Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Neckboneology: Do our young daughters deserve better than looking at men's bottoms?

By Kenneth Lumpkin

There are very few issues I agree with James Kaplan, alderman of the 4th District. However, when it comes to young males wearing sagging pants, I have to agree that it is in bad taste and does not give respect to women or older adults, as he recently suggested to me.

I remember when the Rev. Tommie Knuckle ran for alderman some years back. He said one of the first things he would try to do if he was elected would be to create a law to ban sagging pants in Racine.

You may think, “It could never happen!” Don’t be so fast to discard the idea.

In Flint, Mich., Police Chief David Dicks is on the lookout for saggers.

(It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add 12 new cops in Racine to enforce a new sagging law. Just kidding.)

After taking over the department last month on an interim basis, Dicks announced his officers would start arresting people wearing saggy pants that expose skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms.

“Some people call it a fad,” Dicks told the Free Press recently while patrolling the streets of Flint. “But I believe it’s a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years.”

I’m sure other police chiefs around the country are watching Dicks’ decision carefully. Here’s how he explained the issue to his officers: The crime is disorderly conduct or indecent exposure, which could result in jail time and a $500 fine for offenders.
The difference between the crimes is how much skin is showing. If there’s skin, it’s indecent exposure. If it’s underwear, it’s disorderly conduct.

The American Civil Liberties Union is checking things out, but this seems reasonable to me. If young men are going to walk around flashing us in public, they should be subject to fines. Jail may be a bit extreme, but someone needs to arrest this fad.
By now I’m probably upsetting young readers or people who feel like I’m targeting African-American fashion. But look at the picture above, or just walk around Racine. It’s not just black people who are wearing their pants low these days. It’s young men of all races who feel the need to expose themselves.

I come from a time when you dressed nice for your elders and earned respect with your appearance. What’s going on today with our youthes? Why are we letting them dress this way?

Let’s put that one to our MTV culture that’s telling kids that we want to know whether they’re wearing boxers or briefs. We don’t want to know. We don’t care. And we don’t think sagging pants means anything more than lazy, dreary fashion.

If you read about this online, you come across kids defending sagging by saying that adults are trying to control how they dress and express themselves. Look, if you’re in a play at the Racine Theatre Guild and your character is slob who his belt, then it would make sense to wear your pants low. But in public, try expressing yourself with words, or even better, helping someone out.

Of course, this whole column just encourages kids to keep on doing what they’re doing. The whole point of sagging is to get mom and dad to roll their eyes. So don’t think about your parents. Think about grandma and grandpa, your minister, your younger sister, your boss, your future family ... even your future self. Do you really want to look back and see yourself hanging out all over the place?

Or how about this ... did it ever occur to you that most people find your saggy pants ugly? Probably not, because you’re wrapped up being cool. So take a minute, just a minute, and think about what other people think of your saggy pants. It’s not pretty.

Young men, and even young men, respect yourself and buy clothes that fit. You’d be amazed at the change it’d bring to your life. If you don’t start soon, more and more people are going to be just fine with the police stepping in and correcting the situation for all of us.


souvari said...
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Gail's Tails said...

Yes, let's criminalize sagging pants so the police have yet another reason to arrest the four young guys peacefully talking on the corner.

Then we can lock them up with violent criminals so they can learn their lesson.

It solves both the crime problem and moral deterioration.

And that prison-industrial complex? Hogwash!

Seriously, I find the sagging pants thing personally unattractive. That said, it is their right of artistic expression and I respect that right. Let's not legislate that away.

Next we'll be writing laws against middle-aged white men wearing out-of-style clothing. Oh, wait. They are not on 'the list.'

Randolph said...

It's more than a fashion fad. It's reminiscent of people in jail, without belts. I'm not suggesting that the police start arresting people for fashion, but let's step up and away from the "convict labor system" of the South, and the more modern system of locking away so many young black men everywhere. Reject the prison culture. Don't let the white majority get its way.

kkdither said...

Oh come on... As much as I dislike the sagging pants fashion, that is what it is, made popular by rap musicians. They aren't exposing themselves any more than other fads and fashions.

Have you forgotten about the other fashions that are equally disturbing and lewd? What about the young girls wearing tight, short, low cut tops so that their upper half leaves nothing to the imagination? What about the low slung jeans that readily allow the thongs of 16-17 year old girls to show above the top? Then, let's mention the piercing and mutilation of body parts. Remember the mohawk hairstyle that was once so horrifying? What about the emo makeup and black clothing? Gee, I'm old enough to remember wearing mini skirts which were probably distracting as well.

Maybe we should look more closely why some are prepared to arrest these young people who are expressing "anti-social" behavior when it has happened all along in the past?

Anonymous said...

If the pants and shorts hang down low enough, there may be probable cause to detain the person for a "crack" offense.