WHEREAS, the Terrebonne Parish Council finds that appearing in public view while exposing one’s skin or undergarments below the waist is contrary to safety, health, peace, and good order of the parish, and the general welfare...
Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana passed an ordinance this week to ban saggy pants in public. Terrebonne Parish, in case you were wondering, is in that little part of Louisiana that’s underneath Mississippi but isn’t New Orleans, and is home to about 111,000 folks.
The ordinance includes no measurements or other type of specification on how low the pants have to be to be inappropriate, how much underwear or skin is enough to incite a ticket, and unfortunately no visual aids as examples of inappropriate clothing. The patent office figured it out, but we’re waiting for every other governmental agency to figure out that visual aids are informative, and fun!
Offenders of this grievous anti-saggy pants ordinance will be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $100 plus 16 hours of mandatory community service for the third offense. A judge will determine the punishment for any further violations.
The new ordinance it “unlawful for any person to appear in public view or in a public place wearing pants, skirts or other clothing below the waist which expose the skin or undergarments.”
Temporarily disregarding the generally silly nature of the ordinance itself, let’s take a look at the way it’s written. We understand that “expose the skin or undergarments” is intended to mean “expose the skin or undergarments between the waist and the top of the clothing item worn around the waist.” But, that’s not what they said. What they said was “clothing below the waist which exposes the skin.” Sounds to us like you can no longer wear any clothing below the waist except, well, pants. And if you wear pants, don’t you dare wear peeptoe heels! (Or loafers with no socks, thus exposing your ankles, BL1Y.) Skirts, shorts, skorts, capris, and ankle pants all expose some skin below the waist. …Though perhaps some of though ought to be banned.
Do you even have to wear pants? seems to be the obvious follow up question. While the Terrebonne Parish City Code makes nudity and semi nudity in public places illegal, they define nudity to mean “the appearance of a human bare buttock, anus, male genitals, female genitals, or female breast,” and semi nudity just means that you have some kind of opaque clothing covering those areas, but only those areas. So you can’t expose those areas, and you can’t expose everything but those areas. Sounds like the start of a great LSAT logic game, but the way we understand it, you can toss on a shirt and undies, and be just fine because while your skin and underwear is exposed, you’re not wearing pants or anything else below the waist which is doing the said exposing.
We find the whole ordinance rather unnecessary, but the local NAACP chapter wholeheartedly agreed with the ban, declaring, “There is nothing positive about people wearing saggy pants. This is not a black issue, this is not a white issue, this is a people issue.”
While this isn’t the first time a municipality has attempted or enacted an anti-saggy pants ban, this is the first time the local NAACP chapter agreed with it. Not the first time the NAACP has weighed in, mind you. Just the first time they’ve weighed in on the wrong side.
There are really only two reasons for a law like this: you either really want a dress code for your parish because you’re the sort of busy body who needs to control everyone’s life, or you want the police to have a cover for racial profiling and harassment, because you’re the sort of busy body who wants to harass poor black people without going through the effort of pretending to smell marijuana.
And the only reason for the local NAACP chapter to support the bill, which come on, we all know is designed to go after black kids, is that the NAACP leadership has gotten old, and now their opinions of black youth are starting to align with the white opinions they experienced when they were younger. There is a group for that, by the way. It’s called the AARP. Maybe they should merge and form an NAARCP, and leave the NAACP to people who think black people are better served by having liberties than by being told how to dress.