Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pull your pants up!! (posted by anon)

Several years ago the National Basketball Association implemented an extremely unpopular dress code, and you did not have to be a rocket scientist to know that the target was an African American basketball player. Understandably, school districts, given wide latitude by the courts, have also implemented more restrictive dress codes. Now it appears that communities across the country have decided to get in on the action by passing laws against wearing sagging pants in public. Young black males wear sagging pants style, although a few white males wear sagging pants. This style, popularized in the early 1990s by hip-hop artists, has become extremely popular across the United States. In Delcambre, Louisiana, a town of 80 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, wearing your pants in this manner carries a fine of as much as $500 or up to a six-month jail sentence.  Another town, Mansfield, fines offenders up to $150 and 15 days in the slammer. According to the esteemed mayor, “this new law will set a good civic image.” The success in passing these dress codes has inspired other communities to follow suit. Efforts to outlaw sagging in Virginia and statewide in Louisiana in 2004 failed, usually when opponents invoked a right to self-expression. But the latest legislative efforts have taken a different tack, drawing on indecency laws, and their success has inspired other lawmakers. With hip-hop under serious attack from the song lyric police, the time is ripe to make a frontal attack on sagging pants. Next, they may go after the over-sized t-shirts.
For example, in the West Ward of Trenton, New Jersey, Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is "drafting an ordinance to fine or enforce community service in response to what she sees as the problem of exposing private parts in public. 'It's a fad like hot pants; however, I think it crosses the line when a person shows their backside,' Lartigue said. 'You can't legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts.'" While she is being general here, you can bet that sagging pants will be included in this ordinance. From my perspective, sagging pants is nothing but a metaphor for the hip-hop lifestyle. Critics of this lifestyle view sagging pants as a badge of delinquency along with its distinctive thug walk and disrespect for authority, whatever this means. Sagging began in American prisons, where over-sized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and the use of belts as weapons. The style spread by way of rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world. Sagging pants are an easy and convenient symbol of the supposed dereliction and menace of young blacks. While this issue is usually viewed in the context of racism against young African American males, blacks are also split over this issue. It was African American councilpersons in Shreveport, Mansfield and the other small towns who proposed the sagging pants laws. America’s most famous dad, Bill Cosby spoke for many blacks when he criticized sagging pants and other supposedly “ghetto” practices. While he later backed off much of his criticism, many blacks agreed with him.  Cosby and other older African Americans are over-reacting to the cultural significance of sagging pants. Clothing, body piercing, etc is nothing more than youthful rebellion. Most young people, except the Willie Nelson types, will eventually grow out of it, evidenced by the lack of sagging pants worn by African American male college students. My advice is to just roll with it. Like most fads, it will pass just like bell-bottom pants, hot pants, zoot suits, pointed toe shoes, platform shoes, and Mao jackets. Sagging laws are certainly not the answer.  Besides, these kinds of laws reinforce negative images of young African American males and will do more to swell the prison population than reduce it. These laws confirm for many that the problems of poor blacks are self-made and insoluble. Many employers admit that they won't hire young blacks because they believe they are lazier, more crime prone, and educationally deficient. Many politicians, even without the excuse of ballooning state and federal budget deficits and cutbacks, mightily resist efforts to increase spending on job, health, and education programs for the poor. Finally, sagging laws will expose these communities to expensive litigation. The American Civil Liberties Union has been steadfast in its opposition to dress restrictions. Debbie Seagraves, the executive director of the group in Georgia, said, "I don't see any way that something constitutional could be crafted when the intention is to single out and label one style of dress that originated with the black youth culture as an unacceptable form of expression." So leave it alone!

Wearing over sized (XXX shirts) can get you shot and killed, as cops, while apprehending g a young male, usually black, are not able to see the pockets clearly.  So, while there are no laws yet against wearing sagging pants in Wisconsin yet. We should dress appropriately! I am starting to see college students, even females, wearing sagging sweat pants. So whats with this?


  1. chill out. who cares what people are wearing. we are not telling you how to dress. why is it so important that we have to conform to your dress code. as long as we have clothes on that should be good enough for you. or do you want us to look alike. do you want us all to wear uniforms. are you trying to rob us of our differences. i can't believe your having the shits over pants.

  2. Depends on the nature of the job. You have to dress appropriately for certain kinds of jibs. Certain jobs will require formal dress, no baggy pants.

