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Is a Florida Town’s Saggy Pants Ban Just an Excuse for Racial Profiling?

A Florida town has banned saggy pants.

Ocala City Council has made it a crime to don underwear-revealing baggy bottoms on sidewalks, streets, parks, sports, recreation and public transportation facilities, and threatens to fine offenders $500 or six-months in jail for anyone refusing to wear better fitting duds.

The councilwoman behind the measure said that she just wants to make her town look nicer and spare people from seeing other people’s undies on the street.

“I just think it’s disgraceful to show your underwear. We try to be a nice, clean city.  I think it’ll help clean it up some,” she said.

Critics, however, are quick to point out that the ban is very specific and targets dress common but not exclusive to African-American males while staying mum on other underwear-revealing garb, like hip-hugging jeans or tank tops that allow bra straps to show.

They also point out that the ability to stop people just on the basis of what they are wearing can lead to police harassment and unnecessary arrests.

“I think this is a form of harassment. It gets you pulled to the side, (so they can) harass you, search you and have a right to do whatever they want to,” resident Curt Brown told the local news, adding that he thinks that it is just an excuse to profile young African-American men.

Resident Adia Crumley said she thinks that the saggy pants ban is about money. “It just makes no sense whatsoever. It’s another way to lock people up and put them in jail so the city can make money off of that.”

Rich, however, counters that when she proposed the bill she was not thinking of the color of the people’s skin, but the offensiveness of their visible underwear.

“It doesn’t matter what color they are, they all wear their pants down,” she said in defense of the now on-the-books saggy pants ban in her town.

Photo Credit: Malingering

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.

  • Joel Colquitt

    No, this is not “racial profiling.” First of all, young men of all races (white, black, Hispanic, etc,) “sag.” It’s not symbolic of fashion or trend. It’s just a sign of blatant disrespect. No one, and I do mean no one, wants to see your underwear! I would support any such law here in Dallas, as you cannot go to the local grocery store or ride the public transportation without being exposed to some ignorant fool who thinks he looks cool by letting half of his shorts be exposed to the entire world. Even if it was mainly a fad worn by African American youth, not every black teenager or young man does this. Just the ones who have no problem being completely and wholly unemployable. It’s a fad of young wannabe thugs who wish to perpetuate an image of gang-bangers and whatnot. Please, by all means, take legal action against them! If I walked around the block in my boxer shorts, I’d be hauled in for indecent exposure. I beg you to tell me what’s the difference in what these people are doing every time they leave their homes with half of their underwear hanging out!

    • Katiedidnt1

      I wish they would also ban “skinny jeans” and low cut waist jeans on women I have to say over the last few years I have seem way to many female bare bottoms and thongs than I would like – (One is too many) There are too many “womanly women” who “think” they fit in these jeans who certainly don’t. If you can’t tell your behind is exposed, that’s a problem IMHO. I am not interested in seeing your thong or your bare butt bursting out of your jeans when you sit or bend over OMG my EYES!!!! MY EYES!!!! 😛

  • Fed_Up_45

    I think they oughta be shot in the but…..the idea of doing this is stupid and it makes no frigging sense at all….who wants to see your drawers…I say lock them all up or shoot them in the head.