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One thing that is true; the parent or grandparent who “lets” their child set the tone

for what the child will or will not do is a FOOL, and is RAISING a statistic.



Sagging Pants: The Real Deal

By Mike Ramey


Is it me, or has the “sagging & bagging” issue been getting a few folk HOT “under the collar”?  I've had the chance to “read” a host of the so called “wisdom” on the issue of sagging pants. Let me toss in my .02 from the perspectives of being a Gang Specialist and having served in the capacities of Teacher and Probation Officer/Juvenile—Felony Level.

While SEVENTY PERCENT of Rap/Hip Hop Music is BOUGHT by WHITE TEENS and YOUNG WHITE ADULTS, GUESS who is getting harassed about “sagging pants”?  More and more of the urban school districts in America are adopting uniforms to “curb” the problem.  More and more local and state lawmakers are “slamming” teens for this “social statement” in an “effort” to “curb crime.”  Guess who is getting “hammered” on such wear by BLACKS in education, government, and the law?


Let's throw some strikes on this topic.  Think back, Black Parents and Black Grandparents when Swing and Motown came out?  Who were the ones “sneaking into” the Black clubs to “absorb” our culture and music? Hmmm?  Now, look at the landscape of complaining today. I'm not hating; I am stating.

The young, white establishment grabs and mimics the exotic then, after all of the “juice” (race identification) has been wrung out (or twisted) it is cast into the mainstream, and they “grow up.” The only difference is that nobody is picking on other “races.” Educators and Cops are not “wholesale” slapping around whites who mimic the behavior, but those whom THEY 'perceive' originated the behavior are getting rousted.

I don't care what kind of grades a young Black man or a young Black woman is making.  Since many of us have NOT “pooled our money” and “built the economic infrastructure of many of our communities,” the MAJORITY community WILL determine whom and HOW they will interact, based upon APPEARANCE.  At 11pm at night when OUR TEENS are “sagging and hootchying” on the public street corner, a GED or High School Graduated Jackie Law white cop with a badge and a gun operates on perception is reality. 

He may “hang” with Blacks and Latinos after his shift, and he may have (like the Michael Bolton character from the hit film “Office Space”) a COLLECTION of HARD CORE Hip Hop in his private vehicle. He MAY even have a Black or Latino woman as his girlfriend or wife.  But, once the uniform goes on and the shift starts, guess WHO is the ENEMY?

Same thing with “Sally Saddleshoes,” teacher, who is in the public schools and in her first few years of teaching; yes, she danced to Rap in the college bars (possibly sans her top . . . but I digress); yup, she can SHOUT OUT the lyrics in her car with her other academic functioning male and female “buddies”; she may even have some Dr. Dre in her CD player or MP3.  But from 9 to 5, she is interested in upholding the “system” against the 'barbarian hordes'. She wants her college education loans paid.  She is in “survival” mode (because the system has programmed fear into her about “certain” kids) and “going along to get along” (so she may “advance in her career,” and eventually move to a better school district).

Oh, I've been employed in these professions, once upon a time.  I've seen it, up close and personal.  For those who don't believe what I am saying, then that's just too bad.  Truth is still truth, whether or not you have experienced it.

Black Parent and Black Grandparent, hear me out. THE REAL BLACK DEAL? OUR teens NEED to re-learn how to dress for success, rather than dress to be a mess in order to survive economically in a land that may send mixed signals about success, but is DEAD UP IN IT concerning “the unwritten dress code.”  Sagging equals ECONOMIC pain. . . . EVEN from BLACK employers.

One thing that is true; the parent or grandparent who “lets” their child set the tone for what the child will or will not do is a FOOL, and is RAISING a statistic.  Just in the last 12 months, I have had a former client murdered, the mother of a former client murdered, and another former client NOW, as BARELY adult, facing a murder rap.  All THREE of these individuals were given their options well before their troubles by yours truly and others. They “convinced” the adult authority figure in their lives that “they” knew best about “life” and how to “dress.”

They are JUST as DEAD or in HOT WATER because they DID not LISTEN.        

The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.”  Put simply, those who mock God's authority line, or those whom He determines to be part of His authority line (parents, grandparents, cops, courts, teachers, judges) will have a HARD way to go.  Yes, on TV it may be CUTE to have folk mouth off to authority figures, but the REAL DEAL is jail bars are JUST as hard to serve as a “wake up call” to those in real life who want to try it!

