The Sagging Problem

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.

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Published in: on August 25, 2006 at 8:07 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Clothing should fit properly. These individuals wearing there clothes below their waist is totally unacceptable. As for the issue regarding long hair, when I graduated in 1978 from high school, I had shoulder length hair. Who would believe it now that I keep my hair cut to a #1 taper now.
    Just the same, other issues need to be resolved besides being critical of ones attire. However, shouldn’t we dress for success instead of looking like some vagrant that just fell off the turnip truck?

  2. Well Kent, I feel as though I should weigh in on this one regarding the ‘baggin & saggin’ pants. With each generation, youth always try to establish an identity and to grownups it borders on the ridiculous. I understand Mr. Ron Price and his concern even though it might be political. I think it should rest with the parents as they have a responsibility of being parents and and perhaps setting guidelines for their children. I only wish these same students would apply a little more common sense and devote more time to their studies instead of this fashion bug that seems to have bitten them. Well, I for one do not like seeing dirty underwear and half of someones’ bottom. I remember the age of ‘moonin’ and haven’t figured that one out yet so I guess I am just behind the times. Just my two cents.

  3. Yep… We’re very much on the same sheet of music here, Nancy. But you and I can “should this” and “should that” all we want. If parents can’t stop it, passing an uninforcible city ordinance won’t make a bit of difference either. Why, our limited numbers of police can’t even enforce the speed limits on Dallas area highways.

  4. I can’t stand the saggy britches, especially when, to keep them from falling to the ground, these young men look like they are, I don’t quite know how to say this politely, but it always looks like they are grabbing at themselves — in public — for all the world to see. I do think it’s up to the parents not the government to deal with this issue. I’m still trying to figure out how these kids can even walk with their belts down around their knee caps!

  5. Oh, come on! Who really cares about someone else showing thier drawers to the world? Does it really effect you at all? I think we are so busy with putting our fears and understanding of society’s norms in behavior on each other that we forget how rediculous it is to want that!
    How beautiful our world is, made up of different exotic creatures such as ourselves! How boring it would be if each of us looked the same! ie; uniforms. Rediculous!!
    I say leave each to his/her own even if faced with yes, nudity or “oh no”, public display of affection. Unless something is a danger to another. ie;public smoking.
    Come on, let’s get truly serious here on the important things like our health and respect for one another, and simply laugh at the rest. : )

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