KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group that calls itself the “Pull Up Your Pants, Respect Yourself” task force rallied Tuesday in front of City Hall to gain support for a ban on sagging pants in Kansas City, Mo.
Led by Bishop John D. Birmingham, the group is petitioning for an ordinance to ban the sagging pant fashion that has persisted in recent years.
Birmingham wants to gather 3,572 signatures to put his proposed ordinance on the ballot. If approved, anyone caught with saggy pants that reveal an undergarment would be fined between $50 and $100, if they had been previously warned to pull up their pants.
Birmingham says the fashion is disrespectful to the public and should be considered ‘indecent exposure’ and a violation of the public decency law.
Others agree that a line should be drawn.
“I think it’s disrespectful if you to see the underwear,” said Frank White, 62, who supports the proposal. “There’s a lot of young guys who like to take their shirts off because it’s getting hot now and you see the underwear and they got them dropped on their hips. That’s the way they wear them. I understand that’s supposed to be the style but I don’t like the style,” he said.
But opponents say the fashion really isn’t hurting anyone.
“It ain’t no threat to nobody or nothing. All in all I feel like people should be able to dress like they want to dress but respect their community. If they say pull up your pants then pull up your pants,” said Little Bee Reality, who likes to ‘sag’ and opposes the proposal.
Little Bee Reality calls the fashion ‘swag’.
“As long as you are not disrespecting the community, being violent with guns or nothing. I feel like you should be able to sag your pants but at the same time there should be a certain way that we handle it,” he said.
Those who like to sag say if the proposal does become law, it won’t stop saggy pants from continuing to be popular fashion. Little Bee says he’ll pull up his pants when warned, or in front of a police officer, but then sag them back down when there’s no one nearby to fine him.
Birmingham says that’s a start. He wants to at least get young men to know they need to pull up their pants when others are around them. Some supporters concede they may be fighting a losing battle. But ban supporters are frustrated by a sight they believe is becoming too common, and they want to do something to stop it.