The kids are right in that freedom to offend is part of our democracy. But no other ethnic group ever concluded that terrible behavior was a version of ethnic authenticity. That is a black American innovation in cultural imbecility. –Stanley Crouch, Daily News 2010
When America Idol’s General Larry Platt “Pants on the Ground” gained popularity, Simon Cowell’s exasperated prediction that the old man’s song “could be a hit” proved true. “Pants on the Ground” became a national anthem–a joke to many, but a sort of Bill-Cosby-sings-the-blues to others. While many of us are smart enough to find it funny and simply a matter of dress, others use it to express the growing concern for the exposed rear ends of America’s youth, particularly black youth.
Politicians from Louisiana to New York have been leaning to introduce legislation barring the display of underwear. Many of the bills have been shot down in name of freedom of expression, but are gaining acceptance under indecency statutes. Of course, I think the bigger question is why does it matter enough to become a law. In a time where Arizona is banning ethnic studies one must wonder why politicians particularly politicians of color are focusing their energies on rounding up “improperly” dressed youth. Louisiana, really? For all of your failing schools, inflated poverty rate, and oil-infested water. What makes this priority?