Sagging Pants Fine: Another Point for Racial Profiling

Jefferson County, Louisiana is the latest municipality to enact a measure which makes sagging pants illegal. Such ordinances are not uncommon, with other communities in Louisiana, along with parts of New Jersey and Florida enforcing similar decrees. In Jefferson County, perps will have to pay a $50 fine for the first offense, and $100 for subsequent offenses thereafter.

The sagging pants phenomenon originated in prison. Urban myth claims that incarcerated men who wore their pants below their waste welcomed sexual advances. Later, the style was made popular by hip hop artists, and now it’s common to see among young males.

The response has been mixed. Some praise the measure as a necessary way to combat ignorance, while others believe this is an futile attempt to regulate Black males. I fall within the latter frame of thought.

Government has no business regulating appropriate forms of dress. Although I am frustrated by the prevalence of sagging pants, it is not the government’s place to tackle through legislation. I fear the snowball effect; first it’s sagging pants, and then what? Fines for swearing? Fines for listening to rap music in the comforts of your home?

Personally, I think comprehensive preventative measures should be implemented through the family unit and the school system. It’s important for families to educate their children about how to dress appropriately, while the school system enacts reasonable dress codes. But government fines are not the answer. If anything, I think it’ll further fuel deep-seated mistrust between the authorities and citizens.

And let’s not forget that this fine disproportionately effects poor Black youth. Poor young Black people, who are probably already disadvantaged in this small Deep Southern town, will find difficulty securing financial resources to pay for these relatively steep fines. And, having a record is something that’s hard to shake; it can effect potential job offers, college acceptance, etc.

All this measure is, is yet another way to sanction racial profiling. And it needs to stop.

I understand where the frustration comes from. But as part of living in a free society means that we have to tolerate the choices that people make so long as those choices do not impede in our rights to live in peace. Seeing a young Black male with his pants around his knees will not cause you death….even though you might think so.

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7 responses to “Sagging Pants Fine: Another Point for Racial Profiling

  1. I agree 100% percent of the matter. I live in the Northwest and it would be ridiculous to put a law that no man or boy should dress in camouflage or else it get fined. I really find disgusting seeing any man no matter what race wear saggy pants, but why in the South? Is It because the seeds of racism still flourish there after centuries? Hell Yeah! And it’s destructing Black males in terms of perhaps getting a jail sentence being marked for the rest of their lives when they go and get jobs. What the Black Community is doing to eradicate this law? I didn’t see any news about it and it has been months since it was implemented.

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    • It’s truly a shame. I just found out about this over the weekend. As another commenter said “it’s a tax on Black people.”

      I just wonder what’s next? When will it stop? Will hip hop music be banned after 5pm? Are we no longer allowed to wear our caps backward? Because you, dictating how we’re dressed will definitely change our behavior…. NOT.

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      • If its a black man’s tax where that money is headed? It has to go somewhere that could benefit them, not keeping into these so called politician’s pocket. If they can, they could ban black people from listening hip hop loud on their speakers. When it does, Black community will retalliate for sure. They should retalliate against “Stand Your Ground” since its also racial profiling at it worst.

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  2. I can’t stand black people that support this or think that if black folks stop sagging…and listening to rap music that somehow, racial profiling will stop, we’ll get more jobs, and white america will be more accepting of us……when we all wore suits and were super polite to white people that when we got it the worse, hanging from trees…Emit Till was suited up, just like every other black person that was murdered. It’s just another way to attack the victims instead of the white supremacy that is institutionalized in America in every facet, labor, law, politics, entertainment, etc.

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  3. I can’t believe that a bunch of adults actually sat down and made this illegal. What?? Bigger picture people, seriously. I get that it isn’t particularly pleasant when someone has their arse cheeks hanging out but I don’t think it’s worth of a fine. True say, it is down to upbringing and the education system to teach people how to dress appropriate. Funnily enough, in Britain it’s more the white guys that are doing the saggy pant thing than the black guys.

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