White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race


From The Sex Pistols to Bad Brains, skinheads to afropunks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been addressed in a comprehensive way. White Riot will become the standard study of the subject, and the ultimate reader on the topic for punk professors and aficionados alike. The book collects writings from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Ian stuart and The Clash’s Paul Simenon, and reports on punk ...

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White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race

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From The Sex Pistols to Bad Brains, skinheads to afropunks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been addressed in a comprehensive way. White Riot will become the standard study of the subject, and the ultimate reader on the topic for punk professors and aficionados alike. The book collects writings from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Ian stuart and The Clash’s Paul Simenon, and reports on punk scenes from Tunisia to Toronto. Put together in an entertaining way to appeal to both students and fans, White Riot includes photos, lyrics, and letters as well as articles from a wide array of punk rockers, scenesters, and scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
White Riot—this loud, brilliant collection of rants and critical explosions on race, music, and rebellion—has a radical message that goes far beyond punk: in order to build transformative movements and cultures, we first have to reckon with the riots of our own.”—Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation and Who We Be: The Colorization of America

“Verso gives us an engaging collection of political essays about race and representation in punk from critics like Greil Marcus to Paul Simonon of the Clash. The book features photos, lyrics, letters, and accessible articles from musicians and academics concerned about the greater issues in revolutionary music.”—Kathleen Massara, Flavorpill’s 10 Most Anticipated Summer Reads

“It’s a banging pit of engagement, and a shocking reminder that no entire book has ever been dedicated to this subject before.”—Chris Estey, KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle

White Riot allows us to view race as contested, complex, always both part and all of the person, the movement, and the story. A punk heart that understands the politics of race in this way isn’t ‘pure:’ it’s a messy organ, and it’s still beating.”—Sara Jaffe, Los Angeles Review of Books

“350 pages of interview excerpts, fanzine articles, and academic essays that won’t give you answers so much as give you the power to ask, and consider, even more.”—Chris Terry, Razorcake

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844676880
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 7/18/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 648,527
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Duncombe is an Associate Professor at New York University where he teaches the History and Politics of Media and Culture. He is the author of Dream and Notes from Underground, co-author of The Bobbed Haired Bandit, the editor of Cultural Resistance Reader, and co-editor of White Riot.

Maxwell Tremblay is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York. He writes regularly for MaximumRocknRoll and plays drums in the band SLEEPiES.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Foreword James Spooner, director of Afro-Punk xiii

1 White Riot? 1

Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay 1

2 Rock 'N' Roll Nigger 18

"The White Negro" Norman Mailer 19

"The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy" James Baldwin 23

"White Riot" Weatherman Songbook 27

liner notes to MC5's Kick Out the Jams! John Sinclair 28

"Kick Out the Jams! The MC5 and the Politics of Noise" Steve Waksman 30

liner notes to "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger" Patti Smith 37

"Bleached Roots: Punks and White Ethnicity" Dick Hebdige 38

3 White Minority 44

"Hotsy-Totsy Nazi Schatzes: Nazi Imagery and the Final Solution to the Final Solution" Steven Lee Beeber 45

"Pistol-Whipped," National Review Edward Meadows 54

"'I Won't Let that Dago By': Rethinking Punk and Racism" Roger Sabin 57

Sham 69, interview in Sounds Jimmy Pursey 69

Fuck-Ups, interview in Maximumrocknroll Bob Noxious 72

interview in Ripper Black Flag 75

"Crimes Against Nature" Greil Marcus 78

"L.A.'s 'White Minority': Punk and the Contradictions of Self-Marginalization" Daniel S. Traber 82

on "Guilty of Being White," in Maximumrocknroll Vic Bondi Dave Dictor Ian MacKaye 99

"The White Noise Supremacists" Lester Bangs 105

4 White Power 114

"The Skinheads and the Magical Recovery of Community" John Clarke 115

"Subcultutes, Pop Music and Politics: Skinheads and 'Nazi Rock in England and Germany" Timothy S. Brown 120

interview in Terminal Ian Stuart Skrewdriver 130

Majority of One, review and letter exchange in Maximumrocknroll 133

"Music of the White Resistance" George Eric Hawthorne RaHo Wa 135

"Rock 'n' Roll: White or Black?" Skinned Alive Anonymous 142

interview in Maximumrocknroll Kieran Knutson Anti-Racist Action 146

Lili the Skinbird, "Associating with Racists: A Way to Promote Anti-Racism?" Crossbreed 151

5 Punky Reggae Party 154

England's Dreaming Jon Savage 155

Clash, interview in Search & Destroy Paul Simonon 168

Beating Time David Widgery 170

"Two Sides of Anti-Racism" Paul Gilroy 177

"A New Punk Manifesto," Profane Existence Joel Olson 190

"Not Just Posing for the Postcard: A Discussion of Punk and the New Abolition," Clamor Anonymous 194

"Screaming, Always Screaming," HeartattaCk Daisy Rooks 198

"Race, Anarchy and Punk Rock: The Impact of Cultural Boundaries Within the Anarchist Movement" Otto Nomous 201

6 We're That Spic Band 206

"Play Like a White Boy: Hard Dancing in the City of Chocolate" Darryl A. Jenifer Bad Brains 207

"Hardcore of Darkness: Bad Brains" Greg Tate 212

Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK Simon Jones 216

Scream, interview in Flipside Skeeter Thompson 220

"¿Soy Punkera, y Qué?" Michelle Habell-Pallán 222

interview with the BBC Alien Kulture 231

"Muhammad Was a Punk Rocker" Michael Muhammad Knight 235

"Taqwacore: Salat, Angst, and Rock & Roll" Siddhartha Mitter 235

interview in Maximumrocknroll Los Crudos 241

interview in Maximumrocknroll Martín Sorrondeguy 248

Afro-Punk: The "Bock 'n' Roll Nigger" Experience, from the film script 251

7 Race Riot 256

"It's (Not) a White World: Looking for Race in Punk," Punk Planet Mimi Nguyen 257

"Just Another Nigger," letter exchange in Maximumrocknroll 268

"What Happened?" Chop Suey Spex Kelly Besser 277

"How Can You Be So Cold?" How to Stage a Coup Madhu Krishnan 278

"Black Invisibility and Racism in Punk Rock," Bitchcore Tasha Fierce 281

"I am Colorblind," Race Riot Vincent Chung 284

Anti-Product, interview in HeartattaCk Taina Del Valle 285

"Try Not To to Think: Forgetting the Forgotten Rebels," Broken Pencil Krishna Rau 289

8 I'm So Bored with the USA (and the UK Too) 295

Vírus 27, interview in Chiclete com Banana 296

"Punk and Globalization: Mexico City and Toronto" Alan O'Connor 299

"Rock with Punk with Pop with Folklore: Transformations and Renewal in Aterciopelados and Café Tacuba" Carmelo Esterrich Javier H. Murillo 307

"Living the Punk Lifestyle in Jakarta" Jeremy Wallach 317

The Punks Are Alright: A Punk Rock Safari from the First World to the Third, interview in Blind Pigs 333

Esneider of Huasipungo, "Migrapunk," Maximumrocknroll 335

Notes 339

Permissions 367

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