Let’s be honest about something: I am intimidated by your sagging pants.

When I see you with your pants around your ankles, I am very afraid. It seems that you are a gangster, or some kind of a pimp. With your pants sagging below your boxers, and your hoodie pulled up, you look very intimidating. It seems like you might be a dangerous person who is not afraid of a fight. Maybe you are hiding a knife or a strap, and you are just waiting for someone to front, so that you can shank them.

I don’t want to be that person, and trust me: I am not fronting on you.

The diamonds gleaming in your ear make it hard for me to look you in the eye. When I address you I must look at the ground. And this is appropriate, because you are hard, and me—I’ve never even been in a street fight.

Looking at you, I bet you’re a killer. I bet people hire you to extort money from their enemies. And you clearly have no code, but the code of the street.

I am sure your Timberland boots have curb-stomped some skulls. And I can tell you don’t feel bad about it.

I assume your tattoos commemorate your acts of pitiless violence. And by the look of them, I am sure many were done in prison. You probably made a tattoo gun from a cassette player and a toothbrush. And it probably hurt a lot, and I bet you did not cry.

Your bubble vest indicates your status. I have seen you inflate it until it attains truly terrifying size. And then you strut around, looking everybody in the eye. Yeah, you know you’re hard.

I’ve seen you grabbing your crotch. Either your gun is slipping past your waste band, or you are signaling to a female. Yeah, you get sex when you want it.

I bet you lived in the projects. I notice you are fluent in Ebonics.

You probably even have some friends who are black.

Sorry, I meant to say “homies.”