Some of my thoughts on respectability politics. Please give it a read.
In 2004, Bill Cosby remarked “Are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up” to supplement his point that black men are not good fathers or role models for their children because of how they appear.
Telling someone to “pull their pants up” does not do as much good as you think it does. In fact, it does the opposite. Although people should take note of where they are, having sagging pants does not mean that you should not be taken seriously or respected. It does not give the ultimate title of thug; it is just what society finds unacceptable. On the other hand, when girls’ bra straps (and other undergarments) show, they are automatically given a slap on the wrist.
Respectability politics —when members of a marginalized group police their actions into being more “mainstream” or “acceptable”—undermine the actions of that specific marginalized group. It does not add…
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