Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saggy Pants? Really?

The Jackson City Council last night, by a vote of 4-2, defeated an ordinance that would have made it against the law to wear pants in what can be described as a sagging fashion. Councilmen Kenneth Stokes and Frank Bluntson were the only ones to vote in the affirmative.

I am glad it failed, but I understand the concern, and to be honest, I am still curious as to why this fashion trend is acceptable to young black men. As with most of the fashion trends in the urban community these days, this style of saggy pants started in our prisons. Male prisoners, to show that they are receptive to sexual relations with another man, sag their pants, similar to the subtle custom of leaving the door open at the end of a date.

When I mention that to young men, they say they know that but they still wear this style. It is a sign of rebellion that all of us go through in our adolescence. Most of the young men that wear this style are not hoodlums or thugs, but that does not make it an acceptable practice. In my amateur fashion opinion, it looks sloppy and unattractive. If I had a daughter, no one she dated would wear their pants that way. I would not want my future son-in-law to be a wannabe thug or a bad dresser.

However, bad taste should not be regulated by the Jackson Police Department. As stated by one of the council members, they have enough on their plate just getting a handle on the most serious crimes, like the escalation in violence and burglaries. Targeting a certain element of the community because they have no fashion sense is not worthy of public resources, not to mention it is unconstitutional.

When young men dressed sharp in the 1950s and 1960s, they were still dealing drugs, running numbers and killing each other. The style is not the issue, it is the substance of crime. We must concentrate on taking as many drugs as we can off the street. We must concentrate on improving police work to secure solid convictions. We must concentrate on providing adequate funding to make sure that our crime lab looks more like "CSI" rather than "Mayberry RFD".

I have been around enough teenagers to know that eventually this fad will go away. We must put our focus in making sure that crime in our communities will fade away as well, in a substantive way.