Children need leadership, guidance, and truth from older family members.  The REAL DEAL in America right now is that society is SHIFTING BACK concerning casual dress.  In the late 1990s, Casual Dress began to be “phased out” of the corporate climate. Next, Hampton University (a Black University) demanded that it's MBA students started coming to class in business casual attire. Recently, a WHITE college's undergraduate Business program ordered their students to shuck the “low riders” for business casual attire to be “ready” for interview, internships, etc.  In other words, if you DRESS professional, you will likely ACT professional AND you will be perceived as a professional by the status quo.

The REAL DEAL?  Yup, being played out RIGHT in front of us!  Teachers, sadly, do NOT have a dress code, for the most part.  Some of THEM don't have the morals of alley cats, and allow their students (some of them our children) to 'slouch' their way through

the education process. Law Enforcement (which includes Probation, Parole and Corrections Officers) has a dress code . . . and are trained to spot those who don't obey the code.

SOME Black Parents and Black Grandparents talk a good game when it comes to what our teens SHOULD be doing, EXCEPT when it comes to the excuses they OFFER for the TEENS in their own HOUSEHOLDS!!!  SOME Black Parents and Black Grandparents STILL hold that it is a TRAGEDY for ANOTHER BLACK CHILD to be caught gang banging, but “their” little “darling” was “innocent.”

MOST COPS operate on the principle: "IF It walks like a duck . . ."  They ALSO operate on the term: "Justifiable Homicide" (Well, your Honor, he/she LOOKED like a gang banger . . . so I HAD to shoot! How was I supposed to know that he/she was an Honor Student?

Let's take a trip back into time.  Sagging Pants were BORN in PRISONS! They were done that way so as to IDENTIFY those inmates who were either ADVERTISING for HOMOSEXUAL favors, OR LETTING the GP (Population) know that they would be willing for a QUICKIE.  Check it out for yourselves with other family members who had done time in the JOINT.  When this FACT is passed on to the sagging thug of today,

their response is a blank stare and 'SO'???  However, the REST of society REMEMBERS the CODE!  Recently a member of the US Senate had to RESIGN in disgrace because he had sent some signals to a Vice Cop in a public restroom.  You think that YOUR child won't be judged by the clothing that they wear? 

When you have teens consuming MASS quantities of Hip Hop videos, coupled with BLACK outlets such as BET, RADIO ONE, etc. putting forth the WORST that there is to offer, and EXPORTING the “Beautiful Lie” into the MSM and the AROUND the world, why do you think there is a problem in us RESPECTING ourselves?

Hey, this is just my .02.  But, take it from me; this “sagging” mentality has spread to the courts, the schools, and the churches. MANY of our young people are IGNORANT of our culture and history and FEW BLACK PARENTS have the guts to confront them with the fact that “African Americans came from Kings and Queens . . . NOT from the gutter!”

THE REAL DEAL?  Are you raising your teen to be a success, or a statistic?  If the former, you have my support.  If the latter, you have my sympathy, because you WILL be attending a LOT of funerals.  Society is shifting away from the “casual” look, and Black Parents, Black Grandparents, and Black Teens need to shift away from the excuses.

To let the inmates to not only run the asylum; but to die in it to protect some teen's feelings or shield them from reality, or allow them to nurture a warped dream of fashion sense at the expense of common sense and racial pride is not only wrong; it is suicidal!  And . . . guess who picks up the tab for allowing the illusion to continue?

ALL of us...and that's the REAL BLACK DEAL!

Mike Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. It is a syndicated column provided exclusively to various publications. (C) 2007 Barnstorm Communications.

posted 4 September 2007

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No Sagging, No ExtensionsLiberia has banned students from wearing artificial hair extensions such as weaves or attachments at school. Education Minister Joseph Korto told the BBC it was a way of "instilling moral discipline in our young people". He said students are also banned from wearing skirts or trousers that expose their underwear in any way. . . . The education ministry statement said there was to be no "sagging", referring to the way young people often wear shirts or trousers loosely. . . . Some girls in the capital, Monrovia, have welcomed the measures. "The time students take to dress or fix their hair should be used to study their lessons," said Watti Robinson, a student at the Catholic-run Saint Theresa Convent. Jonathan Paye-Layleh. Liberia 'immoral dress' crackdown By Jonathan Paye-Layleh. News BBC

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Related files: Rev. Lennox Yearwood and the Hip Hop Caucus   The Michael Vick Situation  Banning Saggy Pants  Sagging Pants: The Real Deal