Atlanta considers banning baggy pants

baggypants.jpg(Associated Press) Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta’s indecency laws. The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an “epidemic” that is becoming a “major concern” around the country. “Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it’s the in thing,” Martin said Wednesday. “I don’t want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future.” The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

Mystech: Its nice to see that, having solved lagging education scores, teen pregnancy, school violence, obesity and poverty, the visionary city of Atlanta is moving forward to tackle the last refuge of societal shortcoming. Jog my memory, do we elect these guys or are their appointments a vending machine prize?

The proposed ordinance states that “the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments” would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals.

The penalty would be a fine in an amount to be determined, Martin said.

But Seagraves said any legislation that creates a dress code would not survive a court challenge. She said the law could not be enforced in a nondiscriminatory way because it targets something that came out of the black youth culture.

“This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling,” Seagraves said.

Martin, who is black, said he plans to hold public hearings and vet the proposal through churches, civil rights groups and neighborhood organizations. The proposal will get its first public airing next Tuesday in the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

“The purpose of the paper is to generate some conversation to see if we can find a solution,” Martin said. “It will be like all the discussions we’ve had around the value of the hip-hop culture. We know there are First Amendment issues … and some will say I’m just trying to put young black men in jail, but it’s going to be fines.”

Makeda Johnson, an Atlanta mother of a 14-year-old girl, said she is glad Martin introduced the proposal. She does not want to see a law against clothing, but said she thinks teenagers are sending a message with a way of dressing that is based in jailhouse behavior.

Atlanta would not be the first city to take on sagging pants.

Earlier this year, the town council in Delcambre, La., passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Several other municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Morgan says:

    I hope they don’t pass it. Not because of any sort of civil liberties thing or because they should be focusing on more important things, but because the police departments LOVE big baggy pants. It makes it very, very hard for criminals to outrun them, because they get tangled in their pants or lose them all together.

  2. Mystech says:

    I recall seeing an article or two where suspects were apprehended exactly as you described… tripping over their own pants while trying to outrun police.

    Some of the other “decency” sections are just plain prudish and silly. “jogging bras in public or show a bra strap”? There goes jogging in public and breast feeding.

  3. Morgan says:

    Well, breastfeeding in public wouldn’t be affected, because it is protected by specific laws exempting it from any public indecency regulations.

    Is it possible to jog in private? I mean, you can jog in a deserted area, but that’s still out in the open.

    Jon is all in favor of young hoodlums wearing giant pants.

  4. Mystech says:

    Jogging in private would include private parks, indoor gyms/facilities and home treadmills.

    As far as breastfeeding goes, it seems to me that its not unlikely that the same segment of the population that is threatened by an errant bra-strap would be similarly insecure around the natural biologic process of nurturing an infant and might not hesitate to undermine that right.

    I wonder of the Zoot Suiters got this much grief for their fashion statement.

  5. Morgan says:

    I think they could try to undermine it, but considering the last modification to the GA breastfeeding law passed with only one vote shy of a unanimous yay (our ol’ pal Phil Gingrey *shudder* — an obstetrician, for Pete’s sake!), I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. Though public opinion on breastfeeding remains divisive, legally, it’s nothing but forward momentum.

    I like Zoot Suits, but it’s not a look most guys can really pull off.

  6. Lemon says:

    I’m with Mystech. I think this is a slippery slope thing, and that it would have to be overturned eventually anyway because of too many special situations. All it would take would be one breastfeeding mother being ticketed–whether she was protected or not, you know someone would–or a woman who accidentally showed bra straps and the whole thing would be shot to hell.

    I do think that private businesses and schools both public and private ought to be allowed to refuse service to people in giant pants or outright ban them, though.

  7. Morgan says:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s up to individuals to be decent enough to dress properly, and not for the state or city to mandate a dress code. I’m in favor of thugs dressing like thugs. 😉

  8. Mystech says:

    If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that the city of Atlanta WANTED to get taken to court over such a silly law.

Leave a Reply