It has become a real issue here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, especially in our public schools. More and more guys, especially African American guys, have adopted the “sagg’n ‘n bagg’n” style and are defiantly resisting school administrators’ attempts to ban the practice. So we talked about it today in my World Geography class. Having to do with the evolution of culture, ethnic identity, and juvenile defiance in the face of mounting adult frustration, it was a valid topic for discussion and debate. But I had no idea how divided our young people are on the rightness and wrongness of what I consider to be a petty thing, a thing not unlike the long hair and rock ‘n roll issues of my own teen era. I guess I was expecting more consensus and agreement among the youth. There was some, but only within individual socio-ethnic groups.
Dallas School Board member, Ron Price, who is rumored to be seeking a city council seat himself, has appeared before the Dallas City Council to ask them for an ordinance that would prohibit pants that hang well below the waist. Price said, “To me, it’s disrespectful and dishonorable to women for men to walk around with their bottoms showing.” Several council members are backing the proposal. But Jesus Toscano, Assistant City Attorney, said he was unsure of the legality of such an ordinance and would have to research it. See the article in the Dallas Morning News.
When asked about the issue, Texas ACLU Director Lisa Graybill said, “Is it a civil liberties issue? I don’t know. It’s a silly issue, I know that. Why can’t people just look away?”
I have to agree with Ms. Graybill. As offensive as the practice is to me personally and to my wife, these kids are not really exposing themselves. They’re just making the same kind of in-your-face, independence statement that I made when, as a teenager, I wore my hair in my face and almost down to my shoulders. My mother had the right idea about how to deal with it. She told me she thought it was cute. Then, when I started wearing my shirt unbuttoned below the breast bone, ala Elvis Presley, she laughed about it. After several iterations of this, I finally had to give up and find something more worthy upon which to establish my identity.
So, for what it’s worth, here’s my position on this: Kids are always going to push the line and break the rules wherever they can, especially the rules that don’t make any sense to them. It’s been the bane of every adult generation since Aristotle tried to mold Athenian youth of his time into their parents’ image. And the more we make an issue of things like this, the more our kids are going to defy us. Don’t we all become our parents soon enough anyway? So, chill out Mr. Price. Lets get real, and let’s let the city council focus on solving the real issues of our times — real crime, real poverty, real illness, real divisiveness.
By this, I do not mean to imply that school dress code policies should be relaxed in anyway. In fact, I am a strong advocate for school uniforms, which would largely obviate such issues as this at school. But I do not believe that a city ordinance to address this issue would be enforceable. So, if passed, it would only make matters worse.
To post a comment, click on the tiny COMMENTS word below.