>Is it time to stop the sagging?

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Reporter Gayle White’s article about Morehouse’s efforts to curb the use of profanity and sagging pants among its students is an interesting one.

Morehouse President Robert Franklin has been involved in a campaign to make sure the men enrolling into his Atlanta historically black college are fully aware of what it means to be a Morehouse man.

Franklin, who was named president last year, instituted the practice of giving every freshman a tie and a blazer in the college’s primary color, maroon, as a tangible symbol of the image of a gentleman.

“The fact is a significant percentage of our students arrive at Morehouse with a preppy orientation and understand the importance of presentation of themselves,” Franklin said. “Some of the students themselves are surprised to discover a small number of students who arrive with a different, almost thuglike, orientation in dress, speech and social behavior.”

The article goes on to point to The Gramblinite, Grambling State University’s newspaper, having a post-election headline titled, “Obama Won; Now Pull Up Your Pants.”

The headline was written by lifestyle columnist Justin M. LaGrande, who wrote, “Obama isn’t sagging his pants.”

That sentence got me thinking: is the Obama victory in the presidential election a signal to young black men that it’s time to stop the sagging? As the reporter notes in her article, the Obama win “has boosted the backlash against the sartorial and linguistic byproducts of the hip-hop culture.”

She points to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s (a long-time critic of the use of vulgar language) recent comments to the Chicago Tribune: “You can’t be using the b-word, the n-word, the h-word when you have Barack Obama redefining overnight the image that black people want to have.”

First, I take issue with Ms. White’s assessment that the Obama win has boosted the backlash against the hip-hop culture. Sure, there are some people (I’m one of them) who remain steadfast in their opposition to the byproducts of the hip-hop culture. However, I can’t say that this election boosted the backlash since you still have politicians who cling to the notion that using people who “look and talk like them” can get them out to the polls.

Jim Martin’s plans to stump with T.I., Ludacris and Young Jeezy all but backfired when he was soundly defeated by Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia Senate runoff. Maybe Martin didn’t get the memo about how the use of hip-hop artists is nothing short of political suicide.

Second, maybe the Gramblinite columnist has a point–there’s no excuse (not that there ever was) to walk around with your pants sagging when you have a successful, self-made black man running your country. Maybe this election should make young black men (and women) realize that the selling-yourself-short and pessimistic propoganda that hip-hop artists feed into their minds just isn’t reality. Sure, sagging pants and publicly using vulgar language may be a form of “self-expression.” But, at the end of the day, will this form of self-expression make or break one’s attempt to make a mark in society?

While Morehouse’s president’s efforts did predate the Obamapalooza phenomenon, his campaign just may gain some traction now that he has the ideal image to refer to when discussing the image of the Morehouse Man to his students.

Thoughts (I know this entry is all over the place, but I tried. It’s Monday, for crying out loud)?

16 comments on “>Is it time to stop the sagging?

  1. >To me this is a class based argument and it fails. Other than it represents blacks that are economically maginalized what really is the issue with the fashion fad? I believe it is because we believe that success means emulating white bourgeoisie. Allowing someone else to set the standard of what is and isn't acceptable is problematic to say the least.It certainly is not my fav part of black culture but room needs to be made to understand that what stands for black isn't always a bad thing. What works in poor communities should also not be looked down upon immediately. These standards exist to police the borders of who is allowed in the ingroup.

  2. >I sag my pants sometimes, but I try not to just have my boxers all in the face of someone behind me.It's a fashion statement no more than women wearing low cut dresses or strapless kind. In society we've associated this with inappropriate. Seriously, with all societal mindsets removed, what difference does it make one way or the other. And, as a black male, I may like the fashion of a certain cut of jeans, but hell, my butt is TOO BIG and inevitably, you're going to see the tops of my underwear if you looking that hard!My thing is, stop looking. Apparently you see something that you like.

  3. >I sag sometimes, too. It's better than those damn nut hugger jeans that I see dudes wear now (and that GOD awful Mohawk). But for me, I buy long shirts, so can't nobody see it. The only problem I have with it is some of the folks SAGGIN' don't wash their ass or their drawls properly. Who wants a dirty ass all up in your face or some nasty Drawls? Not me. Every generation had their clothing Fad and the "Old Timers" didn't understand it. Lets this generation have theirs (I really should be saying OURS becase I'm apart of it) and we'll be good.

    1. I’m guilty of this sagging trend, and I use the term trend loosely. For me it’s about comfort though. It’s just more comfortable, especially when wearing a belt, not to have it on your waist or even tight on your hip. I’m not one for the whole ass out sag personally, however as a gay versatile man I do enjoy a bubble ass on a masculine dude.

  4. >Hello there!The sagging must go!The "hoochie" look must go!We need to start enforcing a zero tolerance rule for all those who are reinforcing negative stereotypes of blacks! It impacts ALL of us when a small segment decides it is okay to present black people as thugs and whores.Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!Lisa

  5. >I do think Morehouse College has a point, look it is a historical black college the young men should be dressing appropriately. Just my personal opinion. I am a black Canadian male and I WISH we had all black colleges in Canada but we don't. I would of been so honored to attend an all black college and I think the way you dress says a lot about a person.

