I am a Afro-Latinx West Indian punk, albeit an American. I have Tweeted and written about this subject many times over the years. A few things:

You never experienced racism. You made it sound like, at the beginning of your piece, that because you partially grew up white in the (colonized, Latino) global South that you knew what it was like. But being that colonial whiteness exists as a structure everywhere and thus will never be marginal, with an exceptionally involved caste system in Latin America that especially privileges white foreigners, you have only ever benefited from white supremacy and racism, and only ever will. Full stop.

Which follows: there’s no such thing as accidentally being seen as racist as a white person as white people are racist, are indoctrinated and exist within whiteness, cannot exist outside of it. You are racist. That’s it. Someone of color understanding or perceiving the truth about whiteness and your own racist behavior, even if YOU do not see it yourself, is NOT misunderstanding something. You have to stop assuming your perception of that is correct and unbiased.

Now, what it seems what you meant with your piece here is as a skinhead, while you offer to do nothing to offset suspicion or show solidarity with anti-racist leftist struggle (or at least did not think it pertinent to mention here), you yet also do not want to be seen as an avowed uppercase WS-white supremacist/white nationalist skinhead. But here’s the thing: you have witnessed and understand at least somewhat the history, the decades of white cooption and right wing radicalization of many factions of white skinheads, and still choose to look the way you do and refuse to make a decision otherwise. You elected this style and littered this “woe is me, I’m white” diatribe with images of you dressed in a way you are in no way, shape or form beholden. That IS racist and blatant whiteness. Then you have the audacity to be upset when you get typecasted as a racist….though you can take off the attire any time.

You seem to want to blame others for their perception, or try to say that we’re merely uneducated on the truth history of reggae/ska and skinhead culture. But as a punk under 30 who is 15 yrs deep into it, I’m more than aware and I have long held the line that, especially given past experiences with racist skins, I cannot, will not, try to differentiate between a so called SHARP/not-racist skinhead and a racist one. I don’t have the luxury.

The thing is you’re fundamentally misunderstanding why that typecasting of you is happening and why it is GOOD that it does-it is for the safety of BIPOC. And that type of judging a (white) book by its (racist) cover is VERY different from when it happens to us. When we get stereotyped and typecasted, it causes us great harm, even death, intergenerationally. It isn’t just a minor upset or inconvenience we can escape by changing a form of subcultural attire, unless some others. What’s more, it is our daily existence and an inherent part of being of color. We can’t escape it. This concept is so foreign to you, however, so sure that you are that your whiteness will protect you, ensure you constant fluidity, let you be seen as yourself and escape all stereotyping that you wrote a whole Medium piece about when that didn’t happen….And that’s racist.

It isn’t defiant to be white and do anything other than loudly, constantly fight whiteness, first off, MUCH LESS intentionally look like a fascist and not give an iota of a fuck about how that makes others feel because clearly, all that matters, the only thing, is how you, as a white person, feel and want to look.

There’s also a lot here where you seem to think working class identity trumps whiteness (as a working class Black person who grew up with working class whites, it doesn’t!), you fundamentally misunderstanding the Blackness, cultural and political of the subculture and what that means politically/socially (Hint: It’s much bigger than an infantile, whitewashed “It’s all love, we need to all hold hands and be Best Friends!” No matter what you think 2-tone was telling you) the trajectory of reggae/ska/skinhead culture as it transitioned (BOTH consentingly and through appropriation/exploitation/whitewashing) from the hands of Jamaican/West Indians in the Caribbean and Britain and devolved into whiteness, commercialization, fascism and populism but I think I’ve said enough.

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Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com

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Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com