Sagging Pants Are the New Prison Pipeline for Black Men

Sagging Pants Are the New Prison Pipeline for Black Men
September 18 12:58 2015 Print This Article

by Yvette Carnell

In 2013 a black businessman rented a billboard to shame young black men who wear sagging pants. What he may not have understood at the time is that he was aiding in the push to outlaw the pants, which only leads to more black and brown men being profiled and arrested.

From The Atlantic:

As the Jackson Free Press reported, engineering student Akinola Gonzalez was stopped by college police on his school campus for walking with his pants sagging, a violation of the school’s policy. As a police report notes, Gonzalez complied with the security officials’ request to pull his pants up. But what happened afterward is an example of how such policies can become a pretext for unnecessary police entanglements.

Gonzalez reportedly failed to produce an ID when an officer asked for it (or at least questioned why he had to produce it), which led to his arrest, and later, after some other alleged insubordination, a strip search, and an overnight stay in the Hinds County Detention Center. According to an online petition from Gonzalez’s sister Dara Cooper, the police heckled him about his ability to post bond, and he was transferred the next day to a penal farm.

A bad fashion choice shouldn’t land you in jail, but that’s exactly what happened here. And that’s by design. It’s awful enough that policymakers push this sort thing, but it is even more damaging that so many of those rallying to ban saggy pants are black. You can’t be in favor of banning saggy pants while also expressing opposition to mass incarceration. That’s not how any of this works.

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11 comments
Johnw11
Johnw11

Good point, gminter, but It is necessary to differentiate individual acts of attention seeking "voyeurism" from the behavioral modification of a whole subculture of African American youths. And then, after "shaping" them to achieve the objective  "conditioned" state via a technique behavioral scientists call "modeling," criminalize the resultant product and use it as a basis for propelling the policy of mass incarceration.

The "modeling" source for sagging pants was / is "gangsta rap" videos.

Some argue -- without even a modicum of knowledge -- that the Blacks are not victims, they brought it upon themselves, and other standard "victim blaming" nonsense rooted in ignorance by its believers and propaganda by its promoters.

It's "consumerism" they say, not "cultural engineering." As if "consumerism" itself is not based in "cultural engineering" and "behavioral modification." In fact, product "branding" itself is based in the fundamental  behavioral modification principle of "association." Association = the linking of two different things (stimuli) together until they are accepted as one and the same. For example, those who "sag" their pants are NOT seeking sagging pants, they're seeking the latest subcultural dress style, so they can be "cool" and "down with the latest," that sort of thing. Since "sagging pants" have been "branded" or "associated" with being that, modeled to them by white controlled and promoted "gangsta rap" videos, it "cultural engineering" and "behavioral modification." Bottom line.

Jacoomoe11
Jacoomoe11

The wearing of sagging pants started in prison and it is fitting that since young people like to wear their pants like that then that is were they need to be to wear them. Not in the public and am so sick of looking at their underwear. It is a shame that young people think they look good are that they are making a statement. The only statement and looks they are making is how much they don't want to work cause I would not hire anyone that i see wears their pants hanging off their @**. 

Johnw11
Johnw11

@Jacoomoe11  The wearing of sagging pants started in poverty stricken neighborhoods from imitating gangsta rap videos,  not prison. The videos serve as instruments of behavioral modification "modeling", not only in terms of dress and general presentation, but teaches Black youth to solve disputes among themselves violently.

That's all I'm allowed to say. Any details the hackers who've penetrated this site via AdChoice will block.

sakonya1
sakonya1

Its utterly ridiculous to make laws that deem sagging pants as a criminal act.  As stupid as they may look, and I personally don't like the trend either, it shouldn't make the wearer of such pants a criminal and give him a record.  If the pants are so low that they are exposing someone's naked behind, then it is a different matter and should be only a ticketed offense.  The powers to be only want to use this as an excuse to stop, harass, detain, arrest and imprison, young Black men.

Johnw11
Johnw11

Excellent article!

The people putting up billboards and asking for laws against so-called "sagging pants" miss the point altogether. Not that sagging pants are a good thing, or that African Americans don't have the right as a culture to set standards governing behavior, all cultures fundamentally have that right.  To control change within itself is a primary responsibility of culture.

The point that's being missed is that it is the heretofore inadvertent failure of African American culture to control change within itself that results in several widespread contemporary behaviors opposed by the majority of Blacks. This happens to any culture that's controlled from the outside through commercialization of aesthetics and the compromising of the cultural icons.

The sagging pants, etc., simply infuriate those looking only at the victims of such behavioral modification, rather than the victimizers who push commercially (using Blacks as modelers) all sorts of behaviors on Blacks both generally and sub culturally. Then after "shaping" (conditioning) the observed behaviors in victims -- abandoned by internal cultural protection -- they then criminalize the behaviors that have been imposed on Blacks in the first place.

So goes the manufacturing process of mass incarceration with the cooperation of some Blacks lacking an analysis of what B.F. Skinner called "cultural engineering."

LindaEdmonds
LindaEdmonds

Who imposed sagging pants on the black male? Black culture did this to themselves. As for the manufacturing process its called supply and demand. Blacks young men demand the culture of saggy pants wearing on their own. It is not cultural engineering when it is imposed by themselves. Respectability is not responibility. Blacks demand to wear sagging pants and the manufacturing process supplies. It is called consumerism. A billboard had nothing to with this young man's behavior. Stop with the victimization witch hunt. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Life has more attributes to offer than the way one wears there clothes. Young blacks need to get their lives in order and stop this black on black stupid stuff. There are no black men incarcerated for wearing saggy pants. Ms Carroll you need to write about the real needs of black lives that matter and not this fluff.

Johnw11
Johnw11

@LindaEdmonds  I had painstakingly written a detailed response to you proving that you are uniformed about behavioral modification. But the hackers blocked its publication.

In blocking my reply, they did you no favor, because it keeps you ignorant. But that's their objective.

Rick Manigault
Rick Manigault

Very true Yvette! Most black people refuse to understand that telling people to "pull up there pants" has nothing  to do with the pants itself . I try to warn people about cliches that seek to tar our race with fake "responsibility". How people wear pants should be a personal matter.

knutz
knutz

I aint mad at nobody , How about those Broncos