  3. To Anon 7:11,
    Why DON'T we all wear uniforms?????
    Maybe uniforms would abolish all those preconceptions we tend have about people based on their clothing, which cause problems such as this.
    And what is this about "are you trying to rob us of our differences"?
    While it's true that uniforms would get rid of our external differences, is it not also true that all of the popular trends and fads themselves currently do that anyway? Not to mention, we’re talking about external differences, which do not make up our true differences as human beings, true differences which can only reside in the human itself, and not in the style of dress.
    Have you ever wanted to be so different that you decided to follow the clothing style of someone else, and would it make any sense if you did?
    I mean, face it, there are hoards of people who dress so alike it's scary! But they claim to be expressing themselves, when in reality, they are labeling themselves, automatically connecting themselves with a certain group, under certain generalizations, in front of the eyes of others.
    There's no denying that if a herd of clowns emerged in society wearing green pleather pants, and I myself started wearing green pleather pants, people would think I admire the clowns in some way, or identify with them, or live (or desire to live) a lifestyle similar to that of the clowns. Or maybe I want to be a clown. However, I might also happen to just really like green pleather pants because I happen to think they make me look good and are comfortable (just like young people might just really like wearing pants that are constantly falling down, showing their asses in public for the same reasons).
    Regardless, it's hard not to have preconceptions of people based on the way they dress.
    When people feel they can identify with a certain group (or when they want to be accepted by a certain group), they choose to dress like that same group...which implies that they also follow (or desire to follow) a lifestyle similar to that of the individuals who make up their chosen group. And this explains how the preconceptions form.
    My opinion is that these young people really just need to take the time to dress according to their own identity, rather than someone else's.
    Sounds like.... baaaaaa!!!!!

  4. To Anon 6:13, you want to claim uniqueness for your inside "self," but if we are all products of society, how can you claim that? If you were born in China with the same argument about sagging pants given to you, you would have responded quite differently. Yet being that you are so into your individual identity, it exposes your Americanism. So when you say, "they are labeling themselves, automatically connecting themselves with a certain group, under certain generalizations, in front of the eyes of others," how are you not doing the same? How are you not a product of the American society?

    Could it be that the sounds you are hearing are your own....baaaaaas?

  5. As you grow up you can rebel against society, and the easy harmless way to do this is with clothes and body art, but if you decide to go into the professional world you will have to conform. Doctors have to wear white coats, not a bat man cap. Lawyers in court must wear suits, not hot pants. Now you can be unique but you had better be rich. Hugh Hefner wears nothing but pajamas. Michael Jackson clothes were specially made by Versace. Lady Gaga wears her own special brand of clothes. Steve Jobs wears nothing but jeans and black T-shirt, but this is the image of Apple. Johnny Cash wore nothing but black clothes. These are special cases! Most of us will have to conform to some kind of social dress code whether we like it or not.

  6. Xavier, I honestly do not quite understand your argument.....
    Of course we are all products of society... I happen to have been raised in a society in which I was given the opportunity to learn about how society actually forms individuals.
    All I'm saying is that when people attach themselves to certain groups through the clothing they wear, they are automatically putting themselves up for judgment, and literally connecting themselves with that group.
    Since I happen to think that clothes never define who I am, I rarely follow any one particular style, however, I must choose from the options I'm presented with and wear whatever I find to be the most accessible, comfortable, presentable, and affordable (unless I have the time and equipment necessary to make my own clothes, of course).
    Clearly, I am inevitably a product of the American society... however, I'm lucky enough that within this American society, I've been given the opportunity to go to Whitewater, where I was given the opportunity to take classes in which I was then given the lessons and insights necessary to form a critical assessment of who I am, and how the society I am in actually has shaped who I am, thus, I feel that perhaps in China, I may have not been exposed to such things, making your statement correct. Anyway, I have no idea if I have really addressed whatever problem it was that you had with what I said earlier, but I can tell you those "baaaaas" are not coming from me. If a group of young people want to wear sagging pants because they want to imitate their hip-hop idols or conform to whatever group of other young people they feel they want to associate/identify with, then so be it. As long as they realize what image they are presenting by doing such, and as long as they realize that that image is not always the most desired among others in society based on the group of people (i.e. prison inmates and hip-hop artists) it is generally associated with.

  7. Everyone in some form or fashion makes peace with society and most conform. At UWW and most colleges you can wear a sack if you like, but unless you obtain a job or occupation that allows self expression you will conform, and better still, you will force a dress code on your childen when and if you have some.

  8. Conformity isn't always bad, it allows us to be accepted. I think that each of us has personal choice whether to conform or not and if it will be good for us. Conformity has to do with personal gain. If there wasn't a certain gain in conformining then people wouldn't conform at all. Honestly, I don't care what people decide to wear, but if you wear something kind of funny you should be aware that there's always someone out there that will judge. Sometimes clothing gives off a certain first impression too.
    -A girl with an opinion- (Danni)