|To Sag or Not to Sag: Which Arguments Hold Up?|
Some call it an epidemic. Others call it a freedom of expression. Some just don't care. Wearing sagging pants has become the norm for many young African American men, whichever side of the issue they take.
Sagging, as defined by Wikipedia, is "a fashion trend for wearing pants below the waist to expose one's boxers, practiced by males." Sagging has been linked to prisons, where some inmates were not given a belt to hold up their pants.
Walking around Grambling State University's campus today, one can almost instantly see a male student wearing sagging pants.
One freshman is content with his style of dress, which includes sagging.
"I don't like my shorts above my knees," said Justin Woodard.
The reaction to the sagging pants fashion is mixed.
"It's a freedom of dress," said Kimberly Monroe, a Grambling State senior. "You should be able to wear what you want to wear."
Tiffany Wells, however, disagrees — somewhat.
"It's cute to a certain extent," the junior said. "If it's too low where I can see your underwear, then that's not attractive. I like more of the Kanye West type."
One freshman doesn't like the style at all.
"I think it's sloppy and trifling," Jiordelysah Lewis said. "It's a bad image of our black men."
However, some women say they will consider dating a man whose pants sag.
"I don't judge people on how they dress," Monroe said. "I judge people on their character. Who is to say that person may not be the next president?"
Wells said she would date someone who sags, but she still has a standard that they must follow.
"If I can see his underwear, no," she said. "I'd at least have him to pull it up."
One faculty member has admitted that he hates sagging.
"I'm 100 percent on the other side," said Tegitra "T.K." Thomas, head coach of the Grambling State golf teams. "I don't like it at all. I think Grambling would be a better institution if we require more out of our students. When I see that, I don't see higher learning."
Audrey Warren, adviser to the Student Government Association, also has seen sagging pants and does not like them.
"It's crazy," Warren said. "It's disgusting. Nobody wants to see that."
Many cities don't want to see them, either. More city governments are passing laws against "sagging." Atlanta Councilman C.T. Martin recently proposed an ordinance that outlaws "exposed boxer shorts, skivvies, thongs, and bra straps."
The proposal has received both negative and positive responses. One of the negative ones came from hip-hop artist Young Joc.
"That's [crazy]," Joc told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That's attacking people's freedom of expression. . . . This is targeting a certain group: young black males."
Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, agrees.
"This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling," said Seagraves, who is white.
One city already has such an ordinance. In Mansfield, La., about 100 miles from Grambling, offenders can be fined $150 plus court fees or subjected to up to 15 days in jail. The law was passed unanimously.
The town council in Delcambre, La., about 210 miles south of Grambling, passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. A similar law in Shreveport, La., went into effect on Sept. 13.
There, the first offense, if convicted, results in a maximum fine of $100 plus up to one eight-hour day of picking up trash or other court-approved community service, according to the Shreveport Times. The penalty goes up to $150 for a second-offense conviction plus up to two eight-hour days of picking up trash or community service. Convictions on third and subsequent offenses would result in a fine of up to $250 plus up to four eight-hour days picking up trash or community service, the paper said.
While the debate about whether these laws will hold up in court rages on, Grambling students have already formed their opinions.
"Some people sag because their pants are too short or they are trying to fit in," said Terrion Rogers, a senior. "When you sag, it's disrespectful to you and to others around you."
Posted Oct. 1, 2007
Some People Really Do Judge the Book by Its Cover
When I was young, in high school, I saw boys around school sagging their pants. I would think nothing of it because it just seemed like the normal thing that boys would do.
However, as you become more mature, you not only raise the standards for yourself, you also raise them for the people around you, as well as your ideal mate.
When two people decide to date, they are not only representing themselves, but their partners.
According to the People's Media Co., sagging pants are not a hip- hop trend, but rather a look that started in prison. Its Web site states, "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 [indicate] to other men that he is homosexual."
Although the First Amendment gives us the right to freely express ourselves, I believe that when your freedom disturbs another person's, no longer is it just about you and your rights. It is about the people around you.
Grills, sagging pants and earrings in both ears might be the latest style today, but society believes that men should live up to certain expectations.
If these same men will someday be the heads of households and want to be respected, they should carry themselves in a respectful manner.
It's the same as if you had a male professor who came in the classroom with his pants sagging, or a female faculty member with a short skirt or top that was too revealing.
Would you respect him or her as a teacher? Probably not. It's all about how you carry yourself.
People say you should not judge a book by its cover. But that does not stop people from doing so.
Posted Oct. 1, 2007
Everyone Has the Right to Sag, but Don't Take It Lightly
Sometimes I wonder how can people let their "pants sag down to the floor," as Ma$e once said in "What You Want."
Will sagging ever stop? I highly doubt it, even though some cities are banning the right to sag.
Most cities don't realize that there are different levels of sagging.
In the first and most acceptable form, the pants are aligned right with the elastic of one's underwear. Most of the time, you can't tell that the person is sagging, but that's the point of having them aligned just right.
The other forms normally show part or all of the buttocks or undergarments covering the buttocks. These are the ones that are being outlawed. As one faculty member told me, "I don't want to see all that while I'm eating!"
I can't blame her. I wouldn't, either. Some people actually believe you can't smell it. I'm here to tell you, women can. Women can pick up a faint scent quickly.
What has created this sagging era? The first thing many people say is hip-hop, which has now become the No. 1 excuse for everything. I'm surprised I haven't heard someone say that hip-hop causes cancer.
Sagging has been traced to prisons. Basically, prisoners let their pants sag since they didn't have or weren't supplied with belts. Once they were released, they continued to let their pants sag, and the look caught on. Thus, nearly every 'hood, community and school has someone who sags.
I'm completely against sagging. I've tried it and it didn't work. I felt uncomfortable as a man of higher learning letting my pants sag as if I were a gangster or a thug. I'm neither, so I'll keep my pants pulled up.
I would recommend that anyone who expects to get a job at a corporate office to stop sagging. Even though you might do it around your homies and so on, sagging can become "addictive." You'll be sagging into a job interview and not know it because your brain is programmed to think that it's the norm.
But to each his or her own. If you want to sag, do so.
But beware: Cities are watching you now, and they don't take sagging lightly.
Posted Oct. 1, 2007
|Posted Sep. 30, 2007|
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