Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rant Sparked by Accidental Racist- How Not to Dress

So if you don't know Accidental Racist is a song by Brad Paisley featuring LL Cool J. If you haven't heard it take this time to hear it.

As you can imagine there's a bit of controversy over this song, but I'm not going to talk about the common subjects that appear in the conversations this has started. Trust me you can find plenty of that elsewhere. Two lines stood out to me though:"The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south "(Paisley) and "Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good "(LL) And that's because even if you somehow find this song to be "deep" and don't attribute these looks to racism, that doesn't mean they are positive nor should be celebrated.
First off we all know there's only one elephant in the South and it lives in Alabama.

yeah I don't get football...
 But seriously, I've seen these fashion statements and frankly they do a lot more harm than good despite the fact that the people wearing them could be genuinely good people. Let's split this up and see why. I'm going to start with the rebel flag and will let you know that I'm not going to use the "it's racist" argument. We've all heard it before. However, I do think it is ill-considered especially when I hear the reasons why many non-racist people wear them:
  • It stands for rebelling against the system!
  • It means I don't want the federal government neck deep in my personal and local affairs
  • It's  a symbol of southern pride!
Here is why these arguments aren't that strong in the modern era. The rebel flag was a representation of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Why did the war start? Well the south had their imports taxed highly by the federal government, putting the north at an economic advantage because they were producing goods that the South usually got overseas for cheap. The southern states said, "f*ck that" and started the argument that they could nullify such bills. Plus abolitionism was a big thing and the south claimed that the government wasn't protecting what was legally their "property".

The rebel flag makes plenty of sense during this time of a very unstable nation. However, let's fast forward just a little bit after the Union won.

The South was practically in ruins. Thankfully, the federal government stepped in again with what's known as the Reconstruction period. This period involved defeating famine, improving education and legislation, initiating the rights for slaves and oh yeah fostering in an industrial era for a large part of the country. So without the help of the feds well...

This is only a fraction of companies. If the South wasn't repaired it wouldn't have become the birthplace or north american division for so many companies. So if you brandish the reb flag now, but go to a restaurant, use electricity, do anything car related, eat snacks or soda, watch TV, use electronics, like air travel, banks, cruises or hate chapped lips then you may have conflicting values happening. In the end it's a symbol from another time that made sense FOR THAT TIME, but not in today's world. You can't pick and choose what it means and expect everyone around to high five you. It doesn't make you look like a rebel but an ass especially if you are aware of the history behind it . There are other symbols to represent your passions.

For the last reasoning,- it's a symbol of southern pride- I get it. I'm southern, too, and yeah there's a lot of awesome stuff and culture down here! However, using an archaic and divisive symbol is not the way to go. The rebel flag represents 19th century southern pride not 21st century. Think about it, who was this flag, this symbol, made for? Definitely not the descendants of slaves, or the immigrants who came later and helped make this nation great. So when you wear that symbol it's not truly for pride of today's more tolerant, intelligent and multicultural south. It's an embarrassment to ALL of your fellow citizens.  But again, I get it, I would like a, "the South is f*ckin awesome!" symbol. Maybe there should be an initiative started to make a modern honest flag.
You're right. There isn't nearly enough fried food

Got a better one? Awesome, show me. Now onto saggy pants. Excuse me if this part of the rant isn't as long but hey the Rebel Flag was created over a 150 years ago. I could have said way more! The sagging pants trend, as far as I know, is around 20 years, but man has it done its fair share of damage. I think this weird trend started in the nineties with hardcore musicians like... um...Kriss Kross?   
Again let's look at origins. The sagging pants look started in prison culture. Some say in the 70's and some would argue it goes earlier than that. Belts and inmates became a tricky mixture at times...

Needless to say belts were banned and the sagging began. There are also rumors that sagging was a sign within the prison homosexual subculture that you were available.
Hmm needs more shoujo...

At first I began to conclude that this was just a rumor but recently a friend showed me this. You probably recognize this guy as inspiration for on a special episode of Boondocks, but go ahead and listen to what he says at the 2 minute mark.

Sexy or not no one can deny how stupid this really looks. Yes we get it. Tough guys in prison did it so people who want to appear tough do it too. But here's the thing: guys in prison had no choice while regular people in society DO. Of all the aspects of tough prison culture this is the worst to display. Anyone copying it doesn't look tough from sagging pants they look lazy because everyone around know you can go to the nearest thrift store and buy one for $2.

To me though it has reached new lows  in the new century. Now it seems like there's an effort to present boxers and briefs belt or not.
Form fitting jeans with a functioning belt... you're actually working to keep them low. Ow my pride in humans...
I know it's a fad, often caught on by teenagers fueled by celebrities. Let's face it we were all teenagers and liked a lot of stupid trends. It's normal in a time of life when you are finding your own identity. I'm not defending teenagers who like this trend because they're embracing a go-nowhere culture. But again most teenagers aren't as smart as they like to think they are,  and you hope they know better as they grow. BUT when I see an adult embracing the saggy look it infuriates me. Why? Because you can't wear such garbage and expect to be given the title MAN. Simple as that. You don't look like a man (or woman) when you do that. You look juvenile. PERIOD. Too hard to grasp? Let me help you.

All in all it's a look that promotes prison culture, looks lazy and childish as hell not tough nor attractive. As a young woman I never want a guy's number if I see his pants are sagging. It's an automatic deal breaker before he gets a word in because it tells me something about his attitude and common sense. I want to pull them down out of spite or help him find his mother because he looks like a lost kid. We need a society with more men not little boys and wannabes.

So there you have it. No wearing the rebel flag doesn't automatically make you a racist and saggin' jeans don't mean you're up to no good. But by trying to present them positively for whatever reason does not help yourself nor your community. While people in society are working hard to make progress you're doing the opposite. I promise most posts won't be so long. I just needed to get this off my chest. If you decide to share this with someone be sure to let them know you are coming from a place of love.  

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