Sagging pants hot topic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2007

THE ISSUE: Should government be able to dictate what is &8220;acceptable&8221; attire?

The City of Selma is considering whether or not to enact an ordinance that would legislate how low young people can wear their pants, an issue that is being hotly debated in other communities where the fad, known as &8220;sagging&8221; exists.

The American Civil Liberties Union in Georgia, where similar legislation is being considered, has said such a law is racial profiling, and while the fad is generally expressed by African American youth, it is not uncommon to see children of other races with their pant’s waistband mid-thigh either.

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The real crux of the issue is whether government should be able to dictate to citizens what is, or isn’t, acceptable attire. And while we favor obscenity laws that outlaw full or partial nudity in public, this form of expression generally shows no skin, only underwear. We agree that our schools should have a dress code that forces students to dress appropriately &045; or better put &045; the way an employer would expect them to dress while at work, enacting an ordinance on &8220;community dress code&8221; is a slippery slope that we’re not sure our council would be wise to step on to.

A much more prudent course of action would be for parents to talk to their children about what is acceptable dress in today’s society and explain to them that this fad has its origins in the prison system where belts are not allowed, thus inmates’ pants sagged off their hips. The fad was later perpetuated by gang members in California and then adopted by gangster rappers who wanted to emulate their &8220;heroes,&8221; the thugs and criminals who they associate themselves with.

Government is and should not be a substitute for parental involvement and the reality is that until mom and dad put their foot down, kids are going to act irresponsibly. And as we all know, an irresponsible child most likely becomes an irresponsible adult.