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  • Is A Ban On Saggy Pants The ‘New Jim Crow’?

    A civil rights leader in Louisiana is calling a proposed clothing ordinance that could ban daisy dukes and sagging pants in Opelousas the “new Jim Crow.”

    Raymond Brown, president of civil rights group National Action Now in New Orleans, is stirring outrage over a potential ban on sagging pants that was proposed by Opelousas police chief Donald Thompson, saying it targets young black men.

    “We believe that incarcerating black men you are actually supporting the new Jim Crow,” Brown said in a statement. “With the tension this high, we don’t need this kind of tension in the community targeting African American men.”

    The ban, discussed at a March 10 city council meeting, could include penalties of up to $200 in fines and 30 days in jail. It’s also not the first in Louisiana. Marjorie Esman, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that several towns in Louisiana have similar ordinances, but they are unnecessary since public exposure is already illegal in the state.

    The ACLU sent an open letter to the city council questioning the constitutionality of the measure, but on Monday Esman told TheDCNF she had not received a response.

    “Given that it is usually associated with young African American men, the very idea of it appears to be racially targeted,” Esman told TheDCNF.

    Media reports have indicated that there is widespread support for the ordinance. Thompson told KATC he estimates that at least 70 percent of Opelousas residents favor it.

    “I’m prepared to go to court, whatever the case may be,” Thompson, who is black, said in the city council meeting. “However, as your chief police, [saggy pants are] disrespectful to the city of Opelousas and disrespectful to those in public.”

    City Councilman Tyrone Glover said during the council meeting that if there is an ordinance, it should also ban shorts known as “Daisy Dukes,” tight shorts made famous by the popular show “Dukes of Hazzard.”

    Esman would not say whether the ACLU would take legal action if sagging pants are banned, but she did say her group has not yet pursued a lawsuit on this issue.

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