Black Youths & The Sagging Pants Dilemma

sagging pants on black youths

Jeevan Robinson

Release Date

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Pull those pants up young man!

What is it with some of our young men who seem to think it is cool to walk around with their trousers falling off their backsides, almost at their knees? I need someone to give a good explanation so I can grasp the fashion sense much less the common sense in this style of dressing by some of our young men. Seriously!

I find it vile, disgusting and to a large extent self defeating. It is bad enough that we live in a world that seems to automatically stereotype our young men as thugs, underachievers and lacking ambition. Godspeed to those who try hard to rise against this tide of negative perceptions. But when we have a vast number of our youths walking around in sagging trousers as if they are the coolest cats' on the block, then therein lays one of the fundamental issues affecting the black community.

I wonder sometimes, do these young men know the meaning or the origins of them dressing in this manner? It panders to idiocy and falls quickly in line with the rich volume of racial profiling that is so common towards many of our young black men. As I understand it, the sagging trousers look goes back to the 80_s and 90_s where young men involved in gangs and violence wore their trousers that way as a mark of recognition towards their gangster lifestyle. Going back even further, a more sinister reason for this style of dressing says that the sagging trousers look actually originated in prison where it was seen as a fashion statement.' Also within prison culture, inmates would wear their trousers sagging to let other inmates know they were available for gay sex. Today, so many of our young men dress this way without question.

Being very keen on history, politics and socio-economic structures, it has not fallen short of my recognition that there are very many challenges still confronting the advancement of the black community. We have made strides, notable strides. There is still a sect though that blames the white man for our all round lack of social and economic mobility. I am not saying that this does not exist but tell me, do our young men do themselves any favours when they walk around with their trousers half way down to their knees with a swagger and bounce that often comes over as threatening, even to others of the same ethnicity?

Black activists complain about the white man' holding back young black men. I think sometimes it is first good to look inwards at our community and be honest there first. Do not get me wrong; I am not condoning any form of mistreatment by any race towards another. Especially the black race, God only knows, our history is colourful enough with oppression but our young men must begin to rise up and lift the state of their minds and their dress code, Crime, drugs, fatherless babies and unemployment are killing our society and before we look outward for help and cast blame, we must as a community, rally around to help lift our young men off the ground.

We see them on the streets everyday. Police pull them over everyday! Most times not because they are seen committing some crime but simply because they look suspicious and gangster, with sagging trousers and that rise and fall swagger type of walking. We must inform our young men that society and its stereotypes will pigeonhole them as undesirables if they do not seek to uplift themselves. The sagging trousers surely does not help their cause.

Which one of these young men in their sagging pants can truly expect to walk into a place of business, looking that way and be hired? It's about respect for self and also respect for our combined histories as black people and the communities in which we live.

No society is perfect but for ours to keep rising, our young men will have to soon seek to lessen the idolizing of undesirable influences and seek positive role models to emulate.

Photo Credits to Real Talk

Jeevan Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of MNI Alive. He can be contacted at

Latest Stories