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Opinions of Thursday, 6 September 2012

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

The Ghanaian Culture Has Been Hijacked By Half-Assed Young Men

Stop The Press: The Ghanaian Culture Has Been Hijacked By Half-Assed Young Men.

By Voice of Reason:

Pull Your Sagging Pant Up, Plea-ze!

All bets are off….or are you happy with what you see? The Ghanaian youth’s future is being stole by sagging pants and I’m-aware dressing mannerisms .But, no one is saying a word. What happened to the dress code we used to have in secondary schools when I was growing up or is it part of our newly- found civilization? We deceive ourselves if we deny that there is a crisis among Ghanaian youth. And I’m not just talking about their unemployment, underemployment and mis-education mumbo-jumbo.

In case you have been living in a cave somewhere in the Afghanistan; for the past seven years, ‘Sagging – pant’ is a manner of dressing when our young men purposely and naively pull their pants way down to expose their under wears and body parts.

Now, either you agree with me passionately or vehemently disagree with this piece, but allow me to put the issue into context: First, there is no denying that we consume very large amount of imported cultures wantonly, without looking at their ramifications. And that has brought out a lot of loud issues we don’t want to discuss in public, but we always discuss them at dining tables, kitchens, barbershops, social gatherings and bars. Suddenly, we accept and expect government’s guarantees while we refuse to accept our own responsibilities. Regrettably, the stable Ghanaian culture and traditions have been replaced (hijacked) by imported culture and lifestyles that we’re embracing without any qualm; all in the name of personal freedom.

The festering world of dysfunctional behavior which originated from the U.S prison system in the late eighties is being engaged in Ghana by some male youth and some grown –up men, who can’t envision a future for themselves in the new- world economy. They’re spreading (infecting) the whole Ghanaian society—especially the next generation with their newly found “coolness”---make that ‘foolishness’. Of course I’m talking about the manner of dressing that is more associated with black urban young males in the states. They are usually males from housing ‘projects’—some of the meanest, most destitute, and most dangerous parts of the ‘hood—an equivalent of a hardcore, crime -infected poorest neighborhood in Ghana. They top it off with oversized hoodies, swallowing their bodies up, and wear too large baseball caps…is a gang culture to disguise their identities from CCTV and police surveillance cameras. Well, it’s certainly not exclusive to the black population anymore, once the MTV and other culture-shaping TV outlets in the States began to retail it to the mainstream culture.

This is the lifestyle Ghanaian youth are emulating and consuming wantonly like lollipops---thanks to the Ghanaian media. Unfortunately, our institutions, especially the school system and parenthood are standing idle by like it’s something to be proud of or modernity. Some of the imported culture-shaping media outlets in Ghana are also promoting it every day. But, the fact of the matter is that despite what the media tells you, it isn’t cool to show your ass when you dress. The bottom line is, any musician/celebrity imitating this ex-convicts’ dress code is crazy and should not be given so much media attention and role- modeling our innocent kids. This equally applies to our ladies. Some of them dress in such a way that it leaves too little to one’s imagination. I’m not ADVOCATING for any religious cover- up dress code, neither am I suggesting the ‘Talibanization’ of our society to any rigid dress code ,but enough is enough…!.If you are not selling your body then don’t advertise it in public...period!

The sad part is that it’s easy to tell them that wearing sagging pants to show your ass in public is not cool. But, the hard part is convincing many of them that you can’t wear sagging pants and being employed by any reputable company—or accomplish any worthwhile task while having to use one hand to attempt to keep your pants from falling off your ass. In other words, if you don’t want to make any headway in life don’t pay attention to how you dress. How other people see you can make you feel respected valued and understood or vice versa. Your dress can make people prejudge you and devalue you… or, your ‘cool’ dressing habit can make people act cold toward you. Can you hear me now? No sagging pants are allowed in the new-world economy of this century. Now, those who are familiar with my pieces know that I have been writing articles upon articles about our youth unemployment and underemployment situation in the country. But, I wonder now if our future workforce is prepared to face the future job market even when the doors are widely opened for them. This has nothing to do with our archaic and hemorrhaging educational system. Why do I say that?

The truth of the matter is that a small percentage of these young males are out of control; many of them are ill-raised, usually high school dropouts, thuggish, gang-bangers, who care nothing about themselves, and how the society sees them. The blunt truth about most sagging pants' exhibitors is that they’re incredibly lazy, ignorant and negligent… I sincerely believe that the majority of these males have nothing to show so they’re ‘acting out’ and looking for some degree of recognition and acceptance from the mainstream society. The question is, are they either going through a pretend phase in their lives….or getting ready to live a very low life because TV rap videos tells them it’s cool and fashionable thing to do? Listen, showing your butt nakedly is a badge of honor among thug wonnabes….nothing else. In our part of the world, sagging pant dressing mannerism started from Ghanaian inner-city neighborhoods and spreading like wildfire into our towns and villages; threatening once culturally sensitive and peaceful communities around the country, all in the name of being ‘cool’ and stupid.

The sad part is that young males, more than young females in this country, feel the need to engage in this attention-getting, traffic-stopping impulse as part of their identity of being hot and/or cool. When young men hang on sagging pant and crotch-grabbing mannerism in the street, they may be hanging tough with their homies, but they are handicapping themselves in the game of life. They can sag their pants all the way down and grab their crotches better than anyone on the planet in public ,but that isn’t going to get them a job or into High school or college. Get this: Negative attitude doesn’t only affect one’s progress; it also affects one’s psyche and ability to progress.

I hope and pray our policy makers and head of our social institutions will pay attention to this sad and very serious revelation and ratify things before things start to fall apart like sagging pants. Who knows reading this might do some young people some good; it could prove to be a “teachable moment”…or they might simply print and crumple it up and throw it into the garbage can. But they need to understand that if they do, they’ll be throwing out their future prospects into the can right along with it. It’s time for our young people (especially the men) to grow up and men up…and learn that men (at least grown –ass men) don’t walk around with their butts hanging out in public, unless they’re ready to have very serious business in the bathroom.

Rather than dwelling on self-defeating pessimism impulses to exhibit their butts in public to get unnecessarily attention, why can’t the Ghanaian young males focus on every available local initiatives as well as steps individuals can take toward a future that both sustainable and attainable? What wrong with this idea? One thing: It probably makes too much sense!

We’ve a sickness in our society. If you say that somebody is” successful”, it’s automatically imply that the person has a lot of money, ‘toys’ and material things. But, I will define a successful person as one who adds beauty to the lives of others, or the society in some way. What beauty do people who wear sagging pants add to our society?..Nothing!

Wearing Sagging pant makes you look dumb as hell, even if you’re smart intellectually. It isn’t cool, it isn’t trendy…as a matter of fact, it is disgusting, and it makes me throw up!...and I don’t really care how many times I have plucked your fragile heartstrings and ego in this piece…. Your momma won’t like to hear what I think whenever I see you in your sagging pant in public---its unprintable word! Trust me ,most decent people can’t stand it either.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (Voice Of Reason)

Ghana.

* The author is social commentator and the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment Foundation for Disadvantaged Youth Of Asuom.