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Shouting Match Breaks Out on CNN over “Pull Your Pants Up Challenge”

After the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, America’s attention is on the nation-wide problem of racial disparity in arrests and police action like never before. Concurrently with the days and nights of protest, on social media the ALS ice-bucket challenge has become ubiquitous raising money and awareness about the disease. While two events unfolding simultaneously could have never been more disconnected, naturally people are trying to draw connections between the two. In fact one blogger actually tried to suggest that the ALS challenge went viral only because white people wanted to avoid stories about Ferguson.

While that is certainly nonsense, others have tried to connect the two. One person (and U.S. Marine), Malik King, has gone viral with not an “ice bucket” challenge but a “pull your pants up” challenge for black men. King says that dressing that way, not only reflects poorly on oneself as a person but also provides a kind of excuse for the sort of profiling that happens by police.

In a discussion about it on CNN, according to Mediaite.com, Marc Lamont Hill, professor and social justice talking head, was the sole voice rallying against the challenge. “[This video] suggests…that somehow there’s a connection between black male profiling and [sagging pants,]” Hill said. He also suggested this is blaming the victim. Hill suggested it’s a harmless youthful fashion trend that people eventually grow out of.

However King and Tara Setmayer, a Blaze TV host, both claimed that it absolutely did play a role in creating the profile that police currently look for. More so against Hill’s point is how quickly media outlets on the right, such as Fox News, invoke the word “thug” when describing those who’ve been killed suspiciously like Mike Brown or Trayvon Martin.

Setmayer said that when black commenters in the media like Hill argue against something as common sense as “pulling up your pants,” that it highlights a larger problem with “self-reflection” amongst black Americans.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.