I must be getting old.

The things I paid no attention to before scares me today. Or is it the scary direction that some of our younger generation is going?


When it first hit the Black community I thought it was just a fad that would go away. But now, several years later, it’s still here, and has spread to the White communities and now even the girls and young women are doing it.

It’s called showing your butt. I would use a stronger word but this a family paper.

You ask what am I talking about? Young men with their pants hanging down. Some just show off their underwear, but some have their butts all hanging out. Either way it’s a nasty sight. Now as the years have passed they are actually making pants for this style. They come up to the butt so the pants don’t have to hang, they fit tight underneath the butt. Whoever came up with this is making a fortune, but why our young boys, and now men, choose to walk around with their pants hanging down is still a mystery, other than somebody said it’s the style and we followed it blindly like we do every other style.

The hanging pants came from jail/prison. Because people were hanging themselves with belts and using them as weapons most penal institutions eliminated the belt, which led to pants hanging. Then it was taken to the extreme. The saying from many people who have spent time behind bars, is that when the pants are hanging down below the butt it’s letting other inmates know that this b… is taken.

I don’t know how true this is in that I’ve never been to jail and have no urge to even visit. But if I were there I would hang my pants to keep the fellows off by behind.

This is why it has me mystified as to why anybody would want to bring anything they learned in jail from jail. I would want to leave it all behind me, right there in the jail cell. But to some, the real gangstas I guess, it’s a badge of pride to say I was in jail. And most don’t seem to mind spending time, because they come out and start doing exactly what they did to go there in the first place. Well I guess its three meals a day and a roof over your head.

At one time this was a Black thang, but now it’s spreading to the White boys. First the White boys in the ‘hood,’ and now it’s out in the suburbs. Will the suit and tie become a thing of the past? I’ve seen a few White boys around where I work with their pants hanging, but they had their shirts hanging to cover their butts. But what happens when they become the boss? What a scary thought.

But until they do, a word to all the young brothers out there (as well as the old), pull your pants up. Especially if you expect to get a decent job, we have enough going against us already and this is something we can correct.

If you don’t have the sagging pants you are totally un-cool, not hep, square among many young males. Everybody wants to be a gangsta. Isn’t it time for us to start leading instead of following?

It wasn’t enough for the boys to be showing their butts, now the girls are doing it. Low Riders.

I must really be getting old.

I was sitting on the bus and almost every girl who got on was showing the crack of their butts. And the bigger the girl the more they were showing. I was somewhat embarrassed for them and felt somewhat offended. Why should I have to look at this on the bus or the streets Downtown, or anywhere? I guess I’ve been out of touch.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a Black man I love to see women in tight pants showing their butt, or short skirts showing their legs, or tight tops or shorts, but showing the crack of your butt is even offensive to me. It has gotten so bad that I had to approach a young woman who was bending over getting something in the store with her kids, showing it all. I said, “Honey, you are showing all your behind, you need to lose those pants, or get a longer top, especially in front of the kids.”

Her response was “why are you looking?” and trying to be calm, I said, “Honey no one can miss you.”

This style has become the rage of just about all the teenage girls and young women. And what’s so scary is that mothers are buying their daughters these outfits.

That’s why I was so proud of a friend when she flat out told her daughter, “There’s no way I’m buying that with my money. Why do you want to look like a whore?”

“Because that’s the style,” responded the girl, “everybody is wearing them today.”

Who comes up with these styles? And why are our kids blindly showing their butts? And why are adults not more concerned?

I would think that our female leaders would be outraged over this degrading of our young women. But maybe they are following in the footsteps of the Black male leaders who have said nothing about the hanging pants on our youth and young adults for the past 10 to 20 years.

Maybe there’s nothing alarming about this. Maybe I’m just getting old.

(Ulish Carter is managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)

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