Some call it an epidemic. Others call it a freedom of expression. Some just don’t care. Whatever side, sagging pants has nearly become the norm for African American men. Sagging, as defined by Wikipedia, is “a fashion trend for wearing pants below the waist to expose one’s boxers, practiced by males.” Sagging has been linked to prisons. Some prisoners were not given a belt to hold their pants up, resulting in sagging.
Walking around GSU’s campus today, one can see a male student wearing sagging pants almost instantly.
One freshman is content with his style of dress, which includes sagging.
“I don’t like my shorts above my knees,” said Justin Woodard.
The reaction to the sagging pants fashion is mixed.
“It’s a freedom of dress,” said Kimberly Monroe, a senior. “You should be able to wear what you want to wear.”
Tiffany Wells, however, disagrees.to an extent.
“It’s cute to a certain extent,” the junior said. “If it’s too low where I can see your underwear, then that’s not attractive. I like more of the Kanye West type.”
One freshman doesn’t like the style at all.
“I think it’s sloppy and trifling,” said Jiordelysah Lewis. “It’s a bad image of our Black men.”
However, most women will consider dating a man who does sag his pants.
“I don’t judge people on how they dress,” Monroe said. “I judge people on their character. Who is to say that person may not be the next president?”
Wells said she would date someone who sags, but she still has a standard that they have to follow.
“If I can see his underwear, no,” she said. “I’d at least have him to pull it up.”
One faculty member has admitted that he hates sagging.
“I’m 100 percent on the other side,” said Tegitra “T.K.” Thomas, head coach of the GSU golf teams. “I don’t like it at all. I think Grambling would be a better institution if we require more out of our students. When I see that, I don’t see higher learning.”
Audrey Warren, adviser to the Student Government Association, has seen sagging pants and does not like it.
“It’s crazy,” Warren said. “It’s disgusting. Nobody wants to see that.”
Many cities don’t want to see it either. More city governments are passing laws that outlaw the form of “sagging.” Atlanta Councilman C.T. Martin recently proposed an ordinance that outlaws “exposed boxer shorts, skivvies, thongs, and bra straps.”
The proposal has gotten both negative and positive responses. One of the negative responses came from hip-hop artist Young Joc.
“That’s [crazy],” said Joc told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “That’s attacking people’s freedom of expression. . This is targeting a certain group: young black males.”
Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, agrees.
“This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling,” said Seagraves, who is white.
One city already has the ordinance in effect. Mansfield, located about 100 miles from Grambling, has passed a law that allows prosecutors to fine the offenders $150 plus court fees or face up to 15 days in jail. The law, which was passed unanimously, becomes effective on Sept. 15.
The town council in Delcambre, located about 210 miles south of Grambling, passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Shreveport is also trying to pass an ordinance of similar nature, according to The Shreveport Times.
While the debate about whether the law will hold up in court rages on, students at GSU have already formed their opinions.
“Some people sag because their pants are too short or they are trying to fit in,” said Terrion Rogers, a senior. “When you sag, it’s disrespectful to you and to others around you.”
The fashion statement known as sagging may received mixed reactions, but it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.