  6. >"I believe it is because we believe that success means emulating white bourgeoisie."Yeah I'm gonna have to agree with renee on this. The only thing people see wrong with "sagging" is the fact that it's most commonly done by young black males. Personally, I find it to be a artful display of expression. A few states have gone as far as making it a legal offense. You've got to be kidding me. lol. I could have sworn the “fashion police” was just something some drunk gay guy made up one night for kicks.

    1. Yeah another illegal law, as long as you have under wear on and not walking around with your actual dick out then there is absolutely nothing wrong. I liked what someone earlier said when they likened it to a woman showing cleavage, sagging actually exposes less than a low cut shirt that shows cleavage.

  7. >I'm posing this question in general, but first…I think it's fair to say that while saggin is not something that we all find attractive, if it's what the individual wants to do, then that's on them (and essentially, that's what the "it's a part of hip-hop culture whether we like it or not" argument is saying)But there's a brother/sister argument to that that goes further and asks why we think that the only way people should present themselves is in the way of the stereotypical white man. And that too is a fair question. As black folks we need to quit thinking white is right and that's all.But who's to say that the "more presentable" (I use that phrasing because it's shorter, but everyone should know I don't meant to suggest anything about the difference between a suit and saggin pants by it) is not also apart of black culture? Who's to say that we can't all agree, regardless of race, that there is a general standard for dress when you intend to be taken seriously?My concern is that too many of us think white is always right while simultaneously too many of us equate right with white and in turn with opposite of us. What I mean by the latter is, we see something like the societal norm that says when you're in a serious, especially business, setting, business dress is appropriate, and think "oh, that's only "right" because the white man is in control and I'm black so I can't subscribe to that norm…" We have to be careful that in uplifting ourselves we're not actually shooting ourselves in the foot.To actually respond to the post, I agree with what the President of Morehouse is trying to do. It's an all male school so there can be no commentary on women, but I think we women also need to chill out with all the low cut and too tight stuff we wear. There's a time and place for everything.

  8. >When I was in junior high about 10 years ago there was a ban on saggy pants added to the school's dress code. They did this because kids pants were so low they were tripping on them and FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS. This was in a northwest Chicago suburb that was like 2% black to begin with, so these were white and latino kids sagging their pants (and subsequently falling down the stairs.) The ban was more a safety issue, as I'm sure the parents would be quick to sue if their precious children hurt themselves with the pants they bought for them. Of course this situation is different from what Morehouse is trying to do, since I am sure college students know better than to fall down stairs.I don't think sagging pants look good on anybody (though I have to agree with Wizzy about those hollywood douchebag skinny pants that got so popular all of a sudden; where is the happy medium?) But, even if seeing your boxers/buttcrack hanging out makes me personally want to take a running start and karate-kick you square in your exposed ass that doesn't mean it's up to me to stop you. Besides, if the real problem with saggy pants is the connotations they carry, what better way to break saggy-pants stereotypes than by seeing them on people who don't fit those stereotypes?Funny, I started this comment ready to wholeheartedly agree with Morehouse wanting to ban pants-sag. I understand it wanting its students to know how to dress appropriately (the college I went to actually had classes on how to dress… for the business majors anyway) but I don't think stopping adults from wearing one type of outfit, even in their own free time, is the way to achieve that goal.

  9. >i agree with renee, this is mostly about class–i would add that it is also generational (or as renee says, a "fad"). bougie negroes (e.g. Cosby) cannot have it both ways: 1) they don't spend much time in the hood. besides, 2) they lost their cred and influence when they bolted from mixed income communities for more exclusive ones with and better schools back in the 70s. they cannot then turn up their noses because they want to be more acceptable to white people and the counter culture is influencing how their children dress. the obamas are no better. his "O"ness grew up in hawaii and indonesia–he did a little community work, so what? and michelle had a stable middle class upbringing…stop looking down at and marginalizing impoverished black folks (and poor peeps generally), distribute the opportunities, wealth and other resources a bit better, improve our raggedy ass schools, and then we can get some consensus on "proper" dressing. until then, these jokers are just talking to the wind 'cuz ain't nobody listening. IB

  10. >Whizzy you're just ignorant and don't even know it. Your butt is private you flaming asshole. When you use the toilet does your boys come in and wipe your ass for you? Were you potty trained? The reason old timers were taught, YOU WILL NEVER GET RESPECT FROM ANYONE. YOU ARE JUST COPYING THE HOMOSEXUAL IDEAS FROM LIL' UGLY,LIL' TROLL, LIL' NASTY, LIL WIZZY. YOU LOOK LIKE YOU JUST FINISHED TAKING A BOWEL MOVEMENT OUTSIDE LIKE DOGS AND YOU DID NOT WASH YOUR HANDS.

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