Meanwhile, I want to say this: shame on you, Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts. Shame, shame, shame. The proper response, if you earnestly think that a law puts young males who sag their pants at risk of a three year prison sentence, is to protest the absurd injustice. What sort of community organization celebrates the alleged possibility of that punishment?
Their Web site has a statement that sheds additional light on the situation. The statement is a bit unwieldy, but I promise that if you read to the end of it you won't be disappointed by the kicker:
The video targeted to young urban dwellers in Massachusetts is the brainchild of Dr. Omar Reid, President and Founder of BMHAM... the video's purpose is to address the growing issue of young men walking in the streets of our communities without regard and respect for themselves and their community. "For the BMHAM it's a behavioral health issue in our neighborhoods and communities that must be addressed the entire community," says Dr. Reid. "This is just the beginning of our public strategy to encourage parents, schools, police, social service agencies, housing agencies, faith based organizations along with men and women in our community to take a collective stand and tell our young men and boys to pull those pants up," said Reid.
Dr. Reid says he plans to expand running the videos and others anti-saggy pants information into other Massachusetts TV, radio, internet and billboard markets, including Springfield, Brockton, Lawrence and other parts of the state. The group also plans to create giant billboards targeted to the saggy pants trend. Dr. Reid and his BMHAM organization are planning a fundraising campaign to pay for videos and billboards. Like the video, each billboard will feature two male models whose pants are hanging so low their underwear is showing.
They're so put off by having to see pant-sagging on the street that they plan to purchase multiple giant billboards showing exposed underpants to all who pass! You can't make this stuff up.
Is it any wonder that America has an incarceration crisis? Even well-meaning Massachusetts do-gooders, who self-describe as "the primary and collective voice of Black Americans, ethnic cultural groups and poor people who may not be represented at the mental health policy table," are totally nonplussed by the notion of 3 years in prison as an okay possibility for pants sagging.
To punish it with fines should be an outrage.
As a point of contrast, I couldn't help but think of this story, from a largely white, affluent Boston institution:
Thousands of not-so-bashful Northeastern University students stripped to
their bras, panties and boxer shorts last weekend and jogged down
Huntington Avenue as part of the traditional Underwear Run.The Friday night fun run started on a campus quad, continued through
other parts of the Fenway campus, through traffic down Huntington Avenue
and then through the Prudential Center mall.
It was the 7th year for the event.
I would laugh my head off if this item resulted in the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts buying an additional billboard where co-ed models depict the Northeastern Underwear Run.