Self-Awareness + Respect = Pull Your Pants Up!


Matt Hinton, writing in the blog Dr. Saturday on, reported on an seemingly random and senseless incident that made the news cycle recently.  Deshon Marman, a safety for the University of New Mexico football team, was kicked off a plane at San Francisco International Airport for refusing to pull up his pants.  According to an airline employee, Mr. Marman’s pants:

were below his buttocks but above the knees, and that much of his boxer shorts were exposed.

The employee called the San Francisco police and reported that a man was exposing himself at the airport.  The employee then asked Marman to pull up his pants, and he refused.  Not only did he refuse the first time, but he reportedly refused a second time to pull his pants up once on the plane.  After 15-20 minutes of “debate,” Marman was arrested and charged with trespassing, battery and resisting arrest, and was held on $11,000 bail.  Now, really Mr. Marman, was that worth it?

See Matt Hinton’s entire post here.

Marshan’s mother insisted that he was in an “emotionally raw state” after attending the funeral of a murdered childhood friend.  That was one thing.  She then added that he was targeted because of how he looks: a young Black man with dreads and baggy pants.

My initial reaction to reading his mother’s comments was to (with some degree of humor I might add) remember a skit done by a Black comedian in which he claimed that he was being discriminated against in New York by cabbies who kept passing him by and refusing to accept him as a passenger.  The comedian then informed the audience that he had video proof of this.  I fell on the floor when the video showed the comedian walking the streets in broad daylight completely naked as he attempted to hail cabs.  The video became even funnier when the comedian proclaimed over the video: “See?  It’s because I’m BLACK!  This racism must end!”

Now…anyone who has read Champions’ Blog knows how seriously I take the history and impact of racism in this country.  I am CLEAR that racism exists and continues to have an oppressively negative impact on ALL American communities.  But let’s ALL be clear: when you walk into an elevator in the middle of the ‘hood, and stand amongst a pool of urine, know that White people didn’t come from all over the city to pee in your elevator.  When you walk along the streets in some of my old neighborhoods in the Bronx and see trash strewn everywhere, that was US who did it.

Hinton, for his part, summed up his post thus:

Personally, I feel a little dumber for having spent a portion of my morning on (this story), and for actually feeling compelled to offer this parting advice, applicable to any situation you can possibly encounter in life: When in doubt, always pull your pants up.

To which I say: hear, hear!!  At some point, we have to look ourselves in the mirror.  I find it hard to believe that Mr. Marman always wore his pants at the proper waist size and with a belt neatly fastened about him, then, because he was distraught over his friend, suddenly decided to let his pants hang off his…posterior.  Instead of going into a diatribe about the historical context that explains WHY men wear their pants that way (PLEASE look that up for yourselves if you don’t already know), I’ll say this: MEN DON’T DRESS WITH THEIR DRAWERS OUT FOR ALL TO SEE!

How do I know this?  Simple: my grandfather (the predominant male figure in my life), ALWAYS left the house either in a suit and tie, complete with fedora, or with a collared shirt and slacks with dress shoes.  ALWAYS.  I am self-aware because I’ve seen how a Berlack man dresses first-hand.  I saw the pride and respect that was given to him from others in the street, based on how he presented himself.  I’ve seen for myself how people responded to me in the streets when I wore my U.S. Army dress uniform around my old neighborhood while I was on leave.  People who once saw me as “that kid,” suddenly addressed me as “sir” and shook my hand as I walked by.  I was taught that a man dresses with pride and DIGNITY, and I can feel that pride in my own daughters’ eyes when they see me in suit, tie and fedora.  (Yes, the legacy lives on).

As for Mr. Marman, I say this: how you dress is a matter of how you want to be perceived.  Do you want to be looked at as a MAN or as a BOY?  And whether or not you cover your attitude with “I don’t care how others perceive me,” know that how you present yourself has IMPACT.  The choice, and therefore the POWER, is always yours.

Black Sheep said it best: “you can get with this, or you can get with that.”

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3 Responses to "Self-Awareness + Respect = Pull Your Pants Up!"

  • Willie Nabors says:

    My hurt comes from the fact that his mother is trying to justify his behavior! I fully understand his emotional state after a funeral, and I can even feel him not wanting to be bothered by airline employees. But the tragedy is that he has bought into the stereotype of selfish, entitled mama’s boys who become public figures because of their talents. Without realizing it, she just added a log to the fire of cultural self-destruction.

  • Alice Giraud says:

    When will this underwear madness end?!!! His mother’s rationale speaks for itself as to why our young men continue this self-destructive pattern.

  • Matt Prestbury says:

    Peace Bruh. I definitely understand that it made no sense to a) have his pants like that in the first place and be okay with that, and b) refuse twice to pull them up. There’s no self-respect in that whatsoever. In terms of the racism though, I do have to point out that a European individual was allowed to fly wearing only women’s underwear prior to this event – It’s either racism or a very strong effort to make amends for a major gaff. I’m siding with racism.

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