Finish the analogy: Brooks Brothers is to FUBU as white is to _______.
Answer? That's forthcoming, but instead let's take a fascinating look at an often neglected accoutrement in the world of fashion today,the belt.
One of the biggest faux pas one can commit in the world today is not wearing a belt, as it has been synonymous with a political protest against the racist fashion standards of the white man, and is yet another example of cultural dominance and ethnocentrism over indigenous and formerly captive peoples.
The belt was invented by white people and has long been a tool utilized by white people to hold up their pants - and lately a tool used by women to accentuate their mid-section and give off the impression of being "skinnier" - and keep them from "sagging":
We now have the answer to the riddle from the first sentence, as those who decide to absolve themselves from wearing belts are by and large Black people - the "wigger" is also an individual who finds belt wearing perplexing, but that is for another time to discuss - and this has lead to a whole new world of fashion.
"Belts have been documented for male clothing since the Bronze Age. Both sexes used them off and on, depending on the current fashion, but it was a rarity in female fashion with the exception of the early Middle Ages, late 17th century Mantua, and skirt/blouse combinations between 1900 and 1910. Art Nouveau belt buckles are now collector's items. In the militarain periods, particularly the later half of the 19th century and up until the first World War, the belt was strictly a decorative part of the uniform, particularly among officers. In the armed forces of Prussia, Crimea, and other Eastern European nations, it was common for officers to wear extremely tight, wide belts around the waist, on the outside of the uniform. These tightly cinched belts served to draw in the waist and give the wearer a trim physique, emphasizing wide shoulders and a pouting chest.
Since the mid 1990s, the practice of sagging has been popular at times among young men and boys. This fashion trend consists of wearing the trousers very low on the hips, often exposing the underwear and buttocks of the wearer. This urban style, which has roots tracing to prison gangs and the prohibition of belts in prison (due to their use as weapons and devices for suicide) has remained popular into the 21st century, particularly among pubescent boys."
Did the fashion of Black people not wearing come from prison? Or are the origins far more sinister and homo-erotic? You be the judge:
"We have now come to the point where young men, in particular, have adopted the culture, clothes and language of young African-American males; those individuals are adopting as role models inmates in prison. It is the latter point that creates the problem.This whole idea of homosexuality among Black people in prison and the almost laughable notion put forth by Mr. Maxwell of Black slaves being buggered by their white masters truly sheds new light on the idea of "No Homo" and also opens eyes as to why HIV/AIDs is so rampant in the Black community.
While there is some controversy as to the sources of the new "fashion", baggy pants worn so loosely that they perch somewhere well below the waist, exposing, usually, decorative boxer shorts, most believe it comes from prison inmates. Bill Maxwell, writing in the St. Petersburg Times, suggests an alternative origin derived from slavery times.
Some white masters would rape their African male slaves; subsequently, the victims were forced to wear their pants sagging so that their masters could identify them for future attacks. According to Mr. Maxwell, dehumanized black slaves wearing sagging pants were said to be announcing that they were available for their white masters. Over time, the style became a little-talked-about subculture that seeped into general black culture."
The other version says the fashion developed in prison among black convicts. Judge Greg Mathis, host of a television program, said in Jet Magazine, "In prison you aren't allowed to wear belts to prevent self-hanging or the hanging of others. . . [Inmates] take off the belt and sometimes your pants hang down. ... Many cultures of the prison have overflowed into the community unfortunately. ... Those who pulled their pants down the lowest and showed their behind a little more, that was an invitation. [The youth] don't know this part about it."
Most people in this world - save the fine example of Mormons - have been to a bar, and many have probably seen signs that prohibit people wearing baggy clothes from entering said bar. Obviously, this is a good idea, for if we are to believe the reality of "saggy" pants wearing, then most of these individuals are in danger of suicide or are trying showcase their ancestral connection with their Black fore bearers who were raped by their white masters.
Most interesting, a Google search on "Baggy Pants Law" turns up an astounding 93,000 hits, as cities from Atlanta and Los Angeles debate whether they should outlaw baggy pants and make it criminal (the connotation being that only criminals wear their pants baggy):
Interestingly, this debate on baggy pants and criminality has a number of correlates, as a lot of Black people are in jail and many of those Black people in jail wear baggy pants:
Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin said he's tired of seeing kids and young black men wearing their pants down around their knees. His ordinance would make exposed underwear no different than sex in public.
"It kind of doesn't make sense. It is hard for people to walk," Martin said.
And the councilman has plenty of supporters.
"[There] should be a law against it. I think they should be arrested. They should be fined," said Atlanta resident Beverly Thomas.
"At midyear 2008, there were 4,777 black male inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents being held in state or federal prison and local jails, compared to 1,760 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents and 727 white male inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents."
Yet, are the imperialistic laws against baggy pants yet another clear-cut definition of cultural imperialism directed at Black people in a white world?:
Towns across the country have passed laws banning baggy pants, imposing fines and prison time on the offenders. In Pine Lawn, Missouri, the parents of young offenders could spend 90 days in jail. A proposed bill in Kentucky would fine offenders $1,000 for wearing pants below the waistline.Well, one thing is understood: Black people who wear belts are acting white, and Stuff Black People Don't Like has a new addition - wearing belts - for the origins of "No Homo" needs much more research to prove after learning why Black people don't wear belts.
These laws are misguided because they criminalize expression - anyone arguing that exposure of underwear is indecent exposure should work on amending indecent exposure laws rather than criminalizing a specific clothing style. They're also wrong because they target an urban population and one that includes a large number of African-Americans. We tend to criminalize that which we don't understand, and we tend to make laws that increase contact between police and inner-city youth.