing a loved one.

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With the project, I attempt to pay homage to those like Kalief BrowderTyisha Miller, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and the other million people who have been lost in the fight for equality.

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Photos by Julian Louis

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