Monday, January 19, 2009

Pull Your Pants Up

With my television tuned to the all day coverage of inauguration weekend on MSNBC, I was listening to an interview with the new junior senator from Illinois, Roland Burris on this day when we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Burris was addressing all of the young men to straighten out their lives, and at one point actually said this: “pull your pants up.”
This is something a classroom teacher has to say repeatedly, especially when it appears that a young man’s jeans are just about to hit the floor.

So I was quite taken with Burris’ comment, one that I thought was unique until I discovered that he wasn’t actually the first to utter those words.

Barack Obama was.

It was in an MTV interview that Obama gave just before he won the election in answer to this question, posed by Sway:
“I know people have piercings, tattoos. Eric, in particular, is talking about a ban on sagging pants. Do (you) feel like people should be penalized?”
Obama replied:
“Here is my attitude: I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq, and anybody, any public official, that is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there. Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face, that you don't have to pass a law, but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people and, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them.”
“Brothers should pull up their pants.”

And you know what? If Martin Luther King were alive today, I think that he would be saying the exact same thing.

And not because Six 8 says so, too.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Cornyn calls for transparency in the Clinton foundation or other foundations to post any donations within a months time rather then a year. This supports President Obama's speech talking of trusting the government again, but no the Democrats want to remain "half empty" or turn a blind eye to the situation.

This is ridiculous, let the democrats being half empty continue.

Hal said...

And this has to do with pulling up your pants . . . how?

Did Cornyn drop trou?

Mark Bankston said...

Sorry. Gotta disagree with you and my esteemed President on this one.

I mean, while you're at it, why not tell all those hippies to get a hair cut, or tell those flappers to cover their ankles like a respectable woman would...etc etc etc etc.

Fashion is culture, and culture is the stuff of human motion. And subversion of convention is the hallmark of true American culture.

Lowered pants are a flag, and if you're telling me I shouldn't wave my flag, but should wave your flag instead... Well, now you're somewhere between Bill Cosby and actual socio-cultural fascism.

And really, if the point of all this is to mainstream the maginalized, then the aggressively confrontational attitude of "walk this way, talk this way, dress this way" won't do much good. Empathy is a far better social engineering tool than judgment.

To quote Andre3000 of Outkast: "Is every brother with dreads for the cause? Is every brother with gold for the fall? Nah, so don't get caught up in appearances, like Outkast aquemini, just another black experience."

Worth a quick read:

Rhymes With Right said...

Trust me -- Obama was not the first.

I've been saying it for years.

Mainly because I see too many young men whose pants sag so low that they appear ready to do a remake of "Free Willy". :)

Hal said...

Culture Mark?

Since when is it in the culture for a boy in high school to advertise to others around him about his willingness to be "the catcher" in jail sex?

These boys have no idea what message it is they are sending - a message developed in lockup.

It's not culture. It's cultural ignorance.