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Droopy Drawers: Is a Ban on Baggy Pants Racism in Disguise?

Like your pants with a little extra room? If you live in Flint, MI, you better hitch up your britches; the city's new police chief announced yesterday that he's going to start arresting people wearing baggy pants. Oh yeah, you heard correctly. No more low-hanging pantaloons — the chief says people are showing off altogether too much of their derrières and it's creating a problem. He says, "this immoral self-expression goes beyond free speech. It rises to the crime of indecent exposure/disorderly persons." The pants punishment? $500 and up to three months in jail.

While it's true that many don't understand the need to sag one's pants, and may rather not see someone's underduds, can a person's pants lead to arrest? It's a case the ACLU is quite interested in. Curious in not only how the law will be enforced, but also how it will disproportionately target young African-American men. A local ACLU attorney says, that a person's right to choose their clothing is an issue of freedom of expression, though he cautions that not all expression is protected by the Constitution. The local NAACP president expressed her concern that the new law has racial implications this way, "I'm not interested in looking at anyone's underwear. My concern is how (the policy) will be applied equitably."

At the moment, the police aren't entirely sure either. Is it possible that dealing with a small societal issue like indecent saggy pants, could have larger benefits over time? Is this a racially motivated move costumed by concern for decency?


Join The Conversation
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Uh UnDave, are you suggesting that Flint instituted the law to have another way to arrest people who are "responsible for a rash of crimes" so that they don't have to have to actually have cause for arresting them? I'm pretty sure you actually have to have cause to suspect a person for committing a specific crime before arresting the person. So, instituting a law to arrest people on the basis of the way they look is pretty unconstitutional, and I'm guessing this law will be struck down. Unless of course they can prove that the exposure is actually undecent, and that really is why they are arresting these men, but I highly doubt that will be successful either!
piesecki piesecki 9 years
This is such a waste of police time. How are they going to decide how baggy is too baggy anyway? Is everyone going to have to start wearing skinny jeans to avoid being arrested? Because those can be pretty indecent looking too! Will the police get out a ruler and start measuring crotch lengths? Will they then get sued for harassment if so..?
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
i think their style is very cute nooo its not cute anyhoo, i can see the mentality and it has nothing to do with indecent exposure. its the stereotype that the hoodlums are wearing baggy pants and certain colors. its like when we go to the clubs in la and the dress code states no baggy pants, white tees or baseball caps. its an association thing. is it wrong? yes. is it a waste of taxpayer money? yes. will eventually be ruled unconstitutional? absolutely!
Xemena Xemena 9 years
i think its nobodies Business to decide for ppl wat 2 wear if they dont like it they dont have to look at them plus i think their style is very cute plus it sucks when you get arrested for your CLOTHES...
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
UD! I just had a mental image of a bunch of old cronies running around with black socks and sandals holding up banks and running amok! :rotfl: !!!!!!!!!!!!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
It may sound that way, but there is a little logic too it. If there was a sudden rash of crimes committed by people who are described as old and wearing black socks with sandals, then I could see targeting old people who wear black socks with sandals.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
As a taxpayer, it sincerely would piss me off to pay the police force to be the fashion police. Yes, I hate baggy pants, and think people should "buy clothes that fit," but I also think people shouldn't wear black tall socks with sandals and white shoes, EVER. As gross as it can get, it doesn't really reach to the extent of indecent exposure would think something would have to be exposed for that. I don't think it's necessarily racist, but I think the law is motivated by what white, older people think is acceptable dress.
sashak sashak 9 years
Some town in here South carolina wants to do this too. I heard it on pubilc radio the other day & all I could think was "don't they have some meth labs that need busting?"
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
I refer to guys who dress like this as "hip hop clowns." The baggy pants reminds me of clown clothes. It is very un-sexy. Nothing attractive about it at all. I agree with other when they say that if they are going to charge men with public indecency for baggy pants, then they should press charges against women showing their thongs, bra straps ect. That's what they did in my high school. Girls weren't allowed to wear tank tops because they were considered to be "distracting" to the male student body, but boys weren't allowed to wear pants that exposed their underwear. There were a lot of Fred Durst and DMX wanna bes in that school who were put in detention for showing their boxers. I got sent home for wearing a tank top that didn't expose my bra. :oy: Personally, I think policing fashion is just a waste of time. Around here, I see just as many white and hispanic guys dressing as hip hop clowns as I do black guys. Based on that, I would have to say it isn't racially motivated, but then again, I don't know the racial make up of Flint.
