Well, this is an interesting development.
We first got a glimpse of this photo of a scantily clad US Airways passenger on the fashion blog Hit Dan Back. Now a passenger on the June 9 flight on which the man flew has sent the pic to media outlets, which are naturally relating it to the infamous "saggy pants" incident. In that confrontation, college football player Deshon Marman was removed from a US Airways flight for not complying with an employee's request that he pull up his pants, which were hanging low enough to expose his underwear. Marman was arrested but still hasn't been charged, pending an investigation by the San Mateo District Attorney's office.
From the Chronicle today:
US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder confirmed she'd received the photo before last week's incident in San Francisco and had spoken to (Jill) Tarlow (the passenger who sent the photo), but said employees had been correct not to ask the man to cover himself. "We don't have a dress code policy," Wunder said. "Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that's not appropriate. ... So if they're not exposing their private parts, they're allowed to fly."
KCBS talked to Jill Tarlow, the passenger who took the photo and complained to US Airways only to be told the man wasn't breaking airline policy, and to Marman's attorney, Joe O'Sullivan, who said, "I think maybe the airline has a marketing strategy toward drag queens and against young African Americans." Video here.
Last week, KQED's Cy Musiker interviewed UC Berkeley law professor Ian Haney Lopez about the incident. Haney Lopez asserted the conflict on the plane over Marman's pants had a highly racialized aspect to it. "This is really about the new way in which race plays out in the United states," he said. "Race has always been a combination of biology and culture. The idea that Blacks are too loud, that Latinos are lazy, that Jews are greedy; it's always been biology and culture. Now what we have is what we might call a color-blind racism, where one targets the culture but is very careful to never mention anything having to do with biology, and claims on that basis not to be engaged in racial politics at all."