“You know that sagging your pants is a sign in prison that you’re homosexual and your booty is available, right?”
How many times have I heard this? Old people, young people, white people, black people, the list goes on. Now I can’t say that this is entirely false, because for one; I have never spent time in prison so I don’t know the hidden communication techniques that would come with a prison sentence. Also I don’t associate with anybody who has done a prison term to delve into prison myths. All I can do is observe this from a factual standpoint and come to a conclusion based off of what I know and there are three facts in this situation that I know.
One: You can’t own a belt in prison.
The prison system is a dangerous place where they hold many violent offenders. It is also a demoralizing place for many non-violent individuals. So essentially you have a location filled with a lot of dangerous and/or suicidal people. What is one thing you don’t want either of those groups to have access to, any type of weapon. A belt can be used to strangle yourself or others and due to lawsuits and human rights organizations, you want to minimize deaths not associated with death row as often as possible. As a result you’ll find many inmates who have been issued ill-fitting clothing with their pants hanging slightly lower on their waistline where pants naturally rest.
Two: Poverty and what you can afford.
Growing up on welfare I know a thing or two about growing up poor. In your local ghettos over the course of the past couple of decades you’ll find many boys around the teenage age sagging their pants. During your teenage years you go through puberty and many physical changes. As young boys growing into men, you’ll normally notice an incredible growth spurt happening during these years. I remember awkwardly sprouting 5-6 inches one summer alone. Living on welfare, where in many states places you under the poverty line; a single mother can’t afford to continually buy new jeans every few months. So what happens? She will buy the pants a few sizes too big to give you time to grow into them and take some pressure off of the financial burden raising a growing boy alone can place on you. Also a lot of times in these situations, a belt is a luxury not a necessity. So thus that young boy will find himself walking around with pants too big, hanging half way off of his ass.
Three: Hip Hop has popularized the look
Many young boys of all colors, shapes, sizes and economic backgrounds can be found sagging their pants nowadays. This is the direct result of the popularization of this through Hip Hop fashion. What runs rampant through your standard mainstream Hip Hop tales? Growing up in poverty, becoming a man and a lot of times doing time. We as humans are very adaptable. After growing up in environments of sharing your older siblings clothing and spending time in juvenile and correctional facilities without belts, one would naturally embrace that look and bring it into ones day to day fashion. Adaptation. Why do you think after the Civil Rights movement the word nigga became so popular around African Americans? Maybe I’ll save that one for another day…