It’s unfair, but for young folks—black and brown men in particular—in a lot of professional and social contexts, their window for making impressions is narrow. They can be hardworking and smart, but then still quickly be sized up based on how firmly they shake hands, whether they taste their food first before adding salt to it, how confidently they make conversation in different surroundings and, yes, if they look like they’re comfortable wearing a tie.
Better to learn that in high school, I think, than after getting turned down for a job.
David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.