Yesterday I received this message from my cousin in California, who suggested that I pass it on. Barack Obama as Bill Cosby before him received a lot of criticism from segments of the black community for making similar statements. There are many out there in the black community who feel that wearing baggy pants, showing your underwear and using foul language is part of
"our" culture and that they are just "keeping it real" At the same time there are those in the Black community who have a totally different perpective on this dysfunctional behavior, but their voices are seldom heard in print or in the media.
Letter from a college student – Sent by Carl Walker:
The other day, a friend of mine visited me in the lobby of my dorm just to chat while her laundry was drying. As we were chatting, two young freshmen came by. One of the boys wanted to 'talk' to my friend (as in date). She asked him how old they were, and both of the boys replied 18.
My friend and I both laughed hysterically because we are both 22 years old. After my friend left, the young men were still hanging around and one wanted to know how he could gain her interest. The first thing I told him to do was to pull up his pants! He asked why, and then said he liked saggin' his pants. I told him to come over to my computer and spell the word saggin'. Then I told him to write the word saggin ' backwards.
I told him the origin of that look was from centuries ago. It was the intent of slave owners to demoralize the field workers by forbidding them to wear a belt as they worked in the fields or at any other rigorous job. In addition, men in prison wore their pants low when they were 'spoken for'. The other reason their pants looked like that was they were not allowed to have belts because prisoners were likely to try to commit suicide. And, saggin' pants prevents you from running.
We as young Black people have to be the ones to effect change. We are dying. The media has made a mockery of the Black American. Even our brothers and sisters from Africa don't take us seriously. Something as simple as pulling up your pants and standing with your head held high could make the biggest difference in the world's perception of us. It is time to do right by ourselves. We need to love and embrace each other. No one is going to do that for us.
It all comes down to perception. What people perceive is what is reality to them. We have to change not only the media's perception of us, but we need to change our perception of ourselves. Remember all eyes are on you Black Man. All eyes are on you Black Woman. All eyes are on your Black Child. People point the finger at us and expect us to engage in negative and illegal activities, to manifest loud, boisterous behavior, to spend our hard earned money in their stores, buying goods we don't need, or really want. We have allowed not only the media, but also the government and the world to portray us as a 'sub-culture.' They have stripped our culture down to the point where the image of Black people is perpetuated as rappers, athletes, drug users, and consumers of junk food, expensive tennis shoes, expensive cars, expensive TVs, cell phones and not investing in homes for our families.
We are so much more!!!!!!!