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Two prominent African-American political leaders, state Sens. Malcolm Smith and Eric Adams, have launched a campaign to persuade youth, especially black teenagers, to stop wearing jeans that fall off their butts, exposing their boxer shorts.
For years this has been a kind of fashion statement that began in black neighborhoods and has spread to white and Latino communities. Some say the sagging pants can be traced to Rikers Island, where prisoners are not allowed to wear belts because they can be used as weapons. Having pants falling down became an unfortunate status symbol.
We applaud the senators for their “Stop the Sag” campaign, but we fear their opinions do not carry much weight with children who have taken up this fashion. We agree with Smith, who said, “Teenagers historically have pushed the envelope with fashion trends as a rite of passage. However, it is the responsibility of the adults in our communities to be positive role models and teach our youth to take pride in the image they project.”
We fear there will be little impact until kids hear a criticism of this infantile fashion from NBA players and rap stars.
Until then, nice try.
At Last, Justice
TimesLedger Newspapers has followed the campaign of Bayside community leader Mandingo Tshaka, who has fought for more than 10 years to honor the impoverished people buried beneath what became a Flushing playground.
We confess that at first we were skeptical. We reasoned that children of all races used the playground at Martins Field and that little would be accomplished turning it into a cemetery for people whom almost no one remembers. We were wrong and this fight has only increased the respect we already had for Tshaka.
The longtime civil rights activist understood Martins Field was symbolic of something deeply wrong in 19th-century America. The graves of the mostly African and native Americans were unmarked.
Last week, Martins Field was renamed “Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground.” It is estimated that more than 1,000 people, most of them minorities, were buried in this field between 1840 and 1898.
We congratulate Tshaka and all who helped him fight this battle.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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