Areas in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana have instructed bans against sagging pants that require men and women to wear their pants no lower than 3 inches from their waist or they could receive a fine of $25 for first time offenders and up to $200 for repeat offenders. A punishment of 40 hours of community service could also be issued.
Florida tried this in 2008 and the courts ruled that it was unconstitutional and violated people’s 14th amendment. And Hinds County Mississippi trued it in 2012 and was struck down as well (for damn good reasons). What’s changed??
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) executive director Marjorie Esman stated,
“clothing is a form of expression protected under the Constitution of the United States. To ban a particular clothing style would violate a liberty interest guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US.. Constitution.”
The problem is that the economy is still in Hell, unemployment is burying the country in poverty, prejudice abounds, fascism is real, and the most diplomatic president we’ve had in I don’t know how long is in his last term; so, how are sagging pants such a menace that state legislation needs to “crack down” on it??
The judicial system is already waging war on American civil liberties with their Voting Acts repeal, stop-and-frisk, and affirmative action attacks. Now they want to police fashion. It never ceases to amaze me how conservative thought prevails in such situations (much like the abortion debate) yet that same wing of thought decries “big government” while handing the government power over the simplest factions of our lives. I get that some people feel sagging is disrespectful or just unseemly; however, the issue is not their opinion. The issue is that they are so attached to this opinion that they will support the most extreme of measures in combat against it.
Furthermore, it’s not as if police officers aren’t wasting enough of government money and their time accosting tax paying citizens. Now we’re handing them carte blanche to supervise our every move. This will prove even more dangerous for minorities who already are disproportionately targeted. They might as well legalize racial profiling now and stop faking.
“Niggas should sag down to their socks out there — They trying to get people to not sag, please. Can’t tell people how to wear their fucking clothes. This ain’t the fucking slave days. Fuck that.”– Game
This is the result — as most of our country’s failures over the past 20 years — of the aging Baby Boomers clinging for dear life to their power and positions in an effort to keep the world as they knew it. The younger generation’s (I include myself here) apathy and indifference is the reason they get away with it. We are the first generations to not hold our country accountable for the conditions in which they force us. That will be our undoing.
We cannot be fooled into believing this is about decency. Nor is this about public interest. Maybe it’s about money (Albany, GA made $4,000 off sagging pants fines in 2011). Maybe it’s about it’s about the ethical decline of civility in our country — where rather than teaching and instituting practices of good conduct, we’d rather see people strong armed into conforming to public opinion. Whichever the case what is evident is that we are on a slippery slope away from diplomacy, democracy, and freedom (all the things that once made america great). The day is coming when we will look up and find that we have become what we presume people in other countries are: enslaved to a dictatorship.
I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin,’
An Angry Black Man