Friday, April 26, 2013

Sagging Pants!

May 2, 2013    
BH 430

Are sagging pants a new form of cultural identity for some young African American males? Are these young people so unreachable that they must drop their pants to attain a sense of belonging and become visible to their peers? Does it rally define the way and individual identifies or positions himself in a different cultural environment?

According to Judge Greg Mathis, sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited. Belts are sometimes prohibited to keep prisoners from using them as weapons or in committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip hop artists in the 1990s. It has since become a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society. Prior to the sagging pants, it was the shoestrings out of sneakers. All of this is born out of prison. He said ‘it’s all in the clothing’.

I believe young people have the ability to stop the sagging and create fashions that reflect their great culture and rich heritage. We have often been told that good leaders are made, not born and develop through a method of education, training, and understanding. And we must understand that different people require different styles of leadership.

In every edition of The American we see and hear of young African American achievers, both male and female. Also other publications and organizations focus on the many wonderful and progressive accomplishments and successes of young African Americans. I am not writing about them. I am confident that there are millions of young individuals doing far greater things for us as a people that we can imagine, but it’s the ones that are not that is the center of my attention. 

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not putting down the phenomenon we call hip-hop, but a lot of the trends and styles for young adults stem from this way of life. I read that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. What if some of the current grouping of rappers and popular singers would remember their roots, or were taught their history?

What if Snoop Dogg would begin writing about Marcus Garvey? What if Kanye West would teach about Malcolm X or Martin Delaney? Do you think Lil Wayne, Chris Brown or T.I. would sag if their lyrics were about Colin Powell, Thurgood Marshall or Jackie Robinson?
What if Bow Wow, 50 cent or Soulja Boy would dress in suits and in their performance would give a shout out to Dr. Martin Luther King, James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale or President Barack Obama?

What is the role of parents? They are the first teachers. What are they wearing? A common aspect of fashion in African American culture involves the appropriate dress for worship in the Black church. It is expected in most churches that an individual should present their best appearance for worship. Now you see parents attending church wearing slacks and loose shirts.

Parents should be role models and provide and insist on a dress code for themselves and not allow their children who live at home to wear sagging, revealing, low-slung pants, I will deal with the young ladies in a future column.

John P. Kotter of The Harvard School of Business said: "one of the most common ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about it beforehand. Communication of ideas helps people see the need for and the logic of a change. The education process can involve one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, or memos and reports.”

The Children will make the difference!

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Term Limits for Mayor!

April 4, 2013     
BH 429

In my column of December 6, 2012 when Lewis Reed, president of the city's Board of Aldermen announced his candidacy for St. Louis mayor, challenging incumbent Francis Slay who is seeking his fourth consecutive term in office, I asked ‘will the race be divisive and will the contest reflect the bitterness of some of the past struggles for control’? The answer is a resounding yes.

Another question was ‘will race and ethnicity be relevant to the determination of who will occupy room 200 in City Hall?’ Again, the answer is a reverberating yes.

I noted the role of ethnic identity and how it frames the formulation of policies related to education, employment, housing, and I emphasized that ethnicity should not play a part in the contest, but it unquestionably did. It seemed race was the predominant and most important concern.

My question now is should St. Louis mayors be limited to two consecutive terms in office? Before Slay, no St. Louis mayor has ever been elected to a fourth four-year term, and only one has tried. Slay becomes the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, surpassing Henry Kiel, who served from April 12, 1913 – April 21, 1925.

The Missouri General Assembly established term limits for their members: four consecutive two-year terms for House members totaling eight years, and two four-year consecutive terms for Senate members, also limiting them to eight years. Office holders may be elected again to the other house, but not serve more than 16 years. Should two consecutive terms be a standard for the City of St. Louis?

Here are some quotes from ‘’. When the website asked the question concerning politicians and term limits, here are a few of their quotes:
“I believe there should be a limit on the number of terms an individual can serve in any political office so that the government could consist of public servants rather than career politicians.

Our current system, which allows most political offices to be held for an unlimited number of terms provided the individual receives adequate votes, allows for career politicians whose only goal is to serve their own interests. If we placed a limit on terms, it would allow a proper rotation of citizens serving in office as true representatives of the people and reduce the ease of lobbyists to buy favors from politicians.”

Another said “I am for term limits on elected officials, because it is important for fresh faces to get a higher chance to take office. Most incumbents have a higher chance of winning an election, compared to newcomers.”

One person argued “yes, there should be limits on the number of terms elected officials may serve because we don't want or need career politicians who don't understand the problems facing real people. It would also help reduce the influence of special interest groups because fresh faces will not be as easy to convince to vote a certain way.”

Revered Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center has created a petition for persons to sign who want term limits for mayors and some other local officials. What about the County Supervisor’s office, or local municipalities? Should they face the same limitations as state elected officials? What about your local, county, state or government representatives?  Do you have an opinion?

Remember that elections are an opportunity for voters to distinguish between contenders and their vision for the office that they seek. These fundamental rights and these contests should transcend race, age, and gender, but unfortunately they do not in the City of St. Louis, and not always in St. Louis, Madison, St. Clair, St. Charles or Jefferson Counties. The Civil War continues.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!