Oh come on…really?
Sagging is the practice of wearing pants that are too large and which sit several inches below their natural home at one’s waistline. It first became widespread among young African American males, although you can easily find members of other genders and ethnic groups with their pants on the ground. Now I’m no fan of the practice, but I’m also no fan of lies. The practice of sagging has had more myths and half-truths heaped upon it than Chuck Norris. You’ve no doubt heard some of them:
- Sagging started in prisons where homosexuals would wear their pants low to indicate that they were sexually available.
- Or maybe sagging was involuntary: inmates who had been forcibly sodomized by their fellow inmates had their belts confiscated by the warden for fear of suicide by hanging. Their pants naturally sagged as a result.
- Or sagging was adopted by young black men as a way to distance themselves from what they perceived as typically white or homosexual dress: tight-fitting pants.
Of course sagging probably has nothing at all to do with homosexuality. Snopes says the look did start in prisons, but only because prison-issue clothes were generally ill-fitting, causing them to slink low on the hips of the wearer. While this explanation is slightly less offensive in that it isn’t explicitly homophobic, it still has the feel of a just-so story. I always assume that any cultural trend has its roots in changing socioeconomic norms and a generation’s attempt to establish its own identity and I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it so let’s move on.
Whatever the origin of sagging as a practice, I’m pretty sure the word sagging (or saggin, which my spell-checker will not let me write without a vicious struggle) is not a “cleverly” disguised way for white people to hurl racist epithets at black people. For one, racists just aren’t that clever. For two, people who are truly motivated by their racial hatred don’t sit around thinking of ways to disguise their racism. If they want to say the n-word, they’ll say the n-word.
Third, and I cannot emphasize this enough, not all white people are racist pricks. Some are, but not all of us. Although I can’t speak for everybody, I try to find more creative outlets for my energy than devising ways to be a clandestine racist. For example, I spew my snark upon idiotic memes…like this one.