Meike Meike 9 years
Definitely not racially motivated. I've seen the style in other countries and older generations are quick to discriminate against it simply because of the 'hip hop' culture it is derived from. I mean, we don't have many black people in Japan. So, as you can imagine, we have a lot of Japanese youth who appreciate the culture immensely. Older folks, not so much...
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'm trying very hard not to get into a discussion about what bathing suits look like. Most bathing suits cover adaquately, like a tank top. I have a problem with thong bikinis. (OK, I like'em, but....) There are some things that shouldn't be shared with the whole world.
kohina kohina 9 years
I understand what you're saying about dressing for your setting... However anyone that is upset with seeing someone in their underwear, you should be equally upset with seeing someone in a bikini. You're still seeing someone half-naked. Does water really change that? That's all I'm saying. How do you determine what's inappropriate anyways? It's a totally subjective thing.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Seeing bikinis at the beach, or near the beach (or swimming pool) is fine, but it isn't kosher elsewhere. It's about dressing appropriately for where you are going. I wouldn't expect to see a bathing suit in church, and more than I would expect to see a 3 piece suit at the beach. People who tend to dress inappropriately tend to also be the ones who act inappropriately.
ambie_white ambie_white 9 years
wow that's all i have to say. i mean i can't stand seeing a guy's ass literally hanging out their pants but over the years it has been a fashion statement but really the police needs to focus on more important things especially in MI. and i hope they are not just focusing on the black americans b/c now a days, every guy of diff. race has their ass hanging out......please!
kohina kohina 9 years
I don't think this is racist at all. I do think it's a huge infringement on civil rights. I get more offended when I see fat people wearing tight clothes, or people wearing flip-flops (seriously feet are disgusting). I'm not going to run to city hall and whine about it though. Maybe we should ban swimsuits next *rolls eyes*. How is a bikini any different from underwear? People in this country need to straighten out their priorities, and start worrying about themselves, as opposed to what people are wearing.
sugarbean sugarbean 9 years
If I had to guess, there's a good chance the law won't last too long since they're basing it on public indecency -- and, of course, the potential for race-differential effects. However... there have been pretty impressive demonstrations of just how much STUFF can be hidden in low-riding pants -- particularly weapons. Weapons, of course, invoke an interest in public safety -- and courts will be less likely blow off a public safety issue than a public indecency issue (but, even with a safety issue, disparity in application could result in the law being invalidated) but the whole public indecency thing... I mean, I find it hard to argue that saggin' britches are public indecency when we've got the entire side of a building dedicated to the wonders of Armani underwear and Beckham's package
blondie01 blondie01 9 years
I would like to hear from those who voted this as racist. I don't see how this can be racist, people of all colors wear different styles. I know plenty of different people who went through the "baggy pants" faze, including my brother :oy: but Flint, MN must really have some extra time on its hands
foxie foxie 9 years
Don't MOST laws lead to arrests of mostly minorities? That's not racism, that's just an unpleasant truth. I guess it's not a wise way for these police to spend their time, but they'll be collecting lots of money from the penalties, so that's good. Meh.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
I was standing outside of my apartment building this afternoon talking on my cell to my mother. And this guy rolls around the corner with his underwear in plain sight - and they weren't boxers either. Dude was white - so not sure if it's eally all that racist to ban it. It's just indecent exposure.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
I don't think its racism, and as a black woman i personally can't stand when boys of any color wear their pants with the undies showing!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
This is completely on a side note and I don't know what brings it to mind but I hate it when I go into a store and they make me leave my bag behind the counter. I straight up tell them as soon as you go around the store and round up all the women’s purses I'll be more than happy to put my bag behind the counter but until then I'm keeping my bag. I've never had anyone argue that logic.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I can see where some people might associate baggy pants and that whole look with gang activity, but seriously, this is absurd. What's next? Will they start arresting women who pair super-short skirts with stripper heels, even when they're not hookers?
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