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Sagging Pants: Fashion Emergency Or Criminal Act?

Local PSA Targets Sagging Pants

The Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts has produced a new PSA, one that targets young men. The issue? Sagging pants.

This isn’t anything new — campaigns against the fashion trend have been going on for some time across the country.  But this campaign is different — in the video, an actor playing a policeman claims that you “can be fined up to $300, be placed in a state prison for up to three years or be placed in a county jail for up to two years.”

This isn’t the first time saggy pants have been targeted by community groups. But it is the first time an anti-sag PSA has claimed that wearing your pants too low is against the law.

We should say right here — it is not.  Suffolk County prosecutors say the Black Mental Health Alliance is basing their claim on a very loose interpretation of state lewdness laws, and that they would never press charges on anyone wearing saggy pants.

Community advocates and observers say threatening young people with criminal action isn’t the right direction but defenders of the PSA say they hope the video sparks a discussion and hopefully — a change.

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  • J__o__h__n

    Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts has too much time and money.  Spreading false legal claims is a bigger problem than saggy pants. 

    • Hope

      Massachusetts does NOT need still another law to criminalize and imprison working class and minority youth.  

      I am disappointed that a psychologist like Mr. Reid and his Black Mental Health Alliance  would want to criminalize kids.  Let’s support and mentor them! When I was worried about my own kids’ dyed-blue hair and all-black clothing, I tried to remember they would grow out of it – and they did. 

      I was amazed to learn that a mental health alliance has $2000 a  month to spend for this ad.  Is ALEC paying the bill?

  • J__o__h__n

    If wearing saggy pants is obscene, isn’t this PSA child pornography? 

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    99.95% of the people wearing the pants below the butt style do not know the origin of the style in Prison, so not to be rude but your guest is Rationalizing stupidity.

    Have some self-respect.  Pull your pants up.  No one wants to see your old stained and falling apart underwear.

    • Jjpmahon

      The ‘myth’ about prison you’re referring to is just that – a myth. And it is not a saggy pants epidemic that is causing our youth ( note that I say youth, not black youth. I see white kids in NH who wear their pants just as low ) to act out in a criminal manner. What causes them to act out is a lack of responsible parenting, a biased education system, and a myriad of other issues that this PSA fails to address. Underwear is not lewd. Underwear is not offensive. And underwear is certainly not revealing in this case, as most of these boys are wearing boxers so big they could pass for shorts! These are not men in thongs with their cheeks hanging out. People that are offended by this are either immature or (yes I’ll say it) racist. If this is such an issue, why do we not also have a PSA about teenage girls who let their thongs hang out? Why do we not arrest the women who wear tops so low cut that their boobs are hanging out? Nipples and all. In fact I think I might prefer a pair of boxers in my view instead of some random overweight woman’s with acne covered breasts. Seems to me this PSA was made by someone who can’t seem to pull their head out of the past. Whether it be the past prejudices or past prude ideologies, this threat is silly. I’m a Caucasian male. I live in Boston currently. I prefer skinny jeans. But sometimes I wear my baggy pants and yes, they do hang halfway down my butt. I also study physics at a reputable school in Boston. Am I gross? Lewd? Criminal? … I don’t think so.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    There’s Classy and There’s Trashy…  Which one do you think saggy pants is?

  • Samuraent

    WHAT makes The so-called “Black Mental Health Alliance of MA” so concerned about sagging pants? Why is this an issue for them? Its effect has only seemed to be the continued criminalization of black youth, and as a catalyst for further racial segregation, stereotype and prejudice. SAGGING PANTS ARE NOT WHAT IS WRONG WITH BLACK AMERICA!!!!!

    “Hey black kids pull up your pants or else!, just a friendly warning from your neighborhood police officer and the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts!!!!!”

  • Guest

    Arrest all sagging pants wearers for indecent exposure. Three years in prison will cure them or give them a place to live. Either way, we don’t have to see it. Thanks.

    • Johan Corby

      Seems like a great way to use taxpayer money. Say $30K a year for a person to be locked up? A mere $100K because the sight of someone’s undies is unsetting to you? Grow up.

  • J__o__h__n

    Is there a group that is protesting the broadcasting the images of sagging pants into the homes of decent Bostonians? 

  • Jjpmahon

    The ‘myth’ about prison you’re referring to is just that – a myth. And it is not a saggy pants epidemic that is causing our youth ( note that I say youth, not black youth. I see white kids in NH who wear their pants just as low ) to act out in a criminal manner. What causes them to act out is a lack of responsible parenting, a biased education system, and a myriad of other issues that this PSA fails to address. Underwear is not lewd. Underwear is not offensive. And underwear is certainly not revealing in this case, as most of these boys are wearing boxers so big they could pass for shorts! These are not men in thongs with their cheeks hanging out. People that are offended by this are either immature or (yes I’ll say it) racist. If this is such an issue, why do we not also have a PSA about teenage girls who let their thongs hang out? Why do we not arrest the women who wear tops so low cut that their boobs are hanging out? Nipples and all. In fact I think I might prefer a pair of boxers in my view instead of some random overweight woman’s with acne covered breasts. Seems to me this PSA was made by someone who can’t seem to pull their head out of the past. Whether it be the past prejudices or past prude ideologies, this threat is silly. I’m a Caucasian male. I live in Boston currently. I prefer skinny jeans. But sometimes I wear my baggy pants and yes, they do hang halfway down my butt. I also study physics at a reputable school in Boston. Am I gross? Lewd? Criminal? … I don’t think so.

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