Saggy pants a low point, but a crime?

The campaign against that unattractive saggy pants fashion fad has made its way to Augusta.


The campaign is as gaudy and ill-advised as the fashion itself.

Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson is proposing to amend the city's indecency law to ban pants being worn so low that they expose any part of the male buttocks. He hopes that will differentiate it from other cities' ordinances that try to define a limit on how low pants can be worn before they are in violation, or that charge a violation if the male's underwear is visible.

Those kinds of "dress codes" have drawn fire from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups, and for good reason: They're blatantly unconstitutional.

But Johnson says, "I'm not trying to infringe on anybody's rights; I just want young people to think about what they're doing."

We're in full sympathy with him on that, but the ban on buttocks exposure should already be covered by the indecency ordinance. And a saggy pants ban could only confuse the issue. Would it lead to a ban on women wearing bikinis? And what would it mean for the refrigerator repair or heating and air sector?

Simply put, the city shouldn't try to define how people may wear their pants.

To that extent, the ACLU is right. Where civil rights groups go off the track, though, is when they charge that ordinances against saggy pants are racist because they're targeted at young black males. Johnson, an African-American, puts the lie to that.

Moreover, white males can also be seen wearing tastelessly low belt lines.

Adult African-Americans are obviously not "racist"; they're troubled by the ugly message that young males send with pants down around their knees. Saggy pants simply do not portend a bright future for youths of any ethnic origin.

Consider their origin: Saggy pants, inexplicably popularized by hip hop artists, are the result of prison inmates in loose clothing being denied belts, ropes and the like because they pose a strangulation threat to themselves or others.

Convicts are the biggest losers in the world. Why would anyone want to imitate them? And anyone who does imitate ought to be humiliated, not held up as a fashion icon. This is the lesson that schools, parents and mentors ought to be hammering into young people who wear saggy britches.

Commissioner Johnson agrees, suggesting Richmond County Schools ought to devote some time to teaching dress etiquette - and, we would add, common sense.

Saggy pants are definitely a new low in this society. But hardly a crime.



Mon, 10/23/2017 - 10:20

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