Anywho, I’m on the phone when my friend asks, "How do you feel about the passing of a law to arrest kids with SAGGIN’ pants”? I took a long pause and a deep breath because I knew that based upon how I answered, the conversation would rank up there with GOD and POLITICS. So after looking for my inner voice on the subject I answered, “I’m for it. I hope they arrest every last one of them.”
Now it was my turn to get THE response, which I knew shocked my friend. “Why would you say something like that? You know that the law will arrest Black kids disproportionately to White kids?”
Still thinking about how I was going to respond I said, "Yeah. I know. That ain't news. You asked how do I feel about the making of the Law, not the people who are MOST effected." While getting deep into the conversation I began to think about the last time I talked about the effects of SAGGIN' in communities and its perception to others and ourselves. I looked back at this blog posting I made a while back. This is a little bit of it:
This Video was floating around the Internet with the caption "GAY COP GOT A TASTE 4 A FIGGA"
On so many levels, the caption piss'ed me off, but its a daily thing to confront ignorance so I take a deep breath and count to 10 and open the email. Anywho .... I take a look at the Video and here you have a young black boy standing, hands above his head being frisked by a White police officer. So I ask myself, "What makes this Video so popular"? I guess, in my opinion, it is suppose to be HOMO-EROTIC with this officer frisking the kid and in his attempt to see if the person had any drugs or weapons, he touched the kid's penis and asks, "What is this?" Either the kid had a hard-on or it was the fact that his pants were hanging off his behind so low that the officer couldn't do anything within the standards of frisking but touch the kids private parts. If anyone whom have been frisked can tell you, even well dressed, you will get situations of a brushed hand on the privates. So its not unusual.
I know some people may have mixed emotions on this, mostly funny, but I didn't laugh. All I could think was, "This Mofo dressed like a fuckin' Hobo is standing up here getting stripped and treated like a criminal." The whole frisking and touching, and excuses/apologies meant nothing. Its almost embarrassing to watch. To think that its circulating as eye-candy and a Gay thing also bothers me because at first glance it isn't .... unless this kid was stopped at a location frequented by Gay patrons either looking for or selling their bodies for sex? Either way, its hard to come down on the officer when there are so many things WRONG before you even acknowledge the frisking by the police.
Was this a Gay Police Officer trying to "cop" a feel? Does it really matter? Why are we even giving this that much energy when the real question is ... "Where is that boy's father?"
So now that you have a little background on how I feel about the subject, I answered back, "You know, looking at this from the perspective of a parent, an adult Black man fighting daily against negative stereotypes, and blessed with Common Sense, I believe that if the parents don’t feel that having their kids dressed dysfunctionally, the community not stepping up and making a statement that wearing one’s pants down to their knees is not socially acceptable and the only explanation for dressing this way is because its Hip-Hip, then I can see how Moral Law unenforced naturally evolves into a Social Law."
Of course we went back and forth with the Constitution and Freedom of Expression and I retorted back that Freedom of Expression covers those areas or Protests, Verbal and Written Speech, Art, and Religion. Since dress can be considered under personal expression, it should not be allowed so far as it fringes upon the common society standard or moral behavior UNLESS it is for the purpose to OFFEND AS A MEANS OF PROTEST. Like burning BRAS, burning FLAGS , Re-enactments or growing your HAIR long. In these cases, your have a need to express and Challenge the status quo and with the ending of the protest of expression, you move freedoms forward by challenging an UNJUST LAW. Prior to the new community laws being passed, there was no LAW existing that banned SAGGIN.
Since the NO ONE COMES BETWEEN ME AND MY CALVIN ads in the 1990’s, societies have allowed for the freedom to show the BRAND NAME of one’s underwear. The issue is, those labels now come accompanied with the totality of one’s ASS and thighs and from the front, “a little NECK”. (For those unaware of the term “a little neck”, it means the showing of the top of the groan or shaft of the penis. This is equivalent to a Woman showing cleavage in a low cut blouse or dress.)
In my many interviews with youth on the “whys” for SAGGIN I only get the general responses, “I like the way I look”, “I’m down with the Hip-Hop Nation”, “This is how my Boys roll” and my favorite, “This is how you are suppose to wear them.” That last response is also highly JUSTIFIED by the parents since they seemed to think they would be condemned or punished for suggesting to their children that wearing pants properly is NORMAL. Since the Fellahs are wearing the boxers, the Sistahs going SAGGIN substitute the THONG making the imagery (much like the Prison Culture of its origin) of EASY ACCESS a visual reality.
So my friend and I were going back and forth about Women wearing Sports Bras in public and I responded that they were also banded until WOMEN PROTESTED. Now a woman can walk up and down the street all day with MASHED BOBBIES. I brought up the fact that I personally would not have a problem with women walking down the street TOPLESS but that won’t happen. In a PROTEST women can go topless in designated areas so now the BREAST PATROL hang out down on the beaches of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Again, there was a PROTEST to make that happen. There was the fad of wearing underwear over the clothes pushed upon susceptible suburban girls by Madonna. That cam and done. Recall MC Hammer Pants? The Biker-Short that hijacked Men’s Testicles and displayed them for the World to see. As much as I liked those days (I got plenty of HOOKUPS back then), that came and left like all FADS but the SAGGIN stayed. Not only did it stay, it got more reveling and more crass. So if SAGGIN isn’t a fad, as everyone believes, then it has to be a PROTEST. And if SAGGIN is part of some GRAND PROTEST, what is it. Do the kids even know? As an OLD FART I may not know but I do care. I am tired of Black kids in any generation dressing like CLOWNS. There was a time when Black dress was that to be admired but like all things Urban, it has been dumbed down and turned into spectacle or comical. There was a time Urban Gear had Black folk dressing like futuristic Space-walkers with wet hair (the Gerri-Curl), then we evolved into walking rainbows in circulation-cutting attire, then on to walking clowns in Bold Stripes and Poka-dots. For a brief moment we were wearing clothes BACKWARDS (Remember KrisKross). Once fashion became more militant in dress, almost OVERNIGHT the Po' Dirty Boy and Ex-Con look became standard and stayed. Now you have the kids holding up their pants in order to walk across the street ignoing belts and belt loops to keep them up. As a mental game, I try to guess how many times a SAGGER pulls up their pants between blocks. My best guess was 18 times (remember New York City has long blocks). I guess the the real question for me with urban fashion is, WHAT'S NEXT? So does society. If you take the evolution of SAGGIN, the next stage is either No Underwear and pants down to the knees or No Pants and only wearing long designer underwear. "WAIT, aren't the kids wearing pajama bottoms and long white t-shirts already?"
So if locking up a few thousand kids (BLACK kids because we all know that they will be arrested disproportionately to WHITES) then maybe, JUST MAYBE the PROTESTING will begin to define the REASONS why SAGGIN exists and why the FAD stayed longer than any other in America. Just Maybe we will finally make the argument clear for not only the community BUT the kids walking around like SHEEP …… my bad PENGUINS.