Across Georgia, multiple cities and counties have debated, and some have actually introduced, bans on sagging pants. The recent discussions and introductions of “pants” ordinances across Georgia are seen by many as a new way for law enforcement officers to target African American teens and men.
Waynesboro and Atlanta both wrote up “anti-sagging” ordinances but neither ever put anything into effect. Augusta commissioners are currently trying to decide if they’ll add sagging pants to their indecent exposure laws.
Although in Augusta the ordinance is getting a lot of pushback for targeting African Americans, including from two of Augusta’s commissioners, the ordinance has already passed in a few areas in Georgia. Albany, Cairo, Plains, Dublin, Moultrie, and Hampton already have “pants ordinances.”
Unfortunately, these “pants” ordinances are representative of a larger, growing pattern of institutional discrimination and profiling in Georgia. Just a few months ago, House Representative Johnnie Caldwell (R-Thomaston) tried to pass a bill that would’ve silenced thousands of African American voters with an unlawful racial gerrymander.
In the past week, federal courts found Georgia immigration agents guilty of racial profiling and attempts to unlawfully deport undocumented people. Racial discrimination and profiling continues to disturb, and in some cases ruin, the lives of people of color in Georgia.
We have to continue to hold lawmakers and law enforcement accountable when they try to implement clearly racist policies. Whether it’s something as sacred as voting rights or as innocuous as how someone chooses to wear their pants, all Georgians deserve the right to live without fear of discrimination from our leaders.