Saturday, September 11, 2010

Newsy: Saggy Pants Ban Targeting Black Men?

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The mayor of Dublin, Georgia, USA, recently signed into law a ban on saggy pants. Opponents say the new law directly targets the city’s African American males.

MAYOR PHIL BEST: “We'll gain maybe a little more mutual respect for each other and realize that everybody don’t want to see your underwear.” (HLN)

That’s Phil Best, the mayor of Dublin, Georgia -- who recently signed into law a ban on saggy pants. Best says the ban is in response to community complaints about indecent exposure, but opponents say the new law directly targets the city’s African American males.

According to the new law, pants or skirts can’t be more than three inches below the top of the hips.

Portland’s KATU features a community activist who says it’s obvious the city is going after black men: “If they are the ones wearing the saggy baggy pants. They're the only ones wearing the saggy baggy pants.”

But BV Black Spin’s Paul Shepard says that might not necessarily be the case: “Well, a quick visit to just about any mall will tell you that young white males model just about everything they see from their black counterparts, including saggin'. So it's up to the community to make sure that young black boys aren't the only ones getting pinched for this infraction.”

In a segment on Atlanta’s NBC-affiliate WXIA, an anchor says making a law against saggy pants might be a little extreme -- but in the end it makes sense: “I have to agree, one does look rather foolish with their low slung baggy pants though I admit I'm on the fence about a law saying how people should dress. On the other hand, though, I can't think of one good reason why people should have to see your underwear when you're out in public. True, there could be some problems with Dublin's ordinance. A pathway to profiling perhaps or local government overstepping its boundaries perhaps. ... Call me old school, but pull up your pants for crying out loud.”

But on All Voices, Veronica Roberts says every generation has its fads. She writes - though saggy pants might be considered “unslightly,” parents should be careful what they wish for: “... police in Dublin, Georgia, are in charge of enforcing this law. ... Are police going to ... hang out by schools with tape measure in hand, and randomly pull over your kids to enforce this 3 inches sagging rule? ... Shouldn't our children's attire be our responsibility? ... the price might just be too high to appease our sensibilities.”

Riviera Beach, Florida passed a similar ban in 2008, but it was later deemed unconstitutional.

Writer: Christina Hartman


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