From Lynwood to Florida, Saggy Pants Under Assault

Steve Schmadeke and Dennis Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2011

When police arrived outside a Lynwood party last month to check for curfew violators, Bowen High School student Cantrell Tremble, 18, wasn’t worried about getting a ticket. So he was surprised when police cited him for the way he wore his pants.

“(The officer) looked and saw … I was sagging,” Tremble said recently. “It’s very unfair. Everybody dresses the same way.”

Although the case against Tremble was dropped after the ticketing officer didn’t appear at a hearing, a Tribune review of police records found that south suburban Lynwood is assessing fines as high as $750 for those caught wearing sagging pants in public. Police, who say the $750 fines were made in error, more commonly assessed fines of $50 to $250.

In 2008, Lynwood was the first Chicago suburb to enact a ban on low-hanging pants, but others have followed suit. The most recent was neighboring Sauk Village, which in March outlawed pants that hang more than 4 inches off the hip. Last month, Collinsville, just east of St. Louis, narrowly approved its own saggy-pants ordinance.

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The Illinois American Civil Liberties Union criticized the ordinance as racial profiling when it was enacted but has yet to challenge it in court. {snip}

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For Lynwood leaders, the ordinance is a way to take a stand against a fashion many find offensive or indecent. {snip}

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Florida recently enacted a “Pull Up Your Pants” bill, requiring school districts in the Sunshine State to discipline students who wear “clothing that exposes underwear.” Pastors have reportedly marched the streets of Winston-Salem, N.C., urging residents to “pull them up,” and a South Carolina man recently released a children’s book titled “Oliver Vance Pull Up Your Pants!”

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  • F’Artelle Washington

    Don’t any of these people know that seeing a butt crack is NOT what most people want in their line of sight? And if you get a frontal view – gross. Where’s my slingshot when I need it?

  • Question Diversity

    The Police Chief in Collinsville has already said he has ordered the whole department not to enforce the ordinance, because of “racial profiling.” Using that logic, he should order his officers not to arrest anyone for murder, because murder laws disproportionately impact blacks and Hispanics.

    As for this bit about sagging ordinances being profiling, I see a whole lot of young white men sagging. I actually wish they would racially target young whites with these laws, in order to keep them from acting black, and adopting a clothing style which had its genesis in black prison culture somehow. (Again, the three theories are: 1. They take your belt from you for suicide fears, 2. Advertising “availability,” and 3. Advertising your ganged-up status, i.e. “I dare you to rape me.”)

  • Anonymous

    I have a problem with this law as it does violate freedom of expression. That said, how does any kid with that get up think they will be hired or treated in any way other than an outcast? They may or may not be discriminated against by color, but add that clown suit and they can be assured of being left behind. It is an act of social rebellion bordering on giving the finger. Blacks seem so intent on defining themselves in odd ways that they ignore what it takes to be a member of a productive society.

  • Anonymous

    Other ethnic groups when they encounter blacks apply a multistage filter; first as potentially dangerous, then stupid, then just plain goofy. And they bring it on themselves.

  • Anonymous

    The inability, or unwillingness, to see how the world views these fashion statements is a particularly black phenomena. Or perhaps it is in the affirmative, a hearty FU to the rest of the working world. Other groups avoid this as they understand the longer term consequences of dressing like a dope. Blacks who dress like this have no ambition to join society on its terms, rather they prefer anti-social statements fully lacking in charm. Hello, the way you dress is a message, it is part of behavior and we all make behavioral assessments. Epic fail.

  • (AWG) Average White Guy

    Free country. Dress however you want.

    What’s more, saggy pants sends a much needed “danger” signal.

  • olewhitelady

    The ACLU knows this would be a losing case. There have always been laws against indecency, and blacks aren’t even the only males to wear saggy pants.

  • Anonymous

    Personally I think we should let this whole saggy pants thing go. If black males want to walk around looking like fools let them. Lets focus on our white youth instead. In any case a good number of arrests and captures have happened because of said pants. If crime prone black youth want to make their capture easier why stop them?

  • Ben

    @ 1

    Yeah it is gross (just had to witness one today).

    However it is funny when they try to run and even walk often times holding their pants up with their hands.

  • observerofblacks

    Does anyone remember about twenty years ago the trend with blacks was a little multicolored hat or cap with an actual little propeller on top that would spin around? I remember going through the hood and seeing them and could never figure it out. It didn’t last long but was pretty widespread

  • Browser

    At first it was just an idiotic ghetto fad.

    Like the unlaced sneakers, beehive Afros, and all the other nonsense.

    But now it’s done in defiance of authority and “white standards”. It’s also now seen as a racial expression of Black Culture. To oppose it has become racist.

    The more you try to ban it, the more defiantly they will do it.

    I think the best thing is just to let it alone and ignore it.

    Without getting the attention that they crave, the fad will dry up by itself.

    Who cares anyway if they make fools of themselves? Let them!

  • Alexandra

    A hundred years ago they would have been busted for indecent exposure.

    Time to enforce those laws again.

  • Sartorially Challenged

    In Singapore during the 1970s, it was illegal to chew gum, wear a mini skirt, or for males to have bangs touching their eyebrows. Those laws were nanny-state abominations, and the same holds true for anti-sagging laws. If blacks wish to look ugly, then that’s their business and no concern of legislators.

  • Anonymous

    If blacks wish to look ugly, then that’s their business and no concern of legislators.

    Unfortunately, there can be no law against stupidity, or against tastelessness.

    As for busting them for “Indecent Exposure”, that won’t work. The laws have to be (and are) extremely explicit about just what body parts are not to be exposed. Merely exposing a bit of polka-dotted underwear does not qualify as “indecent” or “exposure”.