Another mother says it’s time we send a message to young people that the way they dress is indecent and shows a lack of respect for others.
While knocking on doors recently to be elected to the Racine County Board, hundreds who greeted me at the door said that next to young people not having a job available to them, they need to pay attention to how they dress. “How can they get a job dressing the way they do,” said one elderly lady, pointing to a young man walking down the street with his jean lowered below his buttocks and his underwear showing.
Sagging pants was never meant to be fashionable. Prisoners wear their pants this low because belts are a popular way to commit suicide by hanging oneself, to hang others, or to use as a weapon in fights. Prisoners are also not allowed to have shoestrings for the same reasons. But there is an even more obvious reason why pants are sagging in prison. If the pants are below a man's bottom, it is to introduce to other men that he is a homosexual. As Eazy E once said about women in short skirts, "For easy access, baby."
A Racine Unified School teacher said that she was embarrassed and expelled a student from her classroom when his genitals were exposed because he was sagging.
So bewilder, Dee Weather, once handed out over 200 free belts to teens walking around sagging on the grounds of the Juneteenth celebration.
Donnie Snow, who occasionally referees basketball games, said it was humorous to him to watch one player dribble a basketball down the court with one hand, while holding up his paints with the other.
Yolanda James, a local pastor, and a mother of a 16-year-old son says that sagging should be “sag appropriate.” “When you are at the club, with your friends, or at your home, sag,” she suggests. “But when you are going out in public and you need to represent yourself, you should dress appropriately,” she explained.
The so-called fashion statement has gone beyond a trendy look, to a show of defiance!
In the next few weeks, I will be introducing legislation to end sagging on county property. This I realize is a small step, but it will send a message that a large segment of the community is against the practice.
My approach to the law is simple. We’re talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear is apparently visible in public. The law that I propose addresses the indecent issue, and not the style of clothing or the brand.
This is nothing new. In one city, supporters of an ordinance outlawing “sagging pants” gathered 5,000 signatures last March to put a proposed ban to a vote. It passed.
“The ordinance was overwhelmingly passed by the citizens,” said Francis Muhammad, a Nation of Islam student study group leader in nearby West Palm Beach.
In Flint, Mich., Chief of Police David Dicks had a similar negative sentiment about the low pants fashion statement. He announced in June that his officers would start arresting people wearing sagging pants that expose “skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms,” according to media reports.
Chief Dicks, 41, offered an interpretation of the laws: Pants pulled completely below the buttocks with underwear showing is considered as disorderly conduct; saggy pants with skin of the buttocks showing is indecent exposure, and saggy pants, not completely below the buttocks with underwear exposed would merit a warning.
Several places have enacted baggy pants bans including localities in Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and Illinois. Penalties range from fines or warnings to jail time. Other communities are considering sagging pants bans. Bans have been rejected in Natchitoches, La.; Stratford, Conn.; and Pine Bluff, Ark.
We must begin to be a beacon of hope to our young people. This generation does not yet understand that even though they may be a great person, they will disqualify themselves from many opportunities because society will instantly judge them by the way they are dressed. Although we cannot legislate morality, we can take a stand as a community against practices that will compromise the integrity of our young people. Together, we can raise the standard and cause our youth to have more respect for themselves and others.