Archive for August, 2008

Pants and Police

August 28th, 2008

The City of Flint Police has declared that young men whose pants are hanging off their behinds will be ticketed. This is a strange enforcement, especially in these lean budget days for city government. Crime is challenging the once boom town, so it is understandable that crime fighting needs close governance. The conflict of the drooping pants as an iconic sign of hip hop culture is not new. This style was born in the prisons of America and has evolved despite the disgust of traditional America. I must admit that I thought it was a fad that would fade. I was so wrong, yet, it hardly merits wasting police personnel in any attempt to control this social tribulation.

Hip Hop culture is something that most adults know little about. It is misguided at best to write tickets for sagging pants. It is annoying to see young people wearing their pants down below their buttocks. The fact is wearing your pants in that fashion puts a great limitation on its wearers life. You cant get most jobs with that style, can’t really go too far with your underwear showing. While the Flint police department may mean well, it is another mistaken reactionary means to a problem not understood. Truth be known, this style came not only out of prisons, but gain its notoriety first in the community of African-American centers.

Today, after more than twenty something years, hip hop sagging pants is global. Many youth around the world are into hip hop, sagging is the official uniformity of hip hop youth. It might be productive if youth received jobs with the restriction of proper attire. There are better solutions than giving tickets in a distressed community for a clothing style. This puts youth and police into a polarized situation. Parents, families, faith-based groups, youth workers, and educators along with law enforcement could join young people in some solution that would not be punitive to underscore that there is a time and place for wearing youth oriented street ware. Who has the money for receiving a ticket in these stressful moments? Why put the police in a situation that automatically puts them at odds with young people? We need to assist communities, families, and youth in doing something constructive on